CRUK suspends telephone fundraising after allegations it targets people with cancer

Charity insists it does not condone use of undue pressure or bullying

Cancer Research UK has suspended indefinitely all of its telephone fundraising after it was alleged that a former trainee caller had been asked to target people with cancer and was reprimanded for not pressing a partially disabled 92-year-old woman for a donation.

The charity initially suspended its telephone fundraising last week after it was reported that a caller had responded by saying "brilliant" when a woman told him she had cancer.

The charity intended to carry on telephone fundraising after a period of staff retraining but has now announced that it will conduct a full investigation into the new allegations and that its telephone fundraising will be suspended indefinitely. 

Richard Taylor, executive director for fundraising and supporter marketing at Cancer Research UK, said: "We go to great lengths to ensure that these telephone fundraisers are trained to a very high standard, both about our work and about understanding the sensitivities of the cause.

"All of the scripts are approved by us and we undertake caller listening to quality-check the calls ourselves rather than relying on feedback from the agency.

"We are deeply concerned by this claim that has come to our attention and have suspended telephone fundraising while we conduct a full investigation into this matter.

"We don't condone any form of bullying or undue pressure, and seek feedback from our supporters to ensure this isn't their experience."

Brian Searle, head of operations at Pell & Bales, the agency responsible for Cancer Research UK's telephone fundraising, said the organisation would talk to Cancer Research UK about the allegations and provide a detailed response at a later date.

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