Former British Psychological Society employee charged with fraud

A former employee at the British Psychological Society has been charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position and two counts of false accounting.

In February, the charity told Third Sector it had reported an incident of fraud to Leicestershire Police following an internal investigation.

The police confirmed at the time that a woman had been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position but was released under investigation.

Police said today that Viola Sander of Great Glen, Leicestershire, had been charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position and two counts of false accounting.

The 57-year-old is due to appear before Leicester Magistrates Court on 10 January.

Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the BPS, was asked to step aside while an internal investigation took place into the fraud.

He returned to his position in October after the inquiry cleared him of any involvement. The charity’s trustees said that Bajwa was returning to the BPS with their full support.

Findings from a report into the culture at the BPS, published by Third Sector at the end of in October, found an “endemic” lack of trust between staff and members and an “us and them” mindset.

The BPS expelled its president-elect in May amid allegations of “persistent bullying”, which he said were “baseless and without merit”.

But the report, shared with members two months after the president-elect’s dismissal, concluded there was an “endemic” lack of trust and respect between staff and members and said members had a “lack of access to timely and accurate financial information”.

​​Third Sector also revealed in June that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations pulled out of a consultancy contract with the BPS because it felt the charity’s culture would be detrimental to the wellbeing of its consultants.

The previous president of the BPS stood down in April this year due to family commitments.

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