Government asks conflict resolution firm to investigate culture at National Lottery Community Fund

The NLCF declined to comment on the move, which comes after the government opened an investigation into allegations of bullying and the use of inappropriate language made against the grant-maker's former chief executive

The National Lottery Community Fund has declined to comment on the government commissioning a conflict management firm to examine the grant-maker’s working practices and culture.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has hired CMP Resolutions to conduct an inquiry into the leadership and organisational culture at the grant-giver, Third Sector understands.

In March, the government opened an investigation into allegations of bullying and the use of inappropriate language made against the former chief executive of the NLCF, Dawn Austwick.

Austwick stepped down from the grant-giver in December last year after more than seven years in the role.

The government said it would help provide a strong platform for the fund to make the organisational reforms needed to support a more inclusive and fair workplace.

It said details of the contract with CMP would be published in due course and in line with usual transparency requirements.

The DCMS said employees who wanted to raise a formal grievance during the course of the inquiry into the historical allegations would be supported in doing so through the fund’s existing procedures.

The government said it was supporting the fund’s new leadership in strengthening the organisation and laying the groundwork for an ambitious strategy over the next few years.

David Knott, director of the Office for Civil Society, but who has been on secondment to the NLCF since October, was appointed interim chief executive of the fund last month.

A DCMS spokesperson said: "We are continuing to work closely with the NLCF's new leadership team to review its working culture and ensure that it is completely focused on using Lottery funding to help build back stronger from the pandemic and address the needs of people right across the UK."

Austwick has been approached for comment.

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