Whistleblowing charity accuses regulator of 'politically motivated' bias

Compassion in Care alleges a Charity Commission compliance case 'aided and abetted a politically motivated, malicious attack' on the charity; the regulator says it is aware of a complaint and cannot comment while that process is underway

A whistleblowing charity has accused the Charity Commission of “politically motivated” bias after complaining about how an investigation into its governance was handled. 

Compassion in Care was set up in 2003 to help expose wrongdoing in the care industry. 

Its aims include “relieving the emotional distress of those suffering abuse in care homes” and “educating those working in care homes to recognise and report abuse”. 

The charity operates a whistleblowing hotline, which it said had recorded a 60 per cent increase in calls during the pandemic.

The charity’s founder, Eileen Chubb, claimed the commission’s nine-month compliance case, which concluded last month, had “aided and abetted a politically motivated, malicious attack” on the charity. 

Part of the regulator’s investigation focused on whether a book published by Chubb was libellous and whether the charity was able to lobby for Edna's Law, a campaign to replace the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

The charity said it had provided evidence beyond doubt that all of the concerns were “completely malicious”.

Chubb has raised a complaint with the regulator and written to the culture minister Oliver Dowden. 

It alleges that the complaint to the commission came from a rival whistleblowing organisation, which meant there was bias in the investigation’s outcome. 

The regulator has not confirmed the source of the complaint. 

Chubb also claims that the commission attempted to censor information on the charity’s website, and that senior officers of the commission had shared a platform with the person who made the complaint against the charity.

The charity, which had an income of almost £11,000 in the year to the end of August 2019, raised more than £2,000 to ask a lawyer to look over all the evidence in its case with the Charity Commission.

In its investigatory closing letter to the charity, the commission advised trustees to look at the websites of other charities to see how it could better reflect the work it did and said it had an “insincere focus” on two national care charities on its website.

But Chubbs contends that it was part of the charity’s objectives to reflect the experience of its beneficiaries. 

“As time went on it became clear there was something very wrong with their investigation, their letters were very hostile and bullying, it was hugely distressing. There was clear evidence of bias throughout,” said Chubb in a statement. 

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: “We are aware of complaints made by the trustees of Compassion in Care about the conduct of our compliance case involving the charity. 

“We take all complaints about our work seriously, and are handling this complaint in line with our published complaints procedure. 

“We cannot comment further while that process is underway. This is to avoid prejudicing or compromising that work.”

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