‘We didn’t work hard enough on culture change,’ says Oxfam chair
Oxfam’s current chair has said that the scandal-hit charity did not work hard enough on changing its culture when it introduced new procedures to beef up its safeguarding.
Caroline Thomson, chair of Oxfam, was speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering yesterday, when she apologised for the damage to the wider sector and outlined the measures Oxfam will take to improve.
She said she had been a “lifelong supporter” of the charity and is “determined to work together to put it right”.
Thomson said that while the charity has done a lot over the past few years to improve procedures it “didn’t do enough on culture change”.
She said the charity is co-operating fully with the Commission’s statutory inquiry and will “learn the lessons”.
“How did we end up with a culture that some people felt misbehaviour was acceptable?” she asked and said “we kid ourselves” if “we think that culture has completely changed”.
One of the issues for consideration she said was the pressure to keep overheads down.
“We’re proud of the fact that 10p in the pound goes on running costs,” she said.
New safeguarding task force
Thomson said she would chair a new safeguarding task force at the charity which will include independent experts.
The charity has already announced that it is tripling its spend on safeguarding and yesterday she added that the head of safeguarding will be a more senior role, and that they will have a direct line to her as chair of trustees.
“I will have a monthly meeting with them,” she added.
Chris Cloke, head of safeguarding in communities at the NSPCC, was also speaking at the meeting, and said that even the NSPCC, a child protection charity, struggles with safeguarding at times and it must be kept under constant review.
“It runs through everything we do,” he said, but it is important not to be complacent as it is “a complex and at times a very dark area”.
He said that NSPCC’s support helpline is available to other charities and that it has resources on its website for others.
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