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Trust in UK Charities Low As Sector Sees Surge in Complaints

6 July 2018 at 4:53 pm
Wendy Williams
The British public trusts charities less than “the man or woman on the street” according to new research.

Wendy Williams | 6 July 2018 at 4:53 pm


Trust in UK Charities Low As Sector Sees Surge in Complaints
6 July 2018 at 4:53 pm

The British public trusts charities less than “the man or woman on the street” according to new research.

Civil Society has reported that an upcoming report on public confidence in the sector, published biennially by the UK Charity Commission, is expected to show public trust in charities remains worryingly low.

It comes after the score in 2016 fell to 5.7 out of 10, the lowest since the commission began collecting the data in 2005.

Speaking at the ICAEW Charity Conference 2018, Charity Commission chief executive Helen Stephenson said the research showed the public trusted charities less than “the man or woman on the street”.

She said building public trust required charities to adhere to high standards of conduct and behaviour.

“Which in the case of charities includes being true to the purpose and mission, ethos and values,” Stephenson said.

“Demonstrating that everything it does helps to achieve its mission and nothing that it does detracts from that mission or ethos. In other words, we are who we say we are.”

It comes as the charity watchdog recently revealed it had received more than 1,100 complaints about the way foreign aid agencies dealt with sex abuse allegations since the Oxfam scandal broke in February.

The commission said it had received 1,152 reports of “serious safeguarding incidents” in just four months, compared with 1,210 in the whole of 2016/17.

It said it had opened a total of 734 new cases relating to safeguarding concerns since the Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal emerged.

Meanwhile Stephenson has called to make it a legal requirement for charities to report serious incidents to the commission.

While giving evidence to the International Aid Committee’s inquiry into sexual exploitation in the aid sector, Stephenson said that currently the serious incident reporting programme “has been voluntary” and the commission was unable to enforce it.

She suggested this change could help improve public trust in charities, making them more transparent.

“The more charities are transparent the more they are able to increase public trust and confidence,” she said.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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