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Staff Survey Reveals High Staff Engagement in UK Charity Commission

31 January 2019 at 4:30 pm
Luke Michael
Staff engagement in the UK Charity Commission has reached its highest level in 10 years, according to results from the 2018 Civil Service people survey.

Luke Michael | 31 January 2019 at 4:30 pm


Staff Survey Reveals High Staff Engagement in UK Charity Commission
31 January 2019 at 4:30 pm

Staff engagement in the UK Charity Commission has reached its highest level in 10 years, according to results from the 2018 Civil Service people survey.

The Charity Commission published results from the survey on Monday, showing an engagement index of 65 per cent – an 11 per cent rise from 2017.

In the area of leadership and managing change, the survey showed a score of 55 per cent, a 16 per cent rise from the previous survey that took place months after Helen Stephenson took over as CEO of the commission.

The survey’s public release comes days after Pro Bono News revealed the Australian charities commission rejected two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for the release of Australian Public Service (APS) staff surveys taken before and after Dr Gary Johns’ controversial appointment as commissioner.

The UK Civil Service People Survey has been taken each year since 2009 and last year’s results showed the Charity Commission’s employee engagement level – measured through questions like “I am proud when I tell others I am part of the commission” – was in the top third across the civil service.

Stephenson said she was delighted to see such positive results around staff engagement, as staff played an integral part in the commission’s ability to regulate effectively and ensure charities could thrive.

“It is absolutely vital that we value their contribution and treat them with respect,” Stephenson said.

“These results show that our staff feel proud to work at the commission, are driven by our purpose, and feel inspired and motivated in what they do – in turn, they motivate me and my senior team.”

She said while these were positive results, the commission would continue to listen and learn in order to further improve the experience of staff.

“Our workforce are at the heart of what we do and the ambitious new purpose and strategy that we have set – ensuring that they are able to develop, grow and take pride in what they do will remain a key focus of mine,” she said.

The survey ­– which had 347 returns and a response rate of 91 per cent – found that almost eight in 10 staff believed their work gave them a sense of personal accomplishment, while 94 per cent said they were interested in their work at the commission.

ORC International carried out the UK survey, and were bound by a strict code of conduct and confidentiality rules that did not allow for the breakdown of the results to compromise the anonymity of individuals.  

In Australia, the charities commission rejected numerous requests to publicly release data or comments from recent staff surveys, with Dr Gary Johns telling Pro Bono News he believed releasing the verbatim responses was unfair to staff and destroyed “the privacy they assumed they had when responding”.

Johns said to the best of his knowledge, verbatim responses to the APS Census had never been shared publicly, but only with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s senior management team to take appropriate action on any highlighted issues.

“We cannot possibly expect staff to provide frank and honest feedback in future if their trust is betrayed,” Johns said.

But Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who made the FOI request, said participating ACNC employees were made aware under APS census guidelines that de-identified comments would be “reported verbatim and made available to your agency”, meaning the privacy of the respondents had already been assured.

Leigh said he sought the public release of these surveys to gauge ACNC staff morale since Susan Pascoe was replaced as commissioner in 2017 by Johns – who has stirred controversy since his appointment and faced calls to step down.

Anonymous ACNC sources told Pro Bono News that high staff morale under Pascoe had dropped significantly under Johns’ leadership.  

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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