Employment news, Research perspectives

Whistleblowing in Charities on the increase

The Charity Commission has published the latest data on whistleblowing, showing a significant rise in disclosures from volunteers and trustees in 2019-20. Overall numbers have risen by a third over the previous year, with a notable rise outside of the ever-prominent group of charity employees.

Overall, there were 247 disclosures in the period, up from 185 in 2018-19 and 81 in 2016-17. Although charity employees still make up 63 per cent of disclosures, there was an increase to 37 per cent from volunteers and individual trustees, up from 10 per cent the previous year.

Of the 247 disclosures, the commission opened 239 cases, of which eight required no further regulatory engagement, while 218 were closed by the end of the reporting period.

Three main issues, which were consistent with those raised over the previous five years, were governance, safeguarding and financial management concerns. Additionally, impacts on trust and confidence, conflicts of interest and terrorism or extremism were also raised.

Tracey Howarth, the assistant director of casework at the Charity Commission, welcomed the increase in whistleblowing reports, insisting they are vital to the detection and addressing of wrongdoing.