As a funding organisation that exists to tackle poverty and injustice, Comic Relief is committed to ensuring that we, the partners that we fund and those we work with do everything possible to protect the vulnerable people we seek to help.
Earlier this month, along with some of the UK’s other leading charities that work abroad, we took part in a meeting hosted by DFID and the Charity Commission to discuss how we can improve safeguarding standards across the international sector. Like the other organisations at that meeting we have signed on to this statement setting out how we will work together to take this forward.
As well as supporting the measures set out in this statement, we have taken a number of other actions over the past year to ensure that we are doing everything possible to protect the people we aim to help:
- We have improved our internal structures, so that there is a dedicated Safeguarding lead at director and trustee level – to support and advise the Head of Safeguarding who drives this work.
- We have reminded all our staff of their own responsibilities to help protect vulnerable people and to immediately report any concerns they might have.
- We have introduced a new, independently operated whistle-blowing line to enable Comic Relief staff to report concerns in confidence (with any concerns then being acted on as quickly as possible).
- We have also introduced a new facility to allow people outside of Comic Relief to report anything that may cause them concern.
- We have written to all the organisations we fund to offer our support if they want to strengthen their approach to safeguarding, whilst also reminding them of their own responsibilities.
- We have provided additional training and guidance to all our Grant Managers and Investment Partners to help them coach and support our partner organisations.
- We are continuing to assess the safeguarding policies and practices of all applicants who are seeking funding from Comic Relief.
- We have sent a full response to DFID following their initial letter to organisations that receive government funding, providing detailed reassurance about our approach to protecting vulnerable people.
- We are actively working with the other charities that attended the summit hosted by DFID and will be taking part in the working group that has been established to focus on ensuring that the UK’s international development organisations always protect the people we exist to serve.
Comic Relief currently has no records of allegations or reports of misconduct against any members of our staff. However, we are never complacent. We are always seeking to improve how we work and we will continue to take every step possible to support our employees, the partners and the people we week to help. There is no place for abusive or exploitative behaviour in any aspect of our work and we will always respond to any concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.
If you would like to contact us to register any concerns, please follow the guidance on reporting concerns. We will listen and we will take any reports we receive seriously.