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23rd February 2021

Charity Commission lifts statutory supervision of Oxfam GB

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The Charity Commission has lifted statutory supervision measures that were placed on Oxfam GB when it concluded its formal investigation 20 months ago. The regulator concluded that Oxfam has made “significant progress” to improve its culture and approach to keeping people safe. 

In 2019, the Commission’s inquiry report found that Oxfam had missed opportunities to address problems and that, while it had made promises to strengthen safeguarding, it had not provided enough resources to follow through on its commitments. 

The Commission had opened a statutory inquiry in February 2018 after the Times newspaper published a number of articles about how Oxfam had handled allegations of sexual misconduct in Haiti a number of years earlier. In 2011, four members of Oxfam’s staff in Haiti were fired and three, including the country director, resigned in the wake of allegations of bullying and harassment. 

The Commission said that while safeguarding is “never complete”, an independent review shows that most of the 100 actions that were needed in order to improve safeguarding at Oxfam are now complete with only limited areas in which the charity needs to undertake further work. This means that the period of statutory supervision can come to an end, although the Commission cautioned against complacency. 

For more information about the items raised in this article please contact a member of our Charities, Education & Social Enterprise team.