Former attorney general to vet trustees at international aid charity

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve has been appointed to vet charity trustees and senior staff at the charity Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW).

The move follows the resignation of two trustees of the charity who had posted offensive anti-Semitic comments on social media in 2014 and 2015, before they joined the charity’s board. These were exposed in July and strongly condemned by IRW.

In August an entirely new board was elected and a review of vetting and screening of trustees and staff was launched. This including looking at social media policies. The charity has also been advised by the Charity Commission about its vetting.

Grieve is to chair an independent commission looking at vetting and the conduct of trustees and staff. He will be assisted by Sir Clive Jones, a former Disasters Emergency Committee chair.

The commission’s work will start immediately and also look at vetting policies at the charity’s associated organisations. It will also look at examples of good practice among other charities in their vetting proceedures.

“I have been encouraged by the openness and honesty of Islamic Relief about recent events, as well as its determination to learn lessons and take responsibility as an organisation,” said Grieve.

“This is an important commission with a clear remit. I look forward to the challenge of advising and informing an organisation whose humanitarian footprint and impact is considerable. I also look forward to working with Sir Clive, as there are few others who I can think of who know the sector better.”

IRW chair Dr Ihab Saad added: “In setting up this independent commission we were very keen to secure independent, credible and well-respected third-party leadership for what needs to be a fundamental review of Islamic Relief’s practices.

“It is also critical that the independent commission is able to assist Islamic Relief in maintaining its principled and value-based mission, underpinned by humanitarian principles. In securing Dominic Grieve QC and Sir Clive Jones, we are confident that we are on course to generate a robust and relevant set of recommendations for Islamic Relief to put in place.”

Grieve is a barrister and former shadow home secretary. He served as attorney general between 2010 and 2014 and was chair of parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee from 2015 to 2019.

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