'No evidence of wrongdoing' at Alzheimer's Society, regulator finds

The Charity Commission found 'no evidence of wrongdoing' at the Alzheimer's Society, after allegations of bullying and the use of NDAs to silence staff.

An inquiry was launched by the regulator after The Guardian reported allegations of the charity spending as much as £750,000 on payouts to staff following complaints of bullying and a 'toxic' workplace culture.

Complaints centred around leadership in particular, with one whistleblower alleging the former CEO Jeremy Hughes had an 'explosive temper' and showed bullying behaviour towards staff.

However, the Charity Commission that there was 'no wrongdoing' at the organisation and that trustees acted in line with their legal duties.

The regulator said it found no evidence that confidentiality clauses used by the charity were designed to prevent staff from reporting whistleblowing, bullying or harassment.

Furthermore, the £750,000 settlements figure, as reported by The Guardian, was not substantiated bu the evidence the regulator found, it added.

It said it was 'satisfied' that there were processes in place to ensure that settlement payments were properly scrutinised. T

The charity's policy on settlement agreements has now been updated to contain 'explicit provisions', stating that they cannot be used to hide 'improper behaviour or prevent lawful disclosures'.

The regulator has also advised the charity's to explain ts decision-making and use of compensation in its annual report.

"Our case did not find evidence of wrongdoing at the Alzheimer’s Society, or that its use of settlement agreements would stop people from whistleblowing," Charity Commission assistant director of casework, Tracy Howarth said.

"This is crucial – the Alzheimer’s Society has an important role in ensuring the wellbeing of so many, and so it is important that its working culture allows staff to raise concerns.

"Like all charities, the Society must continue to ensure that staff settlements are only made where that supports the charity’s purpose. Donors expect charities to be different from other organisations and to spend their money carefully. We also welcome steps being taken to further strengthen procedures at the Society and to strengthen the charity’s internal culture."

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