Media pressure is making charities report safeguarding risks, research shows

International UK charities are now reporting more risks associated with safeguarding and politics, following extensive negative media coverage.

The research, by accountancy company haysmacintyre, analysed the annual reports and accounts of 180 international UK charities with a total income of £6.2bn.

More than one in four (28 per cent) charities reported safeguarding as one of their principal risks. This contrasts sharply with the previous year, where only 8 per cent last year expressed concerns.

This dramatic 350 per cent rise corresponds with several high profile cases that made headlines, including the exposure of some Oxfam staff’s behaviour in Haiti in 2011.

Steve Harper, charities director at haysmacintyre, said: “The current challenging media environment has led to increased scrutiny of organisations and charities are learning from the experience of others. There is an increased willingness to acknowledge that safeguarding is a risk area and to talk about it publicly. Organisations are also being more open about the risks they face due to the politics of the local areas they operate in.”

Other results from the survey show that the most commonly reported risk is in relation to future funding and fundraising. However, this has fallen from 60 per cent of charities in 2018 to 58 per cent in 2019, which might seem surprising given the level of uncertainty in the global economy.

More charities are citing government policy and the political climate as a risk – now one in five (20 per cent), up from 9 per cent in 2018. However, Brexit is not perceived as a major risk, with only 15 per cent of charities citing Brexit as a risk.

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