UK

Save the Children culture needs to change, says former employee

Sir Alan Parker, pictured in 2007 Image copyright PA
Image caption Former Save the Children chairman Sir Alan Parker said there was an urgent need to rebuilt trust

Save the Children has failed to accept "culpability" over its handling of sexual misconduct claims at the charity, a former employee has said.

Speaking to the BBC, Alexia Pepper de Caires also questioned whether the charity's culture had improved in the wake of harassment allegations.

The charity's international chairman, Sir Alan Parker, quit on Thursday after 10 years, saying change was needed.

Save the Children has not commented on Ms de Caires's remarks.

'Value women equally'

A 2015 internal report leaked to the BBC in March said the charity had not dealt adequately with the allegations against a former chief executive.

Ms de Caires, who left the charity that year, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There was no culpability at the time and I've seen very little since then.

"I haven't seen enough evidence of the culture changing."

She also said she was "curious about why it's taken six years" for someone to step down "who was in a position of power at the time".

Ms de Caires went on to praise whistleblowers across the sector - which has been racked by allegations of sexual misconduct at charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and the UN.

She told Today: "In my view this is not complex at all, this has always been very simple.

"The message that we know and live and breath is to value women equally, which we have not seen at Save the Children".

Image copyright Save the Children
Image caption Some of the complaints against Justin Forsyth concerned trips abroad

In February, the BBC revealed that former boss Justin Forsyth had faced three complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff before leaving the charity.

Mr Forsyth, who strongly denied a number of claims, resigned from his latest role as deputy director of Unicef days later, saying he had taken responsibility for mistakes made "many years ago".

Evidence later emerged - in documents seen by the BBC - that suggested Save the Children had "failed" to deal sufficiently with the claims.

The report from 2015 also suggested then chairman Sir Alan's "very close" relationship with Mr Forsyth may have affected how he responded to complaints.

In his resignation letter, Sir Alan said Mr Forsyth's case had been handled by HR and senior trustees, and was now being reviewed by the Charity Commission.

"This is an important review and I will work with them to assist in any way I can," he wrote.

"There is an urgent and pressing need to rebuild trust and confidence."

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