Skip to content

Whistleblowing Charity Plans Policy Change After Complaint

Jamie Klingler States it is “baffling” That a Whistleblowing Charity’s Complaint System is not Already Anonymous
Whistleblowing - intelligence & risk solutions
Image Courtesy of Istock

Whistleblowing charity Parrhesia is considering amending its complaints procedure so that anonymity is offered to all complaints. This comes after its chief executive was accused of mishandling a concern raised regarding one of the trustees.

The co-founder of women’s safety group Reclaim these Streets, Jamie Klingler, raised a concern about Parrhesia after learning that journalist Martin Bright sat on its board.

In January, it was reported by the Press Gazette that a fellow journalist, and Bright’s friend, Nick Cohen, had left the Observer on health grounds, after being investigated for allegations made against him by former female colleagues.

That same month, Bright had written on his social media that Cohen was a good friend and that his “trial by social media” had been “horrible to watch.”

Further information about the allegations of sexual misconduct can be found here, published by The New York Times in May.

Klingler reportedly raised her concern with Parrhesia this month over Bright’s role as a trustee, believing it to be a “conflict of interest” for the charity, and that his actions could potentially put women off reporting to the charity.

It was then reported, by Byline Times, that Parrhesia’s CEO Ian Foxley had given Klingler’s name to Bright, encouraging her to speak directly with him. This is an example of how our software Aranea could have improved the situation, by using an anonymous and encrypted whistleblowing platform it could have been dealt with internally instead of passed off until it became public.

Speaking to Civil Society, Klingler said that the charity didn’t “understand the complaint”.

Foxley claims that an internal investigation has been conducted following the complaints of how Klingler’s concerns were handled and a report has been forwarded to all trustees for their consideration.

He said that the charity has now proposed to address its complaints procedure to ensure that anonymity is offered to all complainants. However Klingler said that it was “baffling” that any complaint to a whistleblowing organisation was not already anonymous.

Klinger stated “Whistleblowing charity ratifies policy to make complaints sound confidential” sounded like “a headline on the Onion.”

We believe the charity has all the right processes to ensure they support whistleblowing and actually promote the human rights of whistleblowers in the UK. It just seems that this was a small oversight and a storm in a tea cup – especially in light of the accused, Nick Cohen, not being convicted of anything and then the tenuous link by the trustee to him by a single social media post commenting not on the case itself but the vitriolic and viral nature of social media to pile on to a person for whatever it is they are alleged to have done.

We believe the charity has been caught up in the scandal and will put in place approrpiate safeguards to always check how the complainant wants something resolving and whether they want protections for their identity.

Aranea

Earlier in the article we mentioned our software Aranea. Aranea is a completely anonymous and encrypted whistleblowing platform built around employee, specifically whistleblower, safety. Due to its encrypted nature we can ensure that whistleblowers will feel comfortable making complaints that can then be dealt with either through legal advice, internally or externally.