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Guest blog: Charity Sector Speak Up Network

The charity sector has seen a steady flow of incidents where it is likely that the outcomes could have been very different, and more constructive had there been a strong speak up culture within the organisations concerned. Key to this is charity trustees and senior managers proactively ‘listening up’ to concerns about wrongdoing and demonstrating that they will take constructive steps to deal with issues raised.

Catalysing a speak up culture has been and continues to be a learning journey for us at Wellcome – we won’t always get it right, but we’re trying hard. And we see considerable valuing sharing our experiences – supporting others and also learning from them.

That’s why we have established the Charity Sector Speak Up Network – a group of charities coming together every quarter to share experiences and practical learnings of how to catalyse a speak up culture – supported by experts such as Protect.

In September we had our first virtual meeting, which was attended by representatives of over 20 charities, and in which we received engaging presentations from Protect’s CEO (Liz Gardiner) and the Charity Commission’s Head of Guidance & Practice (Nick Mott). They talked through what a speak up culture is, the value it brings to charities, and top tips for cultivating it, as well as the regulator’s perspective on speaking up being central to good governance.

The next session will be in early 2021, focussing on how to develop a speak up policy and what good practice looks like, as well as how to create a board level speak up champion.

This is a network led by charities, for charities – if you’re organisation is interested in participating, please connect via the website


Fraser Simpson
Associate General Counsel, Ethics & Compliance, Wellcome Trust