Of all the things that happened following my recent unemployment, perhaps the most crushing was having my concerns ignored by the woman in charge of the charity.
I’d met her on numerous occasions and she has always been pleasant and lovely to me. She was a minister and a pillar of morality within her community. She seemed to care about the people around her and everyone who knew her spoke often about how she would go out of her way to help others.
But when I voiced my concerns about criminal behaviour by someone in her employ, first she lied to me, then she ignored me, then she told me there was nothing she could do to help me and she didn’t appreciate my continuing to message her.
By contacting her, I had tried to keep any trouble that would have been caused by an outside authority away from her and her work. I trusted her and it still. I genuinely believed that the fault was with one incompetent man, and not with the organisation as a whole.
There was definitely something she could do to help me. She employed the man who broke the law in the name of her organisation. If anyone could do something to change his behaviour, it was her.
Any outside authority investigating it would have to look at the charity as a whole and would hold her responsible, and now she could no longer say she didn’t know it was happening.
What was most confusing about her apathy was that her charity had not received any money for more than a month. Given it was also not going to the staff who had worked for it, I had to wonder why she was not more concerned about what had happened with hundreds of pounds in donations.
So I stopped worrying about her and got on with finding another way to fix things.
A few other ex-staff and I looked into the various places we could report them. We found that, while it might take some time, there were plenty of organisations set up to protect people in our situation.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is the first port of call for anyone in similar circumstances. It provides help and advice for people who need it, particularly when dealing with legal and financial issues that require someone with a particular expertise. It allows people to deal with things civilly and, when possible, without taking up police time. Various centres are set up nationwide and they can also be contacted via phone or email.
Action Fraud, so the website claims, is the UK’s national crime and fraud reporting centre. You can submit a report online or by phone. It offers various support services as well as advice and passes any reports made directly to the police.
The Charity Commission, while not applicable in every case of employment fraud, was useful to us. It is the government agency set up to ensure that charities obey the law and don’t lie to the people good enough to support them. In our case, as well as breaching employment law, we had evidence that the charity had not received donations for quite some time. As long as donations made are not used the way donors are told they will be, that charity is likely to be investigated, potentially fined or even shut down. I and a number of other staff had emails and messages telling us that the money wasn’t going to the charity. For that alone, the fundraising at least could be stopped, which would ensure that no one else lost their money to these frauds.
101 is the non-emergency police number. They were the first place I contacted. They advised me to take it up with the CAB, in case this could be sorted without resorting to the police, but said that if it was considered serious enough they would look into the case. It’s the most convenient way to get advice and help without taking up the emergency services’ time.
We’re all still waiting for our complaints to be reviewed and to be contacted regarding the next step. But we expected the process to be slow, and knowing that there are systems in place at all is a comfort.
Read part four Here.
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