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Serious failings at charity exposed children in care to harm, investigation reveals

Failures at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) exposed children in care to harm and undue risk, a major report has revealed.

The review comes after the Charity Commission launched an investigation into the organisation in March 2018 following serious concerns about the care services provided to children at one of its facilities.

According to the report, published today, the RNIB enabled serious safeguarding breaches to take place – in part due to serious failures in leadership – exposing children under its care to harm or distress.

The investigation found a “catalogue of failings”, including an insular culture “dismissive of external criticism from Ofsted, CQC and parents”, “a disproportionately high number of basic medication errors”, and inadequate staff training issue compounded by an “over reliance on agency staff”.

The report also reveals “poor recruitment practices which did not adequately protect beneficiaries” and “inadequate oversight and interim management arrangements of staff and services allowed a working practice to develop that was not child centred”.

With many of the beneficiaries having learning and communication difficulties, the investigators also found that the “charity’s safeguarding processes and oversight” did not reflect the high level of care and attention that was required.

Commenting on the report, Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said: “This is one of the worst examples we have uncovered of poor governance and oversight having a direct impact on vulnerable people.

“A catalogue of serious failings were allowed to occur, because the charity’s governance was simply too weak for the trustees in charge of the charity to do the job that beneficiaries needed them to do.”

She added: “No child should ever be put at risk of harm, and this case is all the more troubling because it happened in the care of a charity.”

To access the full report, please click here.

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