Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) welcomes the findings of the Independent Commission it established to examine trustee vetting and conduct and wider global governance arrangements, led by former UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC and assisted by Sir Clive Jones.
The Independent Commission’s report, published today, finds no evidence of institutional anti-Semitism in the organisation and provides IRW with 19 recommendations to improve its governance practices.
IRW has committed to fully implementing the recommendations, which include reforms to the membership and governance of IRW’s international Board, updating the charity’s Code of Conduct, and utilising external expertise when undertaking the vetting of trustees.
Over a period of four months, the Independent Commission interviewed nearly 60 people including the Charity Commission, government representatives and leaders from across the humanitarian sector, as well as IRW staff and trustees.
The report welcomes actions that IRW has taken in recent months to reform its governance and develop new policies and processes, such as a new personal social media policy. It also praises the impact of the charity’s humanitarian work in conflict areas, underlining the value of the independent audits that corroborate its professional approach.
The Independent Commission’s report follows the conclusion of the Charity Commission for England and Wales’ compliance case earlier this month. This was in response to offensive social media posts by two now former Trustees and a Director.
Islamic Relief will now look forward and focus on implementing the various recommendations made by the Charity Commission and the Independent Commission, in tandem with its humanitarian and development work supporting 9.5 million people of all faiths and none, all over the world.
Dominic Grieve QC, Chair of the Independent Commission, said:
“Islamic Relief is a highly effective charity and we found absolutely no evidence that the reputational issues that have arisen over the conduct of a few individuals has had any link to the way IRW carries out this charitable work.
“The steps recommended by the Independent Commission should help to reduce the risk of recurrence of recent events. Sir Clive and I are confident that IRW will emerge with governance that is suitable for its purposes, puts it at the heart of the charities sector in the UK and enables it to sustain its crucial humanitarian work around the world.”
Dr Ihab Saad, Chair of Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Board of Trustees, said:
“We thank Mr Grieve and Sir Clive for their report, the findings of which we accept in full. They have made a number of valuable recommendations to ensure Islamic Relief Worldwide’s trustees and other senior leaders uphold the highest standards and the values that we expect. We believe the Commission’s advice will help us become an even more effective humanitarian organisation going forward.”
Notes to editors
Dominic Grieve QC served as Attorney General for England and Wales from 2010 to 2014 and as Chair of the UK Government’s Intelligence and Security Committee from 2015 to 2019.
Sir Clive Jones CBE was Chair of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a coalition of the UK’s leading 14 humanitarian agencies, for eight years.
The Independent Commission was established in September 2020 after Islamic Relief Worldwide became aware of unacceptable and offensive social media posts made between 2013 and 2015 by two former trustees and a former director.
The full Independent Commission report is available here.