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Friday, 06 April 2018

Inquiry launched after safeguarding concerns at charity for blind people

Written by Josh Payne

An inquiry has been launched into a charity for blind people following concerns over the safeguarding of its vulnerable beneficiaries.

The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) and its subsidiary charity - RNIB Charity - were brought under scrutiny after a single serious incident on March 2 at Pears Centre for Specialist Learning in Coventry.

The concern expressed by the trustees of the charities triggered an inquiry into the oversight and management of a residential setting for children and young people in the city.

The Charity Commission said the subsidiary charity may also have consistently failed to comply with regulations designed to safeguard and protect vulnerable children.

The Chair and Deputy CEO of RNIB met with the Commission on March 27 - with the inquiry opening on March 29 2018.

Harvey Grenville, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: "The incidents and shortcomings at the Pears Centre are deeply concerning.

"The public rightly expects all charities to be places of safety, especially for vulnerable children and young people with complex needs.

"The first priority of the trustees of both charities must now be to ensure that the vulnerable young people cared for at the centre are protected from harm. The charities have already taken some immediate steps in order to do so. We now want to see that the charities continue to deal with this as a matter of urgency and will monitor their progress very closely.

Mr Grenville added: "Beyond that, we will be looking at the approach that the trustees are taking to safeguarding overall, in particular the steps the trustees are taking to ensure that the charities' beneficiaries are appropriately protected and safeguarded.

"We are pleased that the trustees recognise the gravity of our concerns, and have indicated that they will co-operate fully with our inquiry."

RNIB has said it is determined to establish an independent review to consider its safeguarding arrangements, the Commission said.

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