Crisis management & complaints

Even if your governance, policies and procedures are gold standard, there are no guarantees that your charity won’t ever face a crisis.

Our aim is always to help clients avoid a crisis in the first place, and our experience shows that good planning and governance are critical, particularly when it comes to dealing with complaints.

However, a crisis can come from unexpected quarters – and affect even the most well-run organisations – something we have seen all too clearly in recent years.

There’s a huge range of issues that might prompt a crisis. Finance issues, safeguarding, racial and other EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion)-related issues, criminal activity, data breaches, reputation, governance, employment and allegations of a broken or toxic culture – to name just a few.  And it’s at times of crisis that the leadership of a charity,  its decision making, and its processes, come under most scrutiny.

How we help

We regularly support clients through some of the most difficult situations they’ve faced as organisations. We understand the legal, regulatory, operational and reputational challenges and we know how to navigate through them.

We also support our clients to take proactive steps to prevent crises down the line. A well-structured approach to handling complaints can be crucial. Regulators like the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator place strong emphasis on charities having mechanisms for concerns to be raised and dealt with promptly and appropriately.

We can work with you to draft and implement policies and processes that should not only satisfy the regulators, but will also provide a firm foundation to help avoid a crisis developing in the future.

We can support you by:

  • Advising on complaints policies and procedures
  • Drafting or evaluating your wider framework of policies
  • Crisis planning and stakeholder management
  • Engaging with the regulator, eg whether and when to make a serious incident report to the Charity Commission
  • Providing cross-departmental expertise, from our employment, dispute resolution, data privacy, regulatory and charity law teams
  • Advising on internal investigations – assessing if one is needed; how to plan and frame it; appointing an external investigator if necessary
  • Governance support and advice
  • Support with statutory and regulatory investigations
  • Strategising around identifying lessons learned and implementing actions
  • Considering questions of confidentiality and transparency.
Meet our team
You May Also Be Interested In

Managing in a crisis: a guide for charities

We’ve sought to set out the practical steps charities can take – and points to consider – if a crisis …
Read more

What should you do if your email has been hacked?

Our newest guide outlines the top tips for dealing with an email hack. It’s a shame we had to write …
Read more

Crisis management training and development

How to pre-empt, prepare for and manage if crisis hits Our aim is always to help clients avoid a crisis …
Read more

Crisis communication: top tips for charities

Peter Gilheany, director at Forster Communications, outlines a practical toolkit for communicating in a crisis. Unfortunately, crisis communications is a …
Read more