A leading race equality thinktank did not breach charity guidance despite claims from Conservative MPs that it is pursuing a political agenda, a watchdog has found.
The Charity Commission’s review of the Runnymede Trust concluded that the charity was allowed to engage with the government’s report on racial disparities in the UK and it did not breach its legal duties and responsibilities in its participation in judicial review proceedings.
It has, sin emabargo, told the trust that it must ensure the charity’s engagement with political parties and politicians is balanced.
The decision has been welcomed by the trust, who said the feedback from the commission confirmed that the charity had an “important and worthy role to play” in fighting for racial equality.
More than a dozen Tory MPs wrote to the Charity Commission last April demanding an inquiry into the Runnymede Trust over its criticism of a government race report.
La carta, organised by the former minister Sir John Hayes and signed by MPs including Sir Edward Leigh, Sally-Ann Hart and Imran Ahmad-Khan, claimed the trust was unduly interested in criticising the government rather than in the conclusions of its race commission’s report.
Runnymede Trust denied the allegation, saying it was a politically neutral organisation that took a wide-ranging and evidence-based approach to its charitable objectives. The trust condemned what it described as an “adversarial trend” for politicians to file complaints against charities whose work they contested.
The trust was one of several organisation to criticise the findings of the Commission on Raza and Ethnic Disparities (Cred), released at the end of March, which concluded that while racism and racial injustice still exist, geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion all have a greater impact on life chances. The charity denied claims it took part in personal insults or attacks.
In April the trust joined with other leading civil society organisations to deliver an open letter and petition to Downing Street urging Boris Johnson to reject the findings of the Cred report and instead implement recommendations from previous reviews.
The Runnymede Trust was named during a debate in parliament in April on the Cred report. El ministro de igualdad, Kemi Badenoch, defended the review and accused critics of “bad-faith attempts to undermine” its credibility, saying Runnymede was part of a “climate of intimidation” around those involved with it.
Referring to Runnymede, Hayes asked Badenoch to make representations across the government to “stop the worthless work of organisations, often publicly funded, promulgating weird, woke ideas and in doing so seeding doubt and fear, and more than that, disharmony and disunity.”
The Charity Commission opened a compliance case on 9 abril 2021 and concluded on 17 agosto 2021.
Helen Earner, the director of regulatory services at the Charity Commission, dicho: “In this case, we have found no breach of our guidance. sin embargo, we have told the trustees of the Runnymede Trust that they must ensure the charity’s engagement with political parties and politicians is balanced.
“It is not for us as regulator to tell trustees how best to further their charity’s purposes. Charities are free to take up positions that are controversial, if the trustees come to a reasoned decision that doing so furthers the charity’s cause.”
Sir Clive Jones CBE, chair of the Runnymede Trust, dicho: “The Runnymede Trust’s commitment to equality in all its forms has been steadfast since 1968, and we will not waver. We will continue our endeavours with care and compassion, making room for all voices, and working to build bridges in those inevitable instances of disagreement. We would like to thank the countless people across the country who have supported our work, as well as our CEO and staff for their courage and dedication.”