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Saturday February 24th, 2018

Save the Children UK Chief Executive, Kevin Watkins stated today: “I have followed closely the debate and discussion on Save the Children UK over the past few days. Along with the whole leadership team and Trustees, I appreciate the openness with which staff and volunteers, past and present, have expressed their views. I also recognise the role the UK media has had in helping bring some of these stories to our attention.

Let me be clear about my priorities. Our organisation has a mission that is too important to fail. That mission is about making a difference to the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged children. The staff I work with every day are driven by values and by a passion for our cause. So am I – and I will not let this organisation fail because the stakes for children are too high.

Many comments and concerns have been raised over the past week. Some of these relate to specific cases covered in the media. Others relate to my role as Trustee over eight years prior to becoming CEO. Over the past couple of weeks I have also had a chance to speak to many staff and former employees. It is absolutely clear to me that we have to strengthen our organisational culture. We can debate strategies for achieving various goals. Where there is no debate is on the imperative to ensure that all of our staff feel protected, safe, respected and listened to – to make sure we are where we need to be’.

I have already initiated an independent review, the finer details of which will be announced later this week. The review will be forward-looking and examine whether the system for dealing with complaints about behaviour in the workplace can be further improved, and what organisational change may be required in order to enhance the protection, safety and wellbeing of all staff. We have to be confident enough as an organisation and sector to learn from mistakes.

I have recused myself from the review and committed to publishing the findings. We need to let that review do its work. That is why I cannot agree to deadlines and requests outlined in letters, petitions or emails. I know this will not satisfy many people – and I am not dismissing any of the concerns raised. But I am doing what I believe to be in the best interests of our staff, beneficiaries and our organisation”.

Read more about the Independent Review of Workplace Culture at Save the Children UK.