Macmillan apologizes after report uncovers ‘racist and ableist’ culture

Macmillan Cancer Support has apologized and admitted that it has “fallen short both in culture and processes”, after an internal report identified racism and bullying at the charity.

Staff described incidents including the use of a racial slur during an online meeting which went unchallenged and Muslim fundraisers visiting the charity being treated as a security risk, according to the story in The Times newspaper (£).

The report said employees described “an organizational culture at Macmillan that is systemically racist and ableist”, according to The Times.

It was prepared by consultants from the Social Justice Collective, brought in by Macmillan management as part of the charity’s equity, diversity and inclusion strategy.

Employees told consultants that complaints about mistreatment “were brushed under the carpet” and said that whistleblowers were treated as “vocal troublemakers”.

The internal paper said that “many staff reported acutely oppressive and painful experiences that had impacted and continue to impact on their mental health and wellbeing”. The Times reported.

Macmillan declined to share the report, citing the fact that information had been shared with consultants in confidence.

Steven McIntosh, executive director of advocacy and communications at Macmillan, said: “The report reveals a number of areas where Macmillan has fallen far short of the standards that colleagues have a right to expect. As a leadership team, we fully accept the findings of the report, and its recommendations.

“There is no doubt that the findings of this review make for painful reading and we are profoundly sorry that anyone has ever suffered a distressing or harmful experience at Macmillan.”

McIntosh thanked staff who had shared their experiences and said the charity was determined to “be a workplace where everyone feels they belong.”

He said: “The findings of this report serve as a powerful and humbling demonstration of how much more we have to do in order to support our colleagues who identify as disabled and / or ethnically diverse, and we are determined to do so.

“We know we have fallen short both in culture and processes, and we will urgently address this to ensure that everyone at Macmillan feels valued and safe as we continue to deliver on our mission to ensure that everyone can live well with cancer.”

Macmillan declined to confirm when the report had been shared with staff.

In April, Lynda Thomas, chief executive of the charity, announced she would be stepping down after eight years in the top job and more than 20 at Macmillan.

The charity said Thomas was not moving to a new job but would “focus instead on her work in non-executive positions”.

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