Save the Children supported its former chief executive in getting a top job at Unicef and paid him a £20,000 bonus despite uncovering evidence of his “inappropriate behaviour and comments” towards young female members of staff.
Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation, confirmed that it was given a reference by Save the Children before he was hired in 2016 that made no mention of the internal probes into Mr Forsyth.
Mr Forsyth’s job was in the balance last night with Unicef saying that it was “continuing to work with him and Save the Children to get a better understanding of the facts”.
One senior Conservative MP said Mr Forsyth should resign from Unicef and the Government should review the hundreds of millions of pounds it gives to Save the Children and Unicef every year in the light of the scandal.
Tory MP Pauline Latham, a member of the House of Commons’ International Development committee, said: “It’s outrageous.
“It is completely unacceptable that he should have a job a such a senior level at Unicef when he is not a fit person to have that role. He should resign or leave now.”
Ms Latham added: “We need to review funding for Save the Children, for Unicef, for the entire sector in light of this behaviour.”
Mr Forsyth quit Save the Children and joined Unicef as its deputy executive director in early 2016.
The charity admitted this week that an internal investigation found Mr Forsyth had made “unsuitable and thoughtless” comments to the women in 2011 and 2015.
A spokesman for Unicef in New York told The Daily Telegraph it received a reference from Save The Children vouching for Mr Forsyth but no mention was made of the internal investigations because “informal mediation is confidential”.
The spokesman said: “Unicef was not aware of the complaints against Mr Forsyth at the time of his recruitment. We understand that informal mediation is confidential.
“We continue to work with him and Save the Children to get a better understanding of the facts. There have been no such complaints at Unicef. Mr Forsyth is a passionate and effective advocate for children.”
The charity’s accounts show that Mr Forsyth received a £22,560 bonus as part of his £163,000 annual pay in 2012, a year after some of the claims first emerged.
The investigations were organised by Save the Children’s chairman Sir Alan Parker, who runs City PR firm Brunswick. Sir Alan also sat on the charity’s performance and remuneration committee which set the pay for Mr Forsyth and other executives.
Sir Alan, who quit as chairman of Save the Children in 2015 but remains chairman of its international arm Save the Children International, declined to answer a series of questions from The Daily Telegraph.
A spokesman for Save the Children said: “When complaints were raised about Mr Forsyth, Sir Alan instructed HR to manage a complaints process in conjunction with a trustee.
“Brunswick was not instructed with regard to these matters and Sir Alan Parker was already a trustee of Save The Children International as well as Save The Children UK at this time.
“We can confirm we are currently in discussion with Unicef about Mr Forsyth.”
Kevin Watkins, who succeeded Mr Forsyth as chief executive, was a trustee when the investigations were carried out, but was not involved in the inquiry, Save the Children said.
The women who complained about Mr Forsyth’s behaviour told the BBC he sent them a “barrage” of text messages which left them feeling deeply uncomfortable.
If they did not respond he allegedly sent them emails, and if they still refused to engage they were called over by Mr Forsyth for a private “chat”.
Save the Children is said to have dealt with each complaint by having a mediation process where Mr Forsyth apologised to the women involved.
The charity admitted this week it should have conducted a further review into Mr Forsyth’s conduct and “matters should not have been left”. It also said that “HR processes had not been followed in every aspect”.
Mr Forsyth’s resignation from Save the Children came just four months after Brendan Cox, a friend of Mr Forsyth and former chief strategist at the charity, quit following separate allegations of sexual misconduct.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/21/save-children-supported-justin-forsyth-getting-job-unicef-paid/