Branch Secretary :

St Mungos: still threatening worker who called out bullying

Damaging publicity


St Mungos executives have shown no willingness to address staff concerns about bullying and are pressing ahead with gross misconduct charges against a rep who raised concerns about bullying by senior managers; the key charge remains that senior managers are distressed at this suggestion.


Unite continues to call on St Mungo's to:

  • agree to a full investigation into the levels of bullying within the organisation.
  • put an end to threats of disciplinary action against staff for raising legitimate concerns,
  • and to review the charity's governance procedures so that the recognised unions can engage effectively with management and the trustees.

Chief Executive, Steve Douglas has expressed concern that surrounding publicity will damage the organisation and it is true that local authority funders have written to him to express concern. An example letter is reporoduced below.


Employees deeply invested in quality


Unite has responded in a letter from Regional Officer Steve O Donnell pointing out that “St. Mungo's has a very influential role in addressing homelessness, while its employees are deeply invested in the quality and long-term impact of the support they provide to service users. This is work that must be acknowledged, uplifted, and supported.” The failure to take serious allegations about bullying undermines the work of front line staff.


Unite explains “When we feedback concerns raised by our members, your response always seems to fall along of the lines of, “Well, when I speak to staff they tell me something different."  Of course - you are the CEO. Not everyone is confident enough to tell you directly that they are experiencing hardship and difficulties at work. And when, for example, someone did have the confidence to speak up at one of your forums, he was issued with a warning the following week, as I have raised with you previously. 


Hesitant to use greivance process


When we tell you that your employees are hesitant to utilise the grievance process, for fear of exactly what happened to Vicko, and are being told to stop raising concerns or face disciplinary action, you should listen and take action to change. The union is potentially your most useful resource for understanding and improving the health of your organisation


We don’t accept that our campaign might jeopardise funding. It is only your refusal to accept the reality of these issues, to take responsibility, and to work with unions and staff to resolve these issues that negatively impacts long-term service delivery.”


Unite has approached Trustees of the organisation but, so far, they have been unwilling to engage with us.




In a deeply unhelpful intervention Steve Douglas has sought to suggest that Unite is targeting people because of their race or gender. Unite replies “I absolutely refute the allegations that Unite are targeting individuals in a racist, misogynistic manner as you indicated at the JNC.  The campaign has called attention to the inaction of the individuals involved in St. Mungo's governance, who, in accepting and taking on their empowered roles in the highest levels of the organisation, must also accept the accountability and ethical expectations attached to a position at the head of a renowned homelessness charity.”


Unite remain 100% committed to defending our rep who simply called out bullying.  We also continue to press for St Mungo’s to work with us to find solutions to the wider problem in St Mungo’s.


The full letter from Unite's Steve O Donnell can be found here.


Example letter from Haringey council below:




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