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ICR statement on allegations of bullying

The ICR logo on the Brookes Lawley Building (September 2014)

In November 2017 we received allegations of bullying against a member of our staff, Professor Nazneen Rahman. We take any complaints about bullying extremely seriously and immediately commissioned an independent and thorough investigation into the allegations by a respected law firm.

The role of the independent investigation was to establish whether the allegations were substantiated by evidence, rather than determining a disciplinary outcome.

In response to the independent report, the conclusion of the ICR Investigatory Panel was that there was sufficient evidence for some of the allegations to be considered by a disciplinary hearing.

We discussed this with Professor Rahman in July 2018. After this discussion, Professor Rahman tendered her resignation and will be leaving the ICR. We decided at this point to focus on the orderly transition of her science for the benefit of patients. We are working with Professor Rahman, her team and Wellcome to ensure her research is properly transitioned or completed.

No disciplinary hearing took place and no disciplinary findings were made. Professor Rahman has stated that she denies the allegations against her and her resignation should not be construed as her acceptance of any of the allegations.

We have sought to be as transparent as possible in dealing with these allegations and our investigation into them, while working within the constraints of workplace and data protection law.

An open and supportive working environment is essential for our work to defeat cancer. We have put in place an extensive programme of measures to ensure we respond to allegations as quickly and effectively as possible. These include revising our policy on bullying and harassment, providing an external hotline for reporting of complaints, and effective information sharing within and across the ICR.

We are also reviewing our processes for training and support of managers, to ensure our working environment facilitates constructive feedback, and that we communicate necessary management decisions and deal with performance management concerns appropriately.

We recognise we could have done more to support those who came to us with concerns and are absolutely committed to learning the lessons. In addition to the changes we have already made, we have reviewed the investigation findings in detail and are implementing further recommendations in full.

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