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Mermaids Press

We want to update you about the position in relation to Dr. Breslow, the former Trustee of Mermaids who resigned his position this week.

We have explained that it was only on the 3rd October that we became aware of his participation in a 2011 conference that would have disqualified him from becoming a trustee. Once notified, we immediately launched an investigation and Dr Breslow tendered his notice that same day.

We want to apologise for the distress and concern this news has caused.  It is clear that Dr. Breslow should never have been appointed to the board, and as Chair of the trustee board I am horrified that he was.

Many of you naturally have had questions about how this could have happened, and we want to set out the background in some more detail. 

All trustees and staff are subject to background checks including enhanced DBS searches, social media reviews and other due diligence. On this occasion we also placed weight on the fact his employer is a globally renowned institution that would have carried out its own checks. 

Clearly none of this was enough.

You will want to know what steps we are taking to ensure we are more rigorous in future. 

First, we are commissioning a review of our trustee recruitment process to be carried out by an external expert body. We will enact its recommendations.

Second, we are evaluating our policies and procedures, again in conjunction with an external expert body.

Third, we have updated the Charity Commission on the matter and the steps the charity intends to take to ensure there is transparency about what happened.

We should also say that Dr. Breslow was a trustee for a very short period of time, during which he had no interactions with any of our young people or families and only attended one regular quarterly board meeting.

Mermaids will continue to provide a wide range of support to the thousands of young people and families who need us. We want to apologise for shaking your faith in us.

Belinda Bell

Chair of trustees