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    Heidi Kempster Deputy CEO and COO

    Welfare at IWF

    By Heidi Kempster, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer

    The IWF has grown more in 2022 than at any time in our 26-year history. At the beginning of the year, we embarked on our biggest recruitment drive yet, with appointments to new roles across our organisation. We have grown, from 52 staff in January 2022, to 70 by the end of December.

    Given the sensitive nature of the work we do at IWF, that kind of expansion was no mean feat. We need to ensure that we recruit carefully, with people who have both a high emotional resilience and a passion for our mission.

    And following our response to Covid, where we split our workforce between those who work in the office and those who can work remotely, we had additional challenges to maintain that sense of unity. We’ve needed to re-think how we create that feeling and culture of one “IWF family”.

    When we speak publicly about our work, we often get asked about the welfare provisions for our staff, how we recruit the right people, and how we manage to maintain such high staff retention. We’ve taken a deeper dive into these issues in this annual report, by featuring the views of our new Head of HR, one of our Senior Analysts who supports staff wellbeing, and our professional mental health support team.

    We work hard as a team to ensure that those who dedicate their working lives to our mission are, in turn, looked after. At the end of 2022 we welcomed four independent experts who carried out our Hotline Audit, which had been delayed by a year due to the Covid pandemic.

    As part of this audit, Dr Georgina Clifford, Specialist Clinical and Research Psychologist and Director of London Trauma Specialists, inspected our welfare provision. The independent auditors found our Gold-standard welfare programme to be an: “excellent, carefully considered and ever-evolving welfare package…[with] a trauma-informed approach to assessing the suitability of new staff for the role, with a comprehensive and rigorous interview and induction process.”