When the brown stuff hits the fan.

Oxfam is the latest ins a sorry line of organisations frantically mopping up as a crisis coats them in the brown stuff. Andy offers his thoughts.

Shit meet fan. Fan meet shit.


That’s the introductions done.

Now the niceties are dispensed with, down to business.

Oh, and please, someone fetch a cloth. This is going to get messy.

Oxfam is the latest in a long sorry line of big names to find brown stuff liberally splattered all over its reputation.

The British charity is accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.

Bad enough.

But it got worse.

The charity downplayed the incident when a whistleblower alerted them only telling the Charity Commission that it amounted to ‘serious misconduct’.

Now the commission is rightly furious and on the warpath and so is the government.

Three staff resigned but the charity failed to prevent them – four were sacked and three forced to resign – from ever working in the sector again.

It gets even worse.

It has since emerged that the man at the centre of this scandal in Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren was employed by Oxfam two years after he left another aid agency, because of concerns about his behaviour.

Then today we learnt that Oxfam star ambassador Minnie Driver (above) has resigned – how many more will follow?

The real tragedy here – aside from the sickening abuse of some of the world’s most vulnerable people in a time of pure crisis, is the amazing work done by countless staff, aid workers and Oxfam volunteers across the world and on our high streets is tainted by association.

It shouldn’t be and we shouldn’t stop supporting them and the incredible jobs they do simply because the charity’s bosses were simply not up to the job.

There needs to be root and branch reform and a clean out at the top.

One thing is for sure, more stories about this scandal will emerge.

Journalists will keep digging. It’s what they are supposed to do.

It also begs the question, what would your organisation do in a crisis?

How would you respond?

Would you know what to do and how to do it?

I run many media coaching sessions, including crisis communications, if you need help – before that fan starts whirring – give me a shout.

  • You can find out about Andy’s services and read more of his blogs here on his website┬áwww.andyjohnson.tv