Tearfund will no longer use confidentiality clauses (sometimes referred to as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs) in settlement agreements. There is a wider debate both in society, and within the church and charity sector around their use, and having considered this issue carefully and prayerfully, Tearfund has decided to stop their use with immediate effect.
We will mutually lift existing confidentiality clauses from anyone who has signed one with us as part of a settlement agreement should they wish us to. We recognise that in some cases employees may themselves wish to have a confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement, and in such cases we may consider using one.
In very exceptional circumstances, some information may need to remain confidential in order to protect the safety, privacy and well-being of other individuals who are vulnerable and to whom we owe a duty of care.
Tearfund has very rarely used settlement agreements, entering into them only after very careful consideration. On the few occasions that we have used settlement agreements, it has been to allow parties to resolve disagreements and move on after a relationship has irretrievably broken down, or where it has been necessary for employment law purposes.
Previously, a confidentiality clause has been used within settlement agreements for the benefit of both parties. We have never used a confidentiality clause to cover up wrongdoing and our settlement agreements make clear that they do not in any way prevent the individual from raising any concerns with relevant regulatory bodies.
In taking this decision to no longer use confidentiality clauses, we are not aiming to influence the church or the development sector more widely. We simply believe it to be the best way forward for Tearfund, for those who work for Tearfund, and ultimately for the communities we are called to work with and before God whom we serve.
This article was updated on 23 June 2021.