13:28, February 27 266 0 theguardian.com

2020-02-27 13:28:04
Pride in the work of Alzheimer’s Society

We would like to challenge misleading claims in letters from Dr Alan Fowler and Prof David Lewis (24 February). In 2019, we spent £49.3m, not £8.6m as Dr Fowler claimed, on direct support. In addition to those services mentioned by Dr Fowler, this includes dementia advisers and support as well as our Dementia Connect service, helpline, dementia guides and online forum, Talking Point, which people with dementia and their carers tell us make a huge difference to their lives.

The disestablishment of the branch network in 2010 was part of a wider change programme to enable us to extend and grow our reach with a more consistent offer of support for people affected by dementia. We are now reaching thousands more people and providing direct support for 100,000 of those affected by the condition. By the end of 2022 this will increase to around 300,000.

Volunteers are at the heart of Alzheimer’s Society and play a critical role. They continue to have a voice through two elected trustees and our volunteer advisory panel.

We are proud of the 10,000 volunteers and 2,200 staff providing vital support to tens of thousands of people with dementia and their carers every day. Our staff are trained and skilled experts, and are paid at rates consistent with and regularly benchmarked against alternative charity employment. We can only tackle dementia, today’s biggest health challenge, by retaining people across Alzheimer’s Society with the appropriate skill and experience.

In response to Prof Lewis’s claim, we have not, and will not, use non-disclosure agreements or settlement agreements to stop anyone reporting any whistleblowing, harassment, bullying or discrimination complaints, in line with Acas guidance. We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in the Guardian. All complaints raised with us are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly.

We believe in a positive working culture. In our most recent – anonymous – staff engagement survey, 86% see colleagues living our values and behaviours, 97% said they demonstrate our values and behaviours and 91% of our people are proud to work or volunteer here.

Corinne Mills

Director of people and organisational development, Alzheimer’s Society

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition