Safeguarding support for NGOs

We are working with members, government and regulatory bodies to ensure organisations are equipped to prevent sexual exploitation across the international development sector.

Commitments

We recognise that in some cases the sector has fallen short in terms of safeguarding and let down the vulnerable people we work with. We are working with our members to turn this justifiable anger into action. We are committed to meeting the high standards expected of the sector and acknowledge the need for improvement.

Working with members, Bond has pulled together an agreed a set of principles for the sector which we expect organisations to work towards. Read the full set of principles.

A letter from the sector signed by 22 of the UK's leading NGOs was published in The Times and online, highlighting the sector's commitment to a series of urgent measures including strengthening existing practices, as well as calling on leadership across the sector to ensure that commitments are turned into action

Actions 

NGOs, DFID, the Charity Commission and safeguarding experts pledged to improve safeguarding standards across the international development sector at a Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018.

The summit agreed a set of actions to drive up standards, including:

  • Demonstrating accountability to beneficiaries and survivors
  • Demonstrating a step change in shifting organisational culture to tackle power imbalances and gender inequality
  • Ensuring that safeguards are integrated throughout the employment cycle
  • Ensuring full accountability through rigorous reporting and complaints mechanisms
  • Ensure that concerns are heard and acted on through a whistleblowing process.

For more information on the actions and pledges, read the joint commitment to improving safeguarding, which was signed by 32 organisations and government.   

You can also read the secretary of state's ministerial statement outlining the actions taken by DFID to strengthen safeguarding in the aid sector, as well as a high level summary of safeguarding assurance returns from UK charities.

The event was hosted by DFID and the Charity Commission with support from Bond.  DFID and the Charity Commission invited a number of Bond members and national NGO bodies from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to the event, as well as a range of regulatory bodies from across the UK. Click here to see the NGO attendees [PDF] and here to read secretary of state Penny Mordaunt's speech to the summit.

DFID and the Charity Commission intend to host a wider conference later in the year to which all Bond members will be welcome. We will keep you updated.

Sector working groups

Following the summit, a series of working groups have been set up to drive forward better practice across four thematic areas. The groups will prototype a set of new ideas to improve safeguarding, with the aim of putting in place a series of pilot projects. 

The groups will look at the following thematic areas:

  • Accountability to people we work with
  • Organisational culture
  • The employment cycle
  • Reports and complaints mechanisms

The groups are made up of Bond members, DFID and the Charity Commission, and will each be supported by a panel of academic and specialist experts. Groups will meet monthly and consult more widely with the Bond membership and the sector. 

Each group has produced a short report setting out their analysis of the current state of policy and practice, their vision for change, and the range of possible solutions they will explore over the next four months. The reports are available to view on our members' area to give Bond members the opportunity to comment and make suggestions.

Resources and guidance

We’ve gathered guidance, resources and training opportunities to support members in driving up safeguarding standards across their organisations.