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.

Our commitment to prevent sexual exploitation in the sector

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, which include creating a safe environment for those affected to come forwards. The principles are:

  • Ensuring that the culture within our organisations provides a safe and trusted environment that encourages those affected to come forward and report incidents
  • Assuring the regulatory bodies that they have full disclosure of all safeguarding concerns at the earliest opportunity
  • Sharing with the regulatory bodies the safeguarding policies and practices already in place, as well as how incidents and allegations are handled when they arise
  • Where not done already, sharing the details of any incidents with the regulatory bodies
  • Increasing investment and resources towards safeguarding and protecting the most vulnerable
  • Ensuring that the highest safeguarding standards are applied throughout our programmes and that best practice is shared across the sector
  • Carrying out work, which is already underway in collaboration with DFID, the Charity Commission and global bodies, to explore a system of passporting, registration or accreditation of humanitarian and development practitioners which will be accelerated under the leadership of UK NGOs in the hope that it may influence the practice and standards of the global aid community.

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

Safeguarding Summit: pledging to drive up standards

NGOs, DFID, the Charity Commission and experts came together to take further steps towards driving up safeguarding standards across the international development sector at a Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018.

The Summit agreed a set of actions including exploring an international safeguarding centre to support organisations to implement best practice on safeguarding, tackling power imbalances organisationally and encouraging reporting, introducing new standards for vetting and referencing, ensuring accountability through reporting and complaints mechanisms, and ensuring whistle-blowers and survivors of exploitation and abuse receive support and concerns are acted upon. Read DFID's statement for more details, see our statement here.

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.

Resources on safeguarding

Checkout NCVO's safeguarding guidance and resources. You can also read their summary of the Charity Commission's safeguarding summit for domestic charities.

We will be sharing more resources soon.

Sessions at Bond Conference

We hosted a number of sessions on safeguarding at the Bond Conference on 26-27 February. Safeguarding and what it means for governance session looked at the role of NGO boards in safeguarding the interests of beneficiaries, partners, staff and volunteers, and asked what needs to change. The Stepping up to the current challenge session looked at the implications of safeguarding for how international NGOs work and what needs to change. There was also space to discuss safeguarding at our "open space" Connect and collaborate session.