5 March 2018

Today at the safeguarding summit in London, NGOs, DFID, the Charity Commission and experts came together to take further steps towards driving up safeguarding standards across the international development sector.

Tamsyn Barton chief executive of Bond said: 

“Today’s summit and actions send an important message to the very people this sector serves, our staff and our supporters - we will not allow any behaviour by individuals within our own sector that harms the people we were set up to help. Bond's members have provided the number of incidents, as well as additional details on reporting and allegations to DFID. Many agencies have been able to report the number of incidents which have occurred because they do have policies and procedures in place. The issue here is about making sure the sector is able to prevent exploitation from happening in the first place and ensuring perpetrators are held to account.”

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.

10 days ago a letter from the sector signed by 22 of the UK's leading NGOs was published in The Times and online. The letter highlighted 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. These commitments include encouraging people to come forward to report unacceptable behaviour, increasing resourcing for safeguarding, reviewing referencing systems, working with authorities and regulatory bodies to make sure those caught abusing their power cannot do so again, and working with the Government to overcome institutional and legal barriers around background checks.

Ends

Notes to Editor

  1. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  2. DFID Press release: Actions to tackle exploitation and abuse agreed with UK charities: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/actions-to-tackle-exploitation-and-abuse-agreed-with-uk-charities
  3. Secretary of State for International Development, The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP's speech at the safeguarding summit: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/penny-mordaunts-speech-at-safeguarding-summit
  4. Bond chief executive Tamsyn Barton’s speech at the safeguarding summit: https://www.bond.org.uk/press-releases/2018/03/tamsyn-barton-bond-ceo-statement-on-safeguarding-summit-0 
  5. For more information please contact mmohsin@bond.org.uk / 077555336029