22 March 2021

Bond have launched a new tool to help guide leaders of organisation through how to assess their organisational culture in relation to safeguarding and develop clear actions to help prevent all types of harm, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH).  

The discussion-based tool was developed by an NGO safeguarding working group on leadership and culture and Bond to encourage leaders from organisations to work through 6 areas identified as the foundations of a strong safeguarding culture: accountability; policies and processes; do no harm/safer programming; survivor-centred approach; awareness-raising; and safer recruitment and HR processes. Each section is broken down into behaviours that support a positive safeguarding culture and includes questions for guided discussion and actions to consider.  

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development said:  

“The past few years have proven that organisations cannot deliver good safeguarding practice without a healthy safeguarding culture. It isn’t enough to meet minimum compliance standards. Organisations need to live and breathe a strong safeguarding culture and as leaders, we play a fundamental role in creating this. Yet, pinning down what a organisations culture is can be very difficult.”   

“We hope this tool will help guide leadership teams and staff through the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their own organisational culture so they can have the honest and challenging conversations necessary to prevent harm, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment.”  

Frances Longley, co-chair of the Bond safeguarding working group on leadership and organisational culture, said:

“A healthy safeguarding culture has to be everybody’s responsibility, but it will only succeed if leaders step up to the challenge and lead by example. We’ve built this tool to help leaders to work with their teams through discussion to understand what a positive safeguarding culture looks like, and crucially, what they need to change to strengthen their own cultures at work. 

Leaders who are serious about safeguarding must set clear expectations, and meet those expectations themselves. They need to invest in high standards, ask for feedback from their staff and be open about the organisations shortcomings. And leaders must encourage honest, constructive conversations and be transparent about how they deal with unacceptable behaviour.”  

The leadership tool builds on existing safeguarding commitments for the aid sector and was designed to help generate conversation, supporting leaders of whole organisations and of specific teams who want to improve safeguarding. It is complemented by a shorter culture tool to help the wider organisation make sense of what an effective safeguarding culture is. 

The toolkit has been funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). 

ENDS

Notes to editor

  1.  ‘Developing and modelling a positive safeguarding culture: A tool for leaders’ was developed by an NGO safeguarding working group on leadership and culture, with support from Bond. It can be found here.  
  2.  The tool includes 6 sections: accountability; policies and processes; do no harm/safer programming; survivor-centred approach; awareness-raising; and safer recruitment and HR processes.
  3.  Bond’s ‘Understanding effective safeguarding culture’ tool can be used in conjunction with the safeguarding leadership tool and is available here.
  4.  Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  5.  For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]