Safeguarding: our progress

As part of our commitment to change in safeguarding, we have been working across the sector to drive forward better practice and standards. Four working groups and sector experts have collaborated on a series of projects to improve safeguarding practice across these themes. 

You can get more information and details on the progress of the projects and their outputs, as well as wider sector progress, below.

If you’re a Bond member, you can view versions of the project outputs and information on next steps in our members’ area. 

Reporting and complaints 

We have developed the following guidance for NGOs aimed at helping to overcome under-reporting and remove barriers to accessing complaints and whistle-blowing mechanisms: 

  • A set of definitions, mapping key definitions and terminology in relation to “sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment” and “safeguarding”.
  • A toolkit of elements essential to a reporting mechanism to include flowcharts that will  enable organisations to receive, process and respond to safeguarding complaints quickly and effectively.
  • Case studies to illustrate how elements and principles of robust reporting mechanisms would apply to real-life scenarios. 

Good governance practice for trustees 

The Charity Commission for England and Wales states that the duties of trustees include taking reasonable steps to protect those connected with the charity from harm. 

We have developed a good practice guide for trustees on safeguarding. This guidance is intended for the boards of international NGOs registered as charities in the UK. 

Employment cycle

Another expert working group collaborated with government and key agencies to develop improved background checks globally and within the UK. They have also supported the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR), who have developed an inter-agency scheme for the disclosure of safeguarding-related misconduct in recruitment processes within the humanitarian and development sector. 

Background to the scheme and guidance on signing up, HR/legal issues, and operational roll-out can be found in this supporting document produced by SCHR for potential new signatories and other stakeholders.

Further details on the scheme and how to sign up to it can be found on the SCHR website. Please write to [email protected] if your organisation wants to confirm its participation in the Scheme and/or you have any question related to the Scheme and its implementation.

Organisational culture change

Leaders need to deliver a bold shift in culture within organisations and across the sector that goes beyond changes to policies and procedures. This means recognising and systematically challenging sexism, gender inequality and other power imbalances including age, race, disability, faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

A dedicated working group and sector experts are developing shared leadership commitments and culture indicators that will help establish a safer culture amongst leaders within organisations, which support safeguarding, prevent abuse, and tackle inequality.  

UK government progress

The Department for International Development (DFID) have a website which provides an overview of their work on safeguarding and points to guidance for those working in the aid sector on how to safeguard their people and programmes. This website also provides further information regarding DFID's reporting on progress across the sector and the emplomyent cycle initatives mentioned above.

The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have put together a comprehensive framework outlining their approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment. With a focus on international coordination, the instrument builds on existing commitments and standards and its creation was supported by a small ad hoc working group open to civil society organisations interested by this advocacy effort.