Headlines > Aid agencies face ‘tough new standards’

08 March 2018 | by Bernadette Kehoe

Aid agencies face ‘tough new standards’


The international development secretary has announced “tough and exacting” standards that all aid organisations will have to meet, to apply for government funding, in the wake of the Oxfam scandal.

Revelations regarding sexual misconduct in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti by some senior staff emerged last month. At a safeguarding summit in London on Monday Penny Mordaunt told charities they have to start “laying the foundations to rebuild the credibility of the aid sector on this issue, both here and overseas”. Ms Mordaunt said that there is too little evidence in the areas of robust risk management, comprehensive reporting, responsibility being taken at the highest level for safeguarding and of beneficiaries always being put first. She has written to every UK charity in receipt of UK aid asking that they provide her with a statement of assurance on safeguarding, organisational culture, clarity and transparency, and their handling of allegations and incidents.

The Catholic aid agency, Cafod, told The Tablet it received £6.8m from the UK government in the year to 31 March 2017, out of a total income of £50m, and said it had provided a statement to the Department for International Development (DFID) in advance of a deadline last week. At the summit, all 179 organisations responded with a statement of assurance. DFID is following up with 37 organisations to gain further clarity on their assurance.

Cafod’s director, Chris Bain, said: “I’m pleased the aid sector is going to be working together on this issue and liaising closely with the Charity Commission and DFID … Cafod has strong safeguarding policies in place … but we recognise we can, and must, continually improve. We’re fully behind the commitments made [at the summit] and to working with DFID, and other aid agencies, on concrete proposals to be agreed at a Safeguarding Conference due in September.”

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