Published: Tue, March 06, 2018

UK Aid Sector Urged to Take Action

UK Aid Sector Urged to Take Action

The charities' watchdog has received reports of 80 current and historical cases of safeguarding concerns - including child sex abuse - since the Oxfam scandal broke.

~ Penny Mordaunt challenged UK-based global development charities, regulatory bodies and independent experts to drive up standards and to agree practical tools, processes and protocols to ensure the aid sector protects the people it serves.

"We don't reveal the names of charities reported to us", a spokesman said, explaining that individual charities would only be publicly identified when a "formal inquiry" was opened.

The commission raised concerns that Oxfam may not have fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time in 2011, its handling of the incidents since, and the impact that these have both had on public trust and confidence.

The Government has warned that no more United Kingdom aid cash will be given to charities unless they meet "tough new standards" put in place in the wake of the Oxfam scandal.

Of those, 26 charities have made serious incident reports to the Charity Commission, totalling 80 incidents "broadly related" to safeguarding issues and covering "a wide spectrum" of alleged incidents.

These are also being assessed by the taskforce.

Speaking to delegates, Ms Mordaunt told charities to take action to restore trust and improve standards following the sex scandal which engulfed the sector.

It has been more than three weeks since it emerged Oxfam workers delivering aid after the 2010 Haiti natural disaster had paid for sex.

The sector has been further rocked by allegations that women in Syria have been exploited by men delivering aid for charities and United Nations agencies.

Ms Mordaunt said: My message to those who have sought to exploit this sector and the human tragedy in which it operates, is this - we will all share information we have with law enforcement. We will bring you to justice. Your time is up. "Across the returns, we saw important examples of good practice, but overall, there was 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".

'Our standards will be world-leading. "They will be tough and exacting", Mordaunt said. Organisations should not bid for new funding unless they are prepared to meet these tough new standards. New funds to organisations will not be approved unless they pass the new standards.

Oxfam, which received £31.7m from the Government previous year, has announced it will not bid for any new Government contracts in the wake of its scandal.

This could include conducting safeguarding reviews, offering guidance and support to organisations, and a deployable team of experts on sexual exploitation and abuse who can advise organisations on the ground.

"We will find you".

DFID's beefed-up standards aim to ensure better protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people.

"In some cases, your own staff and volunteers were taken advantage of by those in positions of trust and power", she said.

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