Age International is taking a range of actions to reinforce our commitment to safeguarding.
On 5 March, Age International attended, along with other UK international development charities, regulatory bodies, and safeguarding experts, a Safeguarding Summit which was hosted By the UK Government’s Department for International Development and the Charity Commission.
The Summit addressed the safeguarding prevention and response failures that have led to sexual exploitation and abuse within the UK international development sector.
Age International added its support to the following statement that was drawn up in the light of the discussions during the Summit:
We commit to always putting beneficiaries first, to concrete steps to improve the effectiveness of safeguards, to meet our duties and responsibilities and to lead a system-wide process of improving standards and restoring trust.
We commit to improving the standards and delivery of safeguards, including a culture of zero tolerance to sexual exploitation and abuse in all we do.
Taking a range of actions to ensure safety and wellbeing
Age International is taking a range of actions to reinforce our commitment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone who comes into contact with the charity, whether beneficiaries, staff or volunteers.
We aim to review and improve our systems, policies and organisational culture related to safeguarding, in the light of recent events in the international development sector:
- The Board and staff will work together to review our organisational culture and values. We will develop a new statement of values, and will develop new ways of monitoring and reporting how culture and values are being expressed in the life and work of the organisation (by October 2018).
- New codes of conduct for trustees and staff will be drawn up to reflect the new statements on culture and values (by October 2018).
- The Board will review, revise and adopt up-dated Safeguarding and Whistleblowing policies (by May 2018) and our Protection policy (by October 2018).
- All staff will complete a new training module on Safeguarding (by May 2018).
- Age International will use its oversight and accountability for work funded by or through Age International to achieve the highest possible safeguarding standards, and will conduct a review of its assurance and accountability processes (by October 2018).
- As the UK member of the global HelpAge network, we will work closely with HelpAge and network members and partners to support the raising of safeguarding standards throughout the network through advice and information sharing.
- Age International will commission an independent audit of the above actions, and of the implementation of its accountability and assurance processes (end of financial year 2018/19).
In addition to the above actions, Age International will seek to learn from and contribute to sector-wide work to strengthen safeguarding, including work done by working groups that will report to a Safeguarding Conference in the Autumn of 2018.