2018 Safeguarding Update

2018 Safeguarding Update


This note summarises the progress that has been made by organisations and donors to transform safeguarding practice and therefore reduce the risk of abuse being perpetrated in the international aid and development sectors, since the outbreak of media coverage of the issue in mid-February 2018.  The note is neither comprehensive nor complete, but is intended as a useful milestone to mark what has been achieved, and what might come next, as we reach the end of a year where safeguarding has been under particular scrutiny and development.


Scotland’s International Development Alliance (the Alliance)

The Alliance has held a series of information days and training events on safeguarding, and have been researching and collecting the resources on safeguarding and whistleblowing which we find the most useful.  These have been made available on the resources section of our website.  Presentations are also available including from the Head of Programmes at SCIAF, the Head of Safeguarding at Unicef UK and the Director of Whistleblowing International.

A package of safeguarding support services has been developed (see paragraph below for the background) by the Alliance’s Effectiveness & Learning Manager, which was introduced with delegates at the Annual Conference in September 2018 and is currently being trialled.  Draft documents are available here.


The Scottish Government (SG)

The SG published a statement on safeguarding in March and amended its grant conditions.   It requires grantees to have robust safeguarding policies in place and to have carried out due diligence of overseas partners in this regard.  A one-off grant of £20,000 was made to the Alliance.  This was to support its development of services dedicated to responding to the challenges faced by members in meeting new requirements and building positive safeguarding cultures in their organisations.

The Alliance, supported by the SG, developed and circulated a survey of the international aid and develop sectors to investigate capacity building needs. Survey responses showed that larger organisations mostly had well developed safeguarding policies, but that many smaller organisations were only at early stages of formalising their approaches to safeguarding.  A summary of the survey report is available here.  The analysis has been used to guide the Alliance in the development of a package of safeguarding support services relevant to meeting the needs of its members, including a Safeguarding Policy Development Template.

In order to strengthen the safeguarding practices and policies of in country partners, the SG funded the participation of the Alliance Effectiveness & Learning Manager in the Malawi and Scotland Partnership (MASP) conference in Lilongwe in September.  She led workshops as part of the event at which current safeguarding practices were identified and discussions initiated on how best to further build good practice, relevant to the context in Malawi.

The SG has encouraged applicants to its Small Grants programme, open until 16 November, to apply for capacity building grants if they need help to fund the development of their (or their partners’) safeguarding policies.


Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

OSCR is the regulatory body for all charities working in Scotland, both for those whose objectives are national and for those whose objectives are international.  In May OSCR published guidance on  safeguarding which can be found here.

The Alliance is working in close collaboration with OSCR and the SG to ensure optimal approach in Scotland to developing best practices in safeguarding.



The Alliance has been working closely with its London-based sister agency, Bond, as it responds to challenges on a UK level and works with its members to help improve safeguarding practices. The Alliance Effectiveness & Learning Manager joined one of the four working groups convened by Bond, each with a remit to identify and tackle gaps in policies and procedures and make recommendations on how to address them. 

Bond has led on co-ordinating responses from the aid and development sectors to the challenges issued by the Department for International Development (DfID) at its safeguarding summit meeting in March and  again in October 2018.

The Alliance was represented at both events, contributed to planning for the October event and endorsed the commitments made. 

The Effectiveness & Learning Manager maintains ongoing contact with the equivalent post-holder at Bond to ensure relevant information is shared and that resources developed are complementary.



At the October summit, The Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt MP announced a range of measures to be introduced by the UK Government. 

Of particular interest to the Alliance is the establishment of DFID’s new Resource and Support Hub. 


Next Steps

The Alliance is now finalising its package of safeguarding support services.  It is investigating the feasibility and affordability of digitising the package.  The completed package will be launched at the Alliance AGM on 5 December in Glasgow.

The Alliance will develop training sessions on safeguarding for board members which will be rolled out 2018/2019. 

The Alliance, Scotland Malawi Partnership, MASP and the SG will continue to work together to establish the best means of taking forward plans to support the development of safeguarding policies and procedures in Malawi, and be useful to organisations working in other countries.

Contact has been established between the Alliance and staff from DfID’s safeguarding team and we expect a meeting date later this month.

A safeguarding working group will be set up, with terms of reference similar to our current MEL and Leave No-One Behind working groups.