Letter from DFID Minister on protection from secual ... - Parliament.uk

Nov 18, 2016 - Summit where this issue was brought to the Committee's attention. ... The UK will support full implementation of Security Council resolution ...
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~ ~ UK aid

Department for International Development

from the British people

Rory Stewart QBE MP Minister of State

Stephen Twigg MP Chair, International Development Committee House of Commons London SW1A OAA 18 November 2016

Dear Stephen

Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers

During the monthly Ministerial meeting on 13 July, the Committee raised the issue of NGO staff registers/background checks (following reports of NGO staff being implicated in rapes whilst working on development projects). Thank you for following this issue up, and sending summaries as requested by my predecessor, Sir Desmond Swayne, of the side-event at the World Humanitarian Summit where this issue was brought to the Committee's attention. These are important issues that DFID takes extremely seriously. As you rightly point out, the humanitarian and peace-keeping sector has acknowledged this as an issue and is actively seeking to make improvements to address the problem. We are working closely with them on the Accountability to Affected Populations work arising from the Grand Bargain agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit. DFID's safeguarding approach with the organisations it funds directly is to require that those organisations have adequate frameworks in place for working with vulnerable people. The duty of care for adequately vetting staff will, rightly, always lie with the employing organisation. DFID partners are subject to a rigorous due diligence framework which states that if the organisation works with children (up to 18 years old) or vulnerable adults, it should have in place controls, policies and procedures focused on keeping them safe. All UK Charities are also required to provide the Charity Commission with assurance that they have policies and practices in place to meet these duty of care requirements; importantly this includes having safeguarding procedures in place. DFID and the Charity Commission have information sharing agreements in place to flag concerns to each other. Partner's staff vetting processes should identify where individuals have criminal convictions for abuse, but we acknowledge that this can be more difficult when operating in contexts where records are not kept, or not made widely available. DFID, 22 Whitehall, London SW1A 2EG I www.gov.uk/dfid I +44 (0)20 7023 0000

DFID is currently reviewing its standard grant agreement wording, and as part of this we will consider how best to strengthen the requirements on our partners to notify DFID and take appropriate action where they identify credible suspicion or actual incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse in DFID funded programmes. New grant agreement wording will be in place by April 2017. Our view is that creating a DFID-held global register for aid workers is not a practical solution. For UK staff, a register would replicate the Disclosure and Barring Service checks already in place; and for non-UK staff, a register would be problematic to administer from a legal perspective, piecemeal and only cover those with convictions where those convictions could be verified . Additionally, as you recognise, much of this type of abuse goes un-recorded. The UK will continue to engage with the international system to raise awareness of safeguarding issues and push for better international standards and their implementation . We will also continue to work closely with the Charities Commission with regard to regulations and guidance for UK NGOs. Following on from the World Humanitarian Summit, DFID is currently working on a new humanitarian policy. This policy will include the following as objectives/targets within its roadmap: • The UK will support full implementation of Security Council resolution 2175 on the protection of humanitarian workers, resolution 2286 on the protection of medical personnel and humanitarian personnel and resolution 2272 on sexual exploitation and abuse. • The UK will continue to support the UN S