The Charity Commission’s (CC) inquiry into Oxfam GB was published on 10 June 2019, and having analysed the report, whilst many of our clients are not in the charitable sector, many of the findings have common read across to international development sector companies given their activities. The CC described Oxfam as “operating internationally, across multiple legal jurisdictions and cultural contexts and in the midst of humanitarian crisis”, and the same descriptions can be applied to most businesses in our sector. This will no doubt give clear implications as to how the development sector should conduct itself. The wider points from the inquiry are as follows:
• Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities.
• Protecting people from harm is not an overhead to be minimised.
• Failure to take reasonable steps to protect people cannot be excused by the difficult context a charity is working in, nor can incidents of harm be justified in relation to the importance of the cause.
• An effective culture of keeping people safe identifies, deters and tackles behaviours which minimise or ignore harm to people.
By embracing a comprehensive security risk management program, you can clearly demonstrate you are more than ready to fulfil the expectations set out in the above report, that will no doubt be cascaded down from the foreign aid donor community to their suppliers in the coming months.
To read a copy of the full report, click here.
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