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Safeguarding: UK Context and Beyond

Scotland’s International Development Alliance is part of a large international movement to transform safeguarding standards in the sector, and collaborating with others is key to ensuring we set our standards high, that we are consistent and that we hold each other to account.

Read the International Development Committee’s report on Progress on tackling the sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries, January 2021. Here are some of the key contributors making big changes to the way we take safeguarding forwards:

  • Bond: As the UK network for organisations working in international development, Bond leads the way in representing those working in the sector in the UK, and provides a wide range of safeguarding resources, guidance, training and networking opportunities.
  • FCDO Safeguarding Unit: Since 2018, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (previously DFID) has developed safeguarding standards, commitments, dedicated activities and guidance, as well as increased its safeguarding specific demands as a donor. 
  • Safeguarding Resources & Support Hub: As one of the FCDO’s (then DFID) main commitments emerging from the 2018 conferences, the Hub was established in May 2020. The Hub provides guidance, tools and research, and signposts quality-assured safeguarding support. This includes country-specific Hubs in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan. 

Global Principles and Standards

As part of the drive to create safer organisations, there are now a range of set principles and standards recognised globally which can be used to assess, check your actions, and plan what changes you need to implement. You will need to have a good look at the following to choose which suits your needs, depending on the size, the nature of your organisation and its activities, and possibly depending on demands from specific donors.   

Legislative Context

Safeguarding policies and procedures must be grounded in the legislation and policy framework of the country an organisation is registered or based in. In Scotland the following policies, legislation and guidance apply:  

  1. The Human Rights Act 1998 
  2. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (pdf) 
  3. The Children Act 1989 
  4. The Children Act 2004 
  5. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 
  6. The Data Protection Act 1998 
  7. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 
  8. The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
  9. The Equality Act 2010 
  10. The Care Standards Act 2000 
  11. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 
  12. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 
  13. The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 
  14. Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2016 
  15. The Care Act 2014
  16. UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill

Where work is implemented in an overseas country, it is essential to undertake an analysis of the legislative and policy environment of the country.

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