Almost 100 people dismissed from aid sector since safeguarding scandal began, minister says

Penny Mordaunt also pledges support for small aid charities to help them meet global development goals

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt

At least 91 people in the aid sector have been dismissed in relation to sexual exploitation and harassment allegations since the safeguarding scandal broke last year, the international development secretary has said.

Speaking in central London at the annual conference of the international development umbrella body Bond yesterday, Penny Mordaunt described the scandal as "watershed moment of shame" for the aid sector.

But she said the sector was "cleaning up its act" and beneficiaries were safer as a result of the actions taken by aid charities in the past year.

She also announced the extension of a pilot scheme that will provide an uncapped amount of funding for small aid charities to help them meet global development goals.

"We know of at least 91 staff who you fired out of the sector last year linked to sexual exploitation and abuse and harassment cases," Mordaunt told delegates.

"As a result of your efforts the sector is cleaning up its act. It has higher safeguarding standards, predatory individuals are being found and brought to justice, their ability to harm the people we serve is being closed off and the people we serve are safer."

But Mordaunt added that, lthough she was thanking aid organisations and acknowledging the progress made, she wanted to "reiterate that the job is not done – we must continue to work to ensure that those we serve are protected".

She said she wanted her department to have a relationship with aid charities that was more than that of a commissioner or contractor: she wanted it to be a catalyst for great partnerships between charities, public and private organisations.

But if it was to achieve this, she said, it must increase its engagement with small charities.

In February, the Department for International Development announced a pilot of its Small Charities Challenge Fund for charities working to meet the global development goals

Yesterday, Mordaunt announced that the fund would be launched in full in the summer, and would be "nimbler, easier to apply to, open and have a rolling application process".

"I’m so confident in the merits of such a course, that we will commit to expand the fund to meet demand," she said. "There will be no cap.

"If you meet the grade, if you represent the best of British, you will have the funds you need to deliver the global goals."

She also announced that DfID would give more than £3m of funding through the H2H Network, which provides products, services and technology to humanitarian organisations.

"We have world-class organisations, specialists in things like mapping and translation," she said. "The services they supply can often mean the difference between life and death.

"This funding will help them get on the ground more quickly and support the delivery of life-saving aid on the front line."

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