Penny Mordaunt demands action on sexual exploitation at crunch charities summit
Penny Mordaunt has said a summit of major charities organised in the wake of the Oxfam sex scandal is a “crucial moment” to drive up standards across the aid sector.
The meeting, held by the Department for International Development (Dfid) and the Charity Commission today, will see regulators and experts join Oxfam and other NGOs as part of a bid to restore public trust after the sex scandal which engulfed the sector.
The International Development Secretary has asked delegates to come up with measures to ensure whistleblowers and victims of exploitation are given support.
The group will also discuss measures on changing the culture to tackle power imbalances, encourage the reporting of abuse and take allegations more seriously.
They have also been asked to establish an independent body to improve standards and scrutiny and to implement new standards of vetting and referencing between charities.
Addressing the summit in London, Ms Mordaunt will say: “Now is the time for action. The aid sector needs to ensure it is meeting its duty of care to the world’s most vulnerable people.
“It needs to be honest about past mistakes. It must do all it can to win back the trust of the British public.
“This summit is a crucial moment to learn lessons from the past and drive up standards across the sector.
“Today, we begin taking the practical steps to ensure the safety of the people we help is always our first priority and that the British aid sector sets the standard for the rest of the world to follow.”
Baroness Stowell of Beeston, the newly appointed chairwoman of the Charity Commission, said the regulator would work closely with charities.
“However noble the cause, it will never justify means which fall below basic standards of conduct expected of any organisation," she said.
“And if we are to restore public trust and the nation’s pride in what charities achieve, we have to show that’s what we understand.”