Department for International Development: Sexual Harassment

Department for International Development written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what policies her Department has in place for its staff to report sexual harrassment and other non-consensual sexual behaviour; how many of her Department's staff have been reported for sexual harrassment and other non-consensual sexual activity in (a) 2015, (b) 2016 and (c) 2017; in how many cases such reports have led to the suspension, demotion or sacking of the staff in question; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

An error has been identified in the written answer given on 26 February 2018.

The correct answer should have been:

All DFID staff are bound by both the Civil Service Code and DFID’s Code of Conduct, which set clear standards of conduct to protect all staff and anyone the organisation has contact with. These codes are well publicised to staff and cover any form of sexual exploitation and abuse, bullying, or harassment of staff, partners or beneficiaries and make clear that staff should not do anything in their private conduct which might discredit the department. DFID has mechanisms to allow staff raising concerns with management along with a distinct whistleblowing hotline which staff can use anonymously to report cases. A breach of any of the standards set out in our Code of Conduct can lead to formal disciplinary action and potential dismissal for gross misconduct.

As previously announced by the Secretary of State, DFID is currently reviewing any locally reported allegations of sexual misconduct involving its own staff. This will complete shortly and therefore we are not currently in a position to share the detail of any cases.

DFID’s Dignity at Work policy confirms that DFID is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for our staff and will not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation of employees, this includes sexual harassment and other non-consensual sexual activity. The policy applies to all staff and includes personal responsibilities to create and sustain a working environment free of bullying and harassment where individuals are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. The policy also makes clear how staff should report any concerns.

DFID’s standards of conduct set out the ethical behaviours and controls required in our day to day work to incorporate the key principles based on the UN’s code on sexual exploitation and abuse in Humanitarian crises. DFID’s Public Interest Disclosure Policy (Whistleblowing) also allows staff and others to raise concerns anonymously to a confidential Email address.

The number of staff formally reported for sexual harassment in the last three years is:

2015 - nil

2016 - nil

2017 - under five.

The key policy documents referred to above have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

All DFID staff are bound by both the Civil Service Code and DFID’s Code of Conduct, which set clear standards of conduct to protect all staff and anyone the organisation has contact with. These codes are well publicised to staff and cover any form of sexual exploitation and abuse, bullying, or harassment of staff, partners or beneficiaries and make clear that staff should not do anything in their private conduct which might discredit the department. DFID has mechanisms to allow staff raising concerns with management along with a distinct whistleblowing hotline which staff can use anonymously to report cases. A breach of any of the standards set out in our Code of Conduct can lead to formal disciplinary action and potential dismissal for gross misconduct.

As previously announced by the Secretary of State, DFID is currently reviewing any locally reported allegations of sexual misconduct involving its own staff. This will complete shortly and therefore we are not currently in a position to share the detail of any cases.

DFID’s Dignity at Work policy confirms that DFID is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for our staff and will not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation of employees, this includes sexual harassment and other non-consensual sexual activity. The policy applies to all staff and includes personal responsibilities to create and sustain a working environment free of bullying and harassment where individuals are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. The policy also makes clear how staff should report any concerns.

DFID’s standards of conduct set out the ethical behaviours and controls required in our day to day work to incorporate the key principles based on the UN’s code on sexual exploitation and abuse in Humanitarian crises. DFID’s Public Interest Disclosure Policy (Whistleblowing) also allows staff and others to raise concerns anonymously to a confidential Email address.

The number of staff formally reported for sexual harassment in the last three years is:

2015 - nil

2016 - nil

2017 - under five.

The key policy documents referred to above have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.