To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to (a) make employment in the aid sector a regulated activity and (b) bring disclosure and barring requirements in line with other professions that work with children and vulnerable adults.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of regulating employment in the aid sector.
Since early 2018 DFID has intensified work to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector. As part of that we have considered a wide range of potential measures, including the two proposed in the question. Neither of those would, however, cover employees of foreign organisations, many of whom help deliver UK funded programmes. Therefore, we believe there are alternative non-legislative mechanisms which better address this issue, such as those announced at the 18 October Safeguarding Summit. These include an Interpol pilot to improve background checks, provide advice to employers on international vetting and identify high-risk individuals; a new passport for aid workers to prove an individual’s identity and provide their vetting status; and a Disclosure of Misconduct scheme for the NGO sector to allow organisations to share information about an employee’s past misconduct. These tools are designed to work alongside existing mechanisms, such as DBS, and we are confident they will lead to tangible improvements in safeguarding standards and better protection of vulnerable adults and children in the aid sector.