BBC Media Action's commitment to safeguarding

Richard Lace, Director of Programmes, is the Designated Safeguarding Officer with overall responsibility for safeguarding at BBC Media Action. George Ferguson is the Head of Safeguarding and Ethics responsible for developing safeguarding capacity within the organisation. If you have a concern about anyone or anything relating to a BBC Media Action project, please email reportingconcerns@bbcmediaaction.org.

If you are working on or in involved with a FCDO-funded project, you can report suspicions or allegations of safeguarding contraventions as well as aid diversion, fraud, money laundering or counter terrorism finance to FCDO's Counter Fraud and Whistleblowing Unit at reportingconcerns@fcdo.gov.uk or +44 (0) 1355 843747.

BBC Media Action's commitment to safeguarding

Media scrutiny into charity safeguarding practice has continued, and so has sector-wide action to ensure that vulnerable people with whom we work are protected from exploitation and abuse, through stronger policies and practice.

We are working to do more and to do better, across our own organisation and across the sector, including through Bond (the UK network for international development organisations).

Our Director of Programmes is our designated Safeguarding Officer at senior management level, and our Head of Safeguarding and Ethics works with country offices to ensure policies and appropriate training are meaningful for staff, and with partner organisations to improve knowledge and performance in this area.

BBC Media Action has continued to ensure staff are trained and implementing our strengthened policies to protect children and vulnerable adults whom we come into contact with in our work.

Training courses in Safeguarding and Respect at Work are mandatory for all staff and freelancers. 

Safeguarding is reviewed and discussed at every Trustee meeting, as well as on Management Team monthly meetings. Reported concerns are thoroughly investigated, with any disciplinary actions made in accordance with BBC HR policies. Trustees report incidents as required to the Charity Commission.

All these measures are designed to help keep staff, partners, and contributors safe. They are also designed to ensure everyone working for BBC Media Action understands expectations for behaviour, knows any concerns will be taken seriously, and that those who come forward will be supported.

BBC Media Action is a member of Bond and supports their statement issued on 13 February 2018 in response to concerns about safeguarding in the international development sector.

Joint letter from 22 charities: 22 February 2018

Bond Press Release: 13 February 2018

Our statement on safeguarding - 6 March 2018:

Like other charities, we have been asked by DFID to provide assurances about our safeguarding and disciplinary policies and procedures. We have responded giving those assurances.

We have been clear that anyone working for BBC Media Action must behave to the highest standards and respect beneficiaries, partners and colleagues. 

Values of trust and respect are central to BBC Media Action’s ethos and we expect everyone to demonstrate them in all they do. We will – and do - take action through our well-established disciplinary processes if staff behave inappropriately.

The overwhelming majority of our staff deliver their work every day across 14 countries with the utmost integrity. Equally we have to be open and honest if anything does go wrong.

We have now reviewed all cases in the last ten years involving or potentially involving sexual misconduct. All were investigated at the time and we are not aware of any child protection issues. 

Formal disciplinary action was taken in five cases: two people were dismissed for sexual harassment; four for watching pornography on work computers; and one person was given a final warning for sexual misconduct and subsequently resigned.  

In a further five cases, alleged sexual misconduct was investigated but did not result in disciplinary action. 

Four of these cases – which trustees did not consider reportable at the time - have now been referred to the Charity Commission in the interests of full transparency.

Our staff have been reminded of our safeguarding, child protection and whistle-blowing policies and procedures, and their responsibility to follow our Code of Conduct.

We will continue to examine our policies and processes around safeguarding and whistleblowing - and take action to strengthen them further wherever necessary.

We want to foster a culture where everyone working at BBC Media Action can recognise abuse, knows what they can do to help prevent it, and where anyone with an allegation is heard.

We are committed to working with our local partners in developing countries to ensure they take these issues as seriously as we do, and with the wider international development sector to pursue a set of actions designed to collectively achieve the highest standards of safeguarding.

Updated 6 March 2018