Save the Children offers to suspend bidding for new funding from DFID
The chief executive of Save the Children UK, Kevin Watkins, announced today that the charity has volunteered to withdraw temporarily from bids for new funding from the Department for International Development. The offer, which has been accepted by Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, follows the launch of a Charity Commission inquiry into the handling of sexual harassment allegations against two senior Save the Children executives in 2012 and 2015.
Mr Watkins said the suspension of bids would last until the Secretary of State was satisfied that the charity was upholding the standards expected by DFID. “While I greatly regret both the circumstances that have brought us to this juncture and the consequences for children, I fully recognise our responsibility to meet the high standards that you rightly expect,” he said in a letter to Ms Mordaunt.
“I want to underscore how seriously we take the sexual harassment cases reported at our headquarters in 2012 and 2015. We are cooperating fully with the Charity Commission’s inquiry to ensure that a complete and truthful account of these cases emerges. I speak for everyone at Save the Children when I say that we are absolutely committed to building back trust in our organisation – from the children and communities that we serve, to our donors and supporters and UK taxpayers.”
Mr Watkins emphasised that the charity would continue its fight for children in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous environments: “At a time when so many children are being robbed of their futures by poverty, preventable disease, hunger and war, it is more vital than ever that we stand by their side.”
Notes to Editors
1. The current portfolio of ongoing DFID-funded programmes at Save the Children is not affected.
2. Save the Children reached 56 million children directly last year – around 7 million of them through programmes funded by UK Aid.
International development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
“Following the launch of a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, Save the Children UK has decided to withdraw from bidding for new UK Government funding until DFID is satisfied that they can meet the high standards we expect of all our partners.
“I am committed to driving up standards across the aid sector and I expect every organisation that we work with to have rigorous reporting and complaints mechanisms in place to protect beneficiaries and employees alike.”