Safeguarding Policy

Operation International medical volunteers helping children

Operation International UK Safeguarding Policy


OI UK will ensure activities are carried out in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, with the safety and welfare of all individuals that interact with OI UK at its core. Safeguarding is often not "black and white" and people will need support to make the right judgement call. However, some general principles apply when a staff member or volunteer is responding to a safeguarding concern. Trustees should promote a fair, open and positive culture and ensure all involved feel able to report concerns, confident that they will be heard and responded to. The following policy outlines the types of safeguarding risks that OI UK may face, how mitigate these risks, and how to report, act on, report and escalate any safeguarding incidents if they arise.

The Safeguarding Lead

One trustee, normally the chairperson, takes the role of Safeguarding Lead. The Safeguarding lead is the designated person responsible for Safeguarding at OI UK. However all trustees have an awareness of safeguarding and lead by example. This means showing commitment safe conduct and making safeguarding an integral part of all fundraising and mission planning.

Trustees should model best practice in relation to:

  • Safeguarding
  • Bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Good record-keeping
  • Creating a supportive atmosphere where people feel able to report concerns
  • Listening to staff and volunteers.

Types of Risks

OI UK, its volunteers and donor recipients may be exposed to the following risks

  • Sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation
  • Criminal exploitation
  • Negligent treatment
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Bullying or harassment
  • Health and safety
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Discrimination on any of the grounds in the Equality Act 2010
  • People may target your charity
  • A charity’s culture may allow poor behaviour and poor accountability
  • People may abuse a position of trust they hold within a charity
  • Data breaches, including those under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Safeguarding – Risk Reduction, Recognise, Respond and Report

Risk Reduction

Making sure the people who work or volunteer for OI UK are suitable to do so OI UK will leverage the safeguarding training that UK registered medical and nursing practitioners undergo, as well as the GMC and NMC registration requirements for good clinical practice. Volunteers will attest that they are licensed to practice, and have completed safeguarding training within the last 24 months in the OI UK application form. OI UK will also verify GMCNMC registration where applicable, and require references form current or prior employers.

All volunteers are obliged to read this OI UK safeguarding policy prior to any missions.


If someone raises a concern about a child’s/adult’s wellbeing

If safeguarding issue is raised:

OI UK will encourage the person reporting incident to be frank, and write a clear statement of what is reported. OI UK will ask for their consent to share information but must share the report even without consent, if safeguarding issue warrants it. Similarly OI UK will not promise confidentiality if safeguarding issue. This report will be immediately escalated to the designated Safeguarding Lead

Response: How to respond to concerns or allegations of harm that may have happened

Ensuring patient/volunteer safety is the primary consideration – the Safeguarding Lead will consider the situation and take appropriate steps to ensure immediate patient safety. E.g. remove person from clinical environment.

Report: Investigate the Incident

The Safeguarding Lead will take sensible steps to investigate the report and remedy any issues found.

A thorough report must be documented which details the initial report, findings, and the plan implemented (if applicable).

Escalate as necessary.

The Safeguarding Lead will raise any relevant issues in the end-of-mission debrief with the donor hospital staff. At this debrief a handover of clinical care, any morbidity or mortality events and any incidents with lessons learnt will be discussed.

As appropriate, the Safeguarding Lead will report any incidents to the General Medical Council (UK),

Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK), the Metropolitan Police Force, or Local Police Forces.

Serious incidents will be reported to the Operational International board, and to the charities commission as art of the annual report. A serious incidents is an adverse event, whether actual or alleged, which results in or risks significant:

  • Harm to beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with your charity through its work (who are collectively referred to throughout this guidance as people who come into contact with your charity through its work)
  • Loss of money or assets
  • Damage to property
  • Harm to OI UK’s work or reputation

Everyone involved with in OI UK is responsible for ensuring OIUK operates safely, with patient welfare at it’s heart

We must all stand up for people who can’t speak up for themselves.

Speaking up if you’re worried someone is harming or abusing someone else is always the right thing to do.

People are often worried that if they report someone for doing wrong, they’ll hurt that person. But doing nothing could hurt others even more.

There are many reasons why people might feel uncomfortable or be scared to report suspicions of abuse. That’s ok. It’s worth fighting those fears so you can help someone.

If you speak up, OI UK will take all the steps necessary to protect you and make sure you’re not harmed or criticised for it.

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