Working Overseas Policy

Operation International medical volunteers helping children

Operation International UK Working Overseas Policy


The working Overseas Policy codifies OIUK's approach to identifying and managing risks, handling money safely, and protecting volunteers, local staff,and patients when on an international mission.

Risks: Identification, Assessment and Management

Personal Safety & Security Risks

Volunteers may be at risk of mugging, theft, violent & sexual crimes. The CIO trustees will do the following:

  • Follow travel advisory notices for recipient hospital country.
  • Work with local hospital to assess risks and organise secure travel and accommodation.
  • Brief volunteers on basic security considerations.
  • Ensure adequate travel insurance.

Resources and Escalation Channels:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Metropolitan Police Force

Local Police Forces

Terrorism Risks

Volunteers may be wittingly or unwittingly interact with terrorist groups overseas.

Terrorist activity may occur in countries overseas where missions are occurring.

The CIO trustees will:

  • Ensure volunteers have up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)  checks
  • Check professional medical and nursing registration and references.
  • Review country travel advisory notices on terrorism threats.
Resources and Escalation Channels

Disclosure and Barring Service


Metropolitan Police Force

Local Police Forces

Money Laundering Risks

The CIO may be wittingly or unwittingly receive or distribute funds from money laundering activities.

Internal volunteers and trustees of the CIO will be screened using public websites and DBS checks for any AML hits or prosecutions.

The majority of individual donations will be coming from the UK which has a low Money Laundering country risk rating.

Foundation Funds:

If a UK registered foundation - the CIO trustees will research the foundation on the UK Charities Commission website and the other publically accessible websites for details of major donors, countries of operation, activities, and affiliations.

For any foundations registered outside of the UK - the CIO trustees will ask the foundations for details of their anti-money laundering (AML) policy, and if the foundation has one main donor – CIO trustees will perform a search of public records for any AML hits.

Resources and Escalation Channels

UK Charities Commission

Metropolitan Police Force

Local Police Forces

Risks of theft of CIO funds or equipment

Funds and equipment purchased by the CIO may be lost or stolen while in transit from source to the recipient hospital, or from the hospital

The CIO trustees will use assured shipment services for the transfer of equipment from home destination to the recipient hospital overseas.

Once in the recipient hospital, equipment exclusively reserved for Operation International missions is kept in a secured location and the CIO trustees will work with hospital administrators to ensure inventory is protected for appropriate patient use.

The CIO trustees will only use widely recognised money transfer agents such as UK FCA regulated retail banks to transfer funds form the home country to the overseas recipient hospital. These funds will be nominal and be used to purchase medical supplies only. The recipient hospital will be required to provide receipts of purchases which will be documented as part of the CIO’s annual financial reporting.

Resources and Escalation Channels

FCA regulated banks for money transfers

Metropolitan Police Force

Local Police Forces

UK Charities Commission

Risks of harm to vulnerable patients

Patients, families and volunteers are potentially at risk from the services performed by the medical volunteers of OIUK.

The trustees have put together a safeguarding procedure that outlines how risks are identified, mitigated, reported and handled, escalated and monitored.

OI UK Safeguarding policy and Safeguarding Lead.

General Medical Council (UK), Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK), Metropolitan Police Force, Local Police Forces

Risk of Failure to adhere to local rules and laws

Volunteers from OI are predominantly from countries outside the country of the host hospital.

Volunteers may wittingly or unwittingly fail to adhere to local policies, rules and laws.

Each mission is organised in close partnership with the hospital administrators. The CIO will work with the administrators to inform volunteers about key differences in local regulations and laws, act on failures to comply, and report and escalate as appropriate.

Resources and Escalation Channels

Hospital Administrators Safeguarding Lead.

General Medical Council (UK), Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK), Metropolitan Police Force, Local Police Forces

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