Safeguard-Me Blog

Safeguard-Me and Bond: Helping NGOs overcome their safe recruitment challenges.

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office recently announced that the Aid Worker Registration Scheme (AWRS) project would be “paused” due to resourcing restrictions.
Meanwhile, other organisations are doing all they can to support the sector with safer recruitment within NGOs and beyond. The AWRS proposed to provide an accurate work history which would be linked to a person’s identity in a multiagency approach.
Bond has been listening to our member’s feedback on their safer recruitment challenges and discussing with Safeguard-Me how these can be overcome with the use of technology to ensure organisations’ workforces are checked, safe and ready.

What is working well for Bond member organisations?

  • Many have joined the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS) – members say it both supports with safer recruitment and deters perpetrators from applying.
  • MDS works well when references that are received are complete.
  • Securely storing safeguarding data on employees.
  • Staff resourcing in place to support with Safer Recruitment.
  • Advertising that they conduct checks as part of the recruitment process.
  • Providing training to hiring managers on Safer Recruitment.

What challenges are members facing with safe recruitment?

  • Referencing can be hard to obtain, unreliable, slow and only provides basic employment data.
  • Lack of availability of criminal checks in some contexts.
  • The inability to obtain checks for national staff in countries without a co-ordinated disclosure system, or where police records are poor or not kept at all.
  • They are not carried out in a timely enough manner in emergency responses.
  • The requirement to complete many different checks on each aid worker proving costly.
  • Various private sector organisations suggesting that they can provide more information than they can.
We know from the 2022 Bond Safeguarding Survey that Bond members have been making progress with adapting their Safer Recruitment methods, but it is clear that many organisations still need support with Safer Recruitment.

What are recruiters saying about recruitment in the UK?

Sources from Reed, LinkedIn and Workforce say:
  • The recruitment process in the UK is the slowest of all European countries.
  • 85% of recruiters believe that technology will replace some parts of the hiring process.
  • 94% of hiring professionals say that using recruitment software has positively impacted the hiring process.

The Safeguard-Me Proposal

Safer recruitment is a primary responsibility for every organisation. But current processes can be frustrating, borne from lengthy time scales, manual document checking, lack of timely data sharing and a multitude of paper-based processes.
In a sector where it is crucial to recruit, onboard and deploy quickly, these challenges are often magnified, leading to a play-off between speed and compliance when mobilising a workforce to crisis situations.
This needn’t be the case. Safe recruitment technology drives efficiencies, speeding up the time to hire, reducing fraud, protecting rights and increasing transparency.
The FCDO has deemed Safeguard-Me as a viable alternative to the AWRS. The technology produces a ‘Safeguard-Me Passport’ for each employee or volunteer which provides organisations with a simple to use system to deter, identify and reject unsuitable individuals.
Their technology creates a unique collaborative process between the employer and employee, speeding up the hiring process, reducing administrative burden and duplication, increasing both efficiency and compliance. This would create a transparent, accountable, and scalable system, which could be standardised across the sector.
Investigating integration and data-sharing opportunities with existing “employment cycle” initiatives, including the Misconduct Disclosure Scheme, Project Soteria and the Aid Worker Registration Scheme (AWRS), Safeguard-Me aims to create a robust safe recruitment tool, specifically tailored for the international aid sector.
This will create a network of employees and volunteers that can be hired or re-hired faster, fairer and safer, creating a unified sector in its approach to adopting the very highest of safe recruitment standards.

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