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Safeguarding in Edmund Rice Development Projects

Posted on 15 June 2022

At ERD we are committed working with our partners to ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults from abuse, harm and exploitation. In 2021, we revised our Safeguarding Policy for partner projects. ERD Safeguarding Officer Naidi McDonnell used the opportunity to clarify compliance requirements while also aligning ERD’s policy as much as possible with the policies of ERFA and Misean Cara, two of our funding partners. In order to ensure projects have the highest possible safeguarding standards, in early 2022 ERD completed an assessment of the policies and practices of 12 partner projects.

Working with a consultant Rosemary Heenan, we developed a user-friendly safeguarding assessment framework. The framework consists of a self-audit tool, which assesses the safeguarding capacity of projects in the four internationally recognised safeguarding standards: Policy, People, Procedures and Accountability. The tool allows areas of strength and weakness to be identified and a visual summary of the results is produced (example below). The tool also contains a risk assessment to identify safeguarding risks present, and assess how the project’s systems mitigate these risks.

Screenshot 2022 06 14 at 12.24.48Between February and April 2022, each of the projects were assessed using the framework. Following an initial review of the project safeguarding documentation, project teams were interviewed via Zoom, using the safeguarding assessment tool to guide the interview. All 12 projects achieved an acceptable standard of safeguarding and five projects achieved exemplary status. The highest scoring across all projects was for the Accountability Standard, while projects tended to score lower for written policies. However, in the majority of projects we found that actual practice was stronger than what was outlined in the policies. The Western Cluster project in Zambia in particular was commended for quality and innovative Safeguarding practice. We look forward to working with the projects in 2022 to assist them in addressing any gaps in policies and procedures to further strengthen safeguarding across Edmund Rice Mission.