Oxfam agrees not to bid for UK government cash pending reform

19 Feb 18

Oxfam has agreed not to bid for any new UK government funding until it reforms after allegations of sexual misconduct by aid workers. 

The UK secretary for international development Penny Mordaunt  confirmed on Friday the charity would not get public money until her department was satisfied “that [Oxfam] can meet the high standards” expected of its partners. 

Oxfam said in a statement: “Given the public concern about last week’s revelations, we felt it right not to bid for any new UK government contracts at present.

“We appreciate the support of DfID [Department for International Development] and other donors that enables us to deliver life-saving changing work in countries from Bangladesh to Yemen.”

Modaunt explained in a statement, on Friday: “Following our discussions, Oxfam has agreed to withdraw from bidding for any new UK government funding until DfID is satisfied that they can meet the high standards we expect of our partners.”

She added: “My priority is to deliver for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, while keeping people safe from harm. We want to ensure that programmes we are already financially committed to are being delivered appropriately by Oxfam or any other DfID partner.”

A report in The Times revealed earlier this month that Oxfam aid workers in Haiti had resigned and been sacked following incidents of sexual exploitation, bullying and intimidation, which were not reported to the Charity Commission or the UK government.

The Times report found the charity has covered up the use of prostitutes by senior aid workers.

The UK government gave the charity more than £31m in funding in 2016-17.

Based on these figures, Oxfam could lose out on £87,000 a day, according to The Times.

Mordaunt said: “The UK government reserves the right to take whatever decisions about present or future funding to Oxfam, and any other organisation, that we deem necessary.

“We have been very clear that we will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection that we require.”

DfID launched a new initiative earlier this month to developing countries become more transparent and for programmes to improve accountability.

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