Hiveonline ApS Safeguarding Policy
Last Updated: 1st September 2023
- All employees of hiveonline Aps and its subsidiaries
- All Partner organizations
- All social-business undertakings
- All persons and groups volunteering for hiveonline
- All suppliers and service providers for hiveonline
Although we don’t directly work with children in our line of work, we often meet children and adults who are potentially at risk for various reasons. We aim to create a safe environment in which no child or adult will experience harm or exploitation during their contact with us.
We will, where reasonably practicable, both follow relevant EU, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and International laws and standards, as well as ensure local legal compliance.
This Policy sets out the broad framework and expectations relating to safeguarding children and adults. It articulates why safeguarding is important and the actions the organization will take to meet its responsibility when interacting with children and adults at risk.
Hiveonline actively promotes the well-being of children and adults at risk with a zero-tolerance to inaction approach to safeguarding.
The objectives of this policy are:
- to protect Children and Adults at risk from any kind of abuse or exploitation;
- to prevent Child and Adult abuse and exploitation by establishing clear rules of conduct for Employees and Hiveonlines partners;
- to raise awareness of risks in order to help to identify misconduct;
- to protect Employees and hiveonline’s partners from false or malicious accusations;
- to inform third parties and Project Participants about the conduct they can expect from Employees and Partners of hiveonline; and
- to express existing contractual obligations in clear terms.
The provision of this Policy apply to the following:
- The Executive board of hiveonline Aps and its subsidiaries and all the employees of hiveonline Aps [Including staff from subsidiaries], herein jointly referred to as employees, temporary personnel, interns, and contractors.
The Safeguarding policy must be acknowledged as binding on themselves, their board members and employees of the following:
- hiveonline Aps’ partner organizations ;
- Social-business undertakings in which hiveonline Aps is involved;
- Freelancers working for hiveonline on a contractual basis or otherwise;
- People and groups volunteering for hiveonline; [eg Field Officers volunteering with partner organizations to work on projects where hiveonline Aps is involved]
- Suppliers and service providers for hiveonline Aps
- Project Participants: Target groups [beneficiaries] of programmes and projects implemented by hiveonline Aps, and/or its subsidiaries or partner organizations; members of the communities in which hiveonline Aps and its partner organizations are active; and anyone who is participating in projects where hiveonline Aps or its subsidiaries are active.
- Partner Organizations: All local, nationals and international cooperation partners who have signed a memorandum of understanding [MoU], a partnership agreement, or any agreement that is binding with hiveonline Aps or its subsidiaries. This includes and is not limited to; CBOs, NGOs, Off Takers, Financial Institutions and Government Agencies
3. Definition of Terms
In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)1, 1989, under the Policy a child is defined as anyone who has not reached their 18th birthday. Although this might be different following the national laws of the different countries where hiveonline Aps and its subsidiaries operate, work with, hiveonline Aps follows the definition as set out in the international law of the Convention on the rights of the child.
3. 2 Adult at risk
Any individual aged 18 years and above and is unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm, exploitation or neglect; or are understood to be at risk, which may be due to frailty, homelessness, mental or physical health problems, learning or physical impairments, and/or impacted by disasters or conflicts.
3. 3 Staff
The term staff applies to all those working in an individual capacity with hiveonline, irrespective of the contract used. This includes paid and unpaid staff and volunteers engaged on a one-off, short- or long-term basis. It also covers consultants and contracted temporary personnel.
3.4 Partners, Suppliers & Contractors
The terms ‘partners, suppliers and contractors’ refer to all those who hiveonline has a contract or agreement with to provide goods, services or collaboration. There may be a financial or alternative benefit, but this is not essential. It includes implementing partners who carry out work behalf of hiveonline and other stakeholders with whom hiveonline may establish a working relationship, such as Ministries and Donors/Funders, NGO’s etc
Safeguarding’ specifically refers to the protection of children and adults from abuse or harm.
3.6 Child Abuse
hiveonline uses the definition of abuse endorsed by the World Health Organization: ‘Child abuse’ or ‘maltreatment’ constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
3.7 Adult Safeguarding
Safeguarding adults means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organizations working together to both prevent and respond to risks and experiences of abuse or neglect while at the same time making sure the adult’s well-being is promoted, including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding any action. Safeguarding adults at risk involves reducing or preventing the risk of significant harm in relation to neglect or abuse while also supporting people to maintain control of their own lives.
4. Rules of Conduct
hiveonline has a zero-tolerance inaction approach to safeguarding. This policy is mandatory and must be applied in all situations where hiveonline, or our partners, work. Hiveonline is therefore committed to;
- selecting its Employees and Contributors with great care by conducting background checks;
- educating its Employees through appropriate measures (e.g. training sessions);
- offering various channels for Employees, Project Participants, and third parties to report any suspicions;
- taking measures to protect survivors;
- following up on any reported suspicions of Child Abuse or Exploitation promptly and proportionately. The type and scope of support will be established on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the Executive Board.
4.1 Information and Training
In order to ensure the effective implementation of the Safeguarding Policy into action, following appointment, all staff, partners and contractors will be given training on our Safeguarding Policy. While hiveonline has a responsibility to ensure training and education is provided in accordance with the Policy, all staff have individual responsibility for accessing and participating in such training.
All staff will be provided with a copy of the Safeguarding Policy.
4.2 Preventative Actions
The key to safeguarding is abuse prevention. It is widely recognised that organizational awareness and good practice can promote positive staff actions, reduce opportunities for offending and enable earlier detection and response to safeguarding concerns. Design, development and delivery of programmes and projects that have not appropriately and proactively assessed safeguarding risk can negatively impact children and adults who may directly or indirectly be harmed as a result of our activities.
4.3 No sexual relations with children and project participants
Hiveonline takes a clear stance against sexual relationships with Children. Hiveonline employees are strictly prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with Project Participants, including Children (defined by the UNCRC as under 18 years of age). In addition, hiveonline does not tolerate any sexual relationship between an Employee and any individual who is younger than the highest age of consent prescribed by German law, local law, or any other law or regulation applicable to the Employee or the individual. Hiveonline expects project partners to apply comparable principles within their respective organizations.
4.4 Cultural Sensitivity
hiveonline aims to work in ways which are culturally sensitive and respect the diverse nature of the people and locations in which we work. hiveonline recognizes that there are many ways of taking care of and protecting children and adults, and hiveonline will seek to safeguard them in ways which are culturally sensitive and appropriate to the context. However, hiveonline believes that everyone matters everywhere in the world and that culture must never be used as a reason or excuse to abuse children or adults.
Since hiveonline comprises a diverse team, hiveonline acknowledges that protecting children and adults within the legal framework required of hiveonline and as articulated in this Policy, while being culturally sensitive can be a difficult balancing act, as understandings of what is harmful may differ.
5. Policy Formulation and Implementation
5.1 Roles and Responsibilities
Across the organization, there are specific roles that have named and defined responsibilities to support corporate strategy, risk management and ensure effective implementation of Safeguarding Policies and Procedures.
The management team and the Human Resource team are responsible for developing procedures and guidance available to all staff and partners, which articulate how the organization puts the Policy into action and is accessible through our website. This is further supported by training and upskilling designed and delivered in-house.
Safeguarding Standards informed by legal requirements and best practice benchmarks have been developed by our safeguarding team. They provide consistency in the mitigation of risk across the organization and describe what hiveonline operations should have in place in order to prevent abuse and to respond to incidents appropriately.
5.3 Risk Mapping, Self-Audit & Action Plans
To support prevention mechanisms, the Safeguarding team have developed a system which helps countries understand and monitor safeguarding risks within their contexts and implement measures according to the Safeguarding Standards, to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring. This is achieved and implemented through the Safeguarding Risk Mapping, Self-Audit & Action Plans.
On an annual basis, upon request and using a format set out by the Global Safeguarding Team, every country must conduct a safeguarding risk mapping exercise through the submission of information on the type of work being undertaken in relation to activities with children and adults; enabling us to have a clearer understanding of our risk exposure.
Additionally, every country and subsidiary, at corporate level, must undertake a self-audit of Safeguarding, to measure progress in implementing the Safeguarding Policy and identify gaps in Safeguarding.
5.4 Integrating Safeguarding
Safeguarding must be integrated and actively managed into new and existing business activities, processes and systems to promote and mainstream abuse prevention throughout hiveonline. Safeguarding must be considered from the outset, during product design and development and all planning stages. Special consideration to safeguarding must be given when working with children and adults in difficult and challenging locations (such as conflict areas) or where children and adults may be especially vulnerable (for example due to young age, disability, race, culture or sex) in order to ensure that all risks are adequately considered and addressed.
Risk management and compliance are crucial to ensuring we meet our responsibilities to protecting children and adults. The Safeguarding Team will be on standby to support teams across the organizations in integration
All partners, suppliers, contractors and customers (including children, adults and parents who participate in projects and programmes) should be made aware of the existence of our Safeguarding Policy and provided with copies on request. This should include advice about who to contact if they have a concern / allegation or a complaint.
The Safeguarding Policy Statement should be translated into local languages where appropriate using a format that is suitable for the context and placed where it can be easily seen/located by service users.
5.5 Advice and Support
All staff have access to advice and support regarding the integration of safeguarding within business activities, implementation of the Safeguarding Policy or its applicability. Resources and guidance necessary to support the implementation of the policy are available on the company website. In cases where staff have specific safeguarding concerns or need further assistance, they should contact the Safeguarding Team.
In addition, country offices should establish links with local safeguarding and law enforcement agencies that can provide specific information and guidance on safeguarding according to the local legal, cultural and operating context.
6. Reporting requirements and Consequences for Allegations
6.1 Responding to Allegations and Concerns
As a company headquartered in Denmark and have subsidiaries in Sweden and Africa, in addition to local legislation, hiveonline has specific legal and regulatory obligations under EU and International law as specified in the Principles section. This relates to the protection of children and adults in all countries we work in and the expectations we place on our partners, contractors and suppliers.
Therefore, hiveonline has a duty of care to ensure we respond appropriately to situations of actual or suspected abuse/harm both from within and outside the organization. That we promote the best interests of children and adults. We prevent recurring situations arising in the future and ensure our compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements in relation to any crimes that may have been committed.
Everyone shares responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults and for supporting the implementation of this policy, irrespective of individual roles.
In addition, some post holders, such as managers and those with additional safeguarding responsibilities, will have specific responsibilities as described in their role profile, deliverables, the responsibility and accountability framework, as well as in this policy.
Irrespective of role or function, all those working for or on behalf of hiveonline, in any capacity, have a responsibility to:
- Report all allegations or concerns about actual or suspected incidents of abuse involving a child(ren) or adult(s) who is a beneficiary or service user of hiveonline.
- Report all allegations or concerns about actual or suspected incidents of abuse involving a child(ren) or adult(s) even if they are not known to hiveonline (for example, a sibling of a child or adult who is part of our programmes)
- Report all allegations or concerns about actual or suspected staff misconduct or criminal activity involving the abuse of a child(ren) or adult(s).
- All allegations or concerns must be treated with confidentiality and shared on a need-to-know basis.
It is not the responsibility of staff to decide whether abuse has taken place. All staff, however, have a mandatory duty to report any concerns – even where these are vague and are only a suspicion or ‘intuition’ that something is not right.
No staff member can agree to keep information regarding actual or suspected abuse ‘private’ as a personal confidence.
hiveonline is not an investigative authority, and therefore where appropriate referrals will be made to relevant social welfare/statutory and law enforcement agencies. hiveonline will seek agreement to make a referral from the child and their parents/guardians or the adult unless this places them at increased danger/risk of harm. In such cases the decision to refer without this consent will be made in conjunction with the Global Safeguarding Team.
The No Harm principle will also be applied in all cases where there is a need for a referral to an external statutory agency.
To report an allegation or concern, contact the safeguarding team within hiveonline. Reporting procedure involves providing as much details as one can
6.2 Accountability, Monitoring and Evaluation
Accountability for the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy at the country level rests with the leads and HR. Ultimate accountability for Safeguarding within hiveonline globally rests with the Board of Trustees.
All breaches of the Safeguarding Policy will be considered as serious and action taken.
Each subsidiary and country shall set aside appropriate financial and human resources to ensure the effective implementation of the Safeguarding Policy. hiveonline requires that ‘all necessary measures [are taken] to achieve compliance, regardless of cost’.
6.2.3 Other Monitoring Mechanisms
Safeguarding teams within the countries may be required to provide information regarding the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy through other reporting and monitoring mechanisms established by hiveonline – such as Internal Audit, Risk reporting and Business Continuity plans.
We also request our partners to keep us accountable in regard to our policy.
6.3 Review of Safeguarding Policy
Responsibility for reviewing and updating the Safeguarding Policy lies with the Safeguarding Team. This Policy will be reviewed annually, to ensure it continues to meet legislative, regulatory requirements and best practice. It is subject to approval by hiveonline Trustees and will be put to the Trustees for approval following each review.
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