SAFEGUARDING - 5 June 2023

New Code of Conduct marks a ‘milestone’ for SOS Children Villages, strengthening safeguarding and values-based behavior in the federation

SOS Children’s Villages has developed a new Code of Conduct that will strengthen safeguarding and provide a clear direction on social norms and ethical standards for all those working for and with the organization.

The Code of Conduct - approved by the SOS Children’s Villages Management Council in March and endorsed by the International Senate in April – lays down mandatory standards and emphasizes each person’s accountability to understand and adhere to those standards.

"Our new Code of Conduct marks a significant milestone in our journey to improve safeguarding and create a culture of accountability at SOS Children's Villages," says CEO Ingrid Johansen. "The code is a binding regulation for the entire federation, aligns with international standards, and will be adapted every few years to respond to societal changes."

“The new code is no longer a list of do’s and don’ts,” adds Lilly Winder, Deputy International Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development. “Rather, it contains both ‘red-lines’ we as staff must not pass, as well as principles and values driven concepts that reflect the mindset and behavior we expect at SOS Children’s Villages.”

The new Code of Conduct was developed with input from an array of diverse views and voices at different levels across the organization.

The code incorporates recommendations from the Independent Child Safeguarding Review, with a strong focus on addressing power and gender disparities, authoritarian leadership styles and discrimination. In addition, the code also respond to recently received recommendations from the Independent Special Commission which points to the importance of creating a culture of accountability and expanding the code to include ethical standards.

The Commission provided extensive feedback that has been duly considered and reflected in the final version.

Mandatory trainings

As a binding regulation, implementation of the Code of Conduct is mandatory across the federation and everyone who works for and with the organization will be required to attend the training and sign it. In addition, the code has to be understood and signed by external parties, namely volunteers, contractors and partners.

The regulation will be reviewed every three years to adapt to the existing needs of the federation and respond to ever changing societal norms.

The Code of Conduct will be launched officially in October 2023 once an e-learning tool is in place. Trainers will also be prepared to support targeted training sessions as needed. Organizational entities are looking at the local legal framework to ensure enforceability of the document and to start to raise awareness of staff.

The new code is closely associated with the internal organizational-wide culture project ‘Living our Values’. The project promotes values-based competencies, such as kindness, continuous learning, inclusiveness, initiative, and results-orientation, which are expected from everyone in order to achieve a culture of safeguarding and accountability. The competencies will be integrated and referenced to in the Code of Conduct trainings.

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