Safeguarding Advisor

Human Resources Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Position Description

Location Edinburgh

Position Status Full-time, Permanent

Salary Level circa £35,000 - £38,000, depending on experience

Reporting to HR Director, Europe

Travel Up to 30%

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organisation powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In conflict, in disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Mercy Corps Europe (MCE) has grown rapidly in terms of volume of activity and complexity. With offices in Edinburgh, London and Geneva, we now attract over £90m in income, and employ around 100 domestic and expatriate field team members. The breadth and impact of our programmes makes Mercy Corps a unique and truly rewarding place to work. Our teams are proud of what we achieve in the field and we are always looking for talented individuals who share our passion and commitment. 

The Role

Mercy Corps has been engaging with key stakeholders in leading the humanitarian and development sector to improve responses to and prevention of safeguarding violations. Mercy Corps Europe  now seeks to engage an experienced safeguarding professional to support the global organisation’s efforts in this area. This new position will contribute to the agency’s strategic vision and to the cross-functional work-streams within our global organisation to improve our systems and culture of safeguarding, as well as represent the organization externally in promoting and learning best practices in safeguarding in Europe and other locations as relevant.  At Mercy Corps, Safeguarding is a holistic term that encompasses our prevention and response work on issues involving Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Beneficiaries, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and Child Safeguarding.

You will not only have the right experience on paper but also the right personal 'fit' - you will live and breathe our culture and values, with a visible passion for the work we do and a desire to be part of our story.  

Essential Job Responsibilities

The Safeguarding Advisor will input to the global Safeguarding Strategy and adapt and implement it to the context of MCE and Europe while ensuring coordination and harmonization with the global efforts.  The Safeguarding Advisor will provide agency leadership internally and externally on the issue, proactively identify areas requiring action and be a consistent advocate for the implementation of evolving industry best practice.

Strategy & Vision:

  • Adapt the overall Safeguarding strategy to MCE context both at HQ and for MCE programmes.-       Participate in the agency working group with key staff members in Ethics, People and Strategy, Program Performance and Quality, and Youth Gender Girls, providing leadership that fosters a cohesive and collaborative technical approach.
  • Participate  in the larger Steering Group on Safeguarding and Inclusion to ensure demands, needs and constraints are taken into account when envisioning Safeguarding strategy, while at the same time building a network of champions across the agency for Safeguarding work.
  • Identify key events and working groups in Europe where Mercy Corps strategic involvement is important and coordinate representation.
  • Cultivate networks with Safeguarding counterparts in colleague agencies to facilitate exchange of ideas and collaboration across the sector, identifying potential areas for innovation and influence.

Technical Leadership:

  • Provide technical leadership on the following workstreams:
    1. Investigations
    • Coordinate notification to donors under supervision of Director of Compliance, Governance and Risk.
    • Be available as the primary investigator for safeguarding-related inquiries within Mercy Corps Europe or field programmes supported by European donors.
    • Support the creation of of cross-functional internal Safeguarding Incidents Committee that reviews and has authority to close investigated safeguarding incidents and be MCE representative in this forum.
    • Identify learnings from safeguarding investigations that the agency can consider when revising policy, procedures, training and/or awareness materials.
  1. Prevention
    • Provide technical advice to support the development of policies, procedures, guidance, tools, trainings and awareness materials on strengthening investigation responses and building capacity of local HR and focal points to respond to safeguarding violations.
    • Raise awareness of safeguarding expectations and contribute to building a positive safeguarding culture at Mercy Corps.
    • Identify opportunities for integration with other functional  workstreams.Act as the primary point of contact for relevant onboarding content for new team members joining Mercy Corps Europe.
  1. Risk Mitigation in Programs
    • Provide technical advice and input on the corporate risk register, ERM and country risk registers of  on emerging risks, especially around a child safeguarding and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries
    • Technical support to Compliance teams on safeguarding clauses in all subawards and partner agreements, on due diligence, specifically the review of partners policies, as well as strategizing on building capacity of local partner organizations
    • Seek opportunities to leverage tools, capacity building, etc. on program risk mitigation and partner capacity-building into ongoing activities.
  1. CARM
    • Provide onboarding and orientation to current CARM approach, materials and current direction of CARM project.
    • Ongoing technical advice to development of CARM guidance, tools, materials, etc, especially in relation to its use as a tool to raise awareness of sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries and child safeguarding, as well as providing a confidential and safe mechanism for reporting potential violations committed by our staff and/or partners
    • Facilitate opportunities for integration with other workstreams;
  1. Human Resources Policies and Procedures
    • Develop a policy for MCE on background checks and reference checks.
    • Lead project to implement background and reference checks into recruitment processes, including identifying any vendors required to support implemented  processes
    • Evaluate candidate vetting process and suggest improvements.
    • Support agency efforts to improve support to field-based HR colleagues.
Organisational Learning

As part of our commitment to organisational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organisations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Accountability to Beneficiaries

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Ability to navigate difficult circumstances with a calm demeanor and in a methodical, analytical manner.
  • Advanced degree in law, international relations, gender, or another applicable field preferred.
  • 5-8  years of  professional experience with safeguarding principles, including leading sexual misconduct investigations and capacity building on rights-based and survivor-centric approaches
  • Experience as an investigator, ethics officer, attorney.
  • Experience working in humanitarian aid or development, either living overseas or spending a significant amount of time in foreign countries is preferred.
  • Deep understanding of donor, regulatory and sector wide standards, expectations and rules regarding safeguarding investigations or ability to learn quickly.
  • Understanding of best practice in ethics management and accountability within INGOs.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective organizational and interpersonal skills; strong written and verbal communication skills, including preparation of system documentation.

Success Factors

The successful Safeguarding Advisor will have knowledge of the INGO environment; familiarity of best practice as it relates to Safeguarding in the context of insecure and opaque environments with varying cultures, languages and education levels; and an enduring ability to move complex problems forward in a timely yet methodical manner.  This person will have an abiding sense of empathy for the difficulties that INGOs face and an unwavering commitment to improvement in the face of these difficulties. He/she will lead by example, with both technical expertise and a sense of humility that always seeks to learn, and in turn, motivating a diverse array of stakeholders.

This position is based in Edinburgh. The successful candidate may travel up to 30% of the time and will be expected to travel to countries that are listed as failed or failing states.

MCE team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a short term assignment or trip to country offices. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all Mercy Corps locations.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK at the time of appointment.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis by CV and cover letter. For more information and to apply, please see the role on our careers site.