International tenders

VSO is a global voluntary organisation whose mission is to bring people together to fight poverty through the lasting power of volunteering.

Contract opportunity: Duty of care framework agreement

VSO’s work towards a fair world for everyone is inherently risky. Risk is part of our work, especially in fragile and conflict-prone countries, with our model of working with partners and a range of volunteers. The acceptance and management of risk is necessary to achieve our key objectives.

We are establishing a Duty of Care Framework Agreement as we require consultancy services to conduct independent, external reviews of crisis and critical incidents as part of our incident management response. The aim of the external review is to collect, process and analyse evidence to examine the management of crisis incidents by VSO, in line with VSO’s Incident Management Framework and its obligation to volunteers’, employees and primary actors’ protection from harm.

We will be running a tender process to set up the framework for the provision of these services and are seeking expressions of interest from suitably experienced / qualified organisations and individual consultants. The framework will be divided into three lots and we intend to appoint 3-4 organisations to each lot. Organisations may apply for one or more lots. VSO reviews on average 7 incidents per year, the framework period is 3 years with option to extend to 4.

All consultants should have 5-8 years’ experience of working in the international development sector, across a broad range of operational activities in fragile and post-conflict contexts. They must have demonstrable experience of carrying out thorough reviews of complex duty of care incidents; using a holistic, learning centred approach, the appropriate interpersonal skills to engage remotely with people who have experienced a traumatic event and the analytical / communication skills to present findings clearly, using English as a business language.

The lots will be set up as follows:

Lot 1: Security Consultants

Must have experience of managing security challenges associated with youth, resilience, social inclusion and gender development programs in fragile and post-conflict contexts. Demonstrable experience of working in the development sector as a security professional.

Experience of managing similar safety and security issues that could affect those under VSO’s duty of care in developing countries, which might include kidnap/illegal detention, terrorism, evacuation or natural disasters.

Lot 2: Medical Consultants

Must be experienced in supporting health needs in challenging environments in Asia and Africa. VSO may require medical reviews in the fields of physical and mental health support including pre-posting clearance and preparation, co-ordinating medical treatment overseas, arranging medical repatriation, carrying out overseas medical facility inspections, and support on return to home country.

Some reviews may require medical governance and medico-legal knowledge. Medical consultants must also be registered with the appropriate professional body associated to their specialism, for example occupational medicine, BACUP psychotherapist, medical physician for travel health.

Lot 3: Safeguarding Consultants

Practical experience, knowledge and expertise in safeguarding, child protection or a PSEAH field within the development sector. Proven experience managing and reviewing safeguarding incidents in an international setting.

Significant experience of managing and conducting a range of safeguarding investigations in varied cultural and multi-national environments. Significant experience of managing and conducting a range of safeguarding investigations in environments with a range of cultures and norms.

Safeguarding consultants must have proven experience conducting safeguarding context analysis, risk and impact assessments on large development projects, across a range of country contexts, multiple jurisdictions

Expressions of interest

All expressions of interest must be received by VSO by 12 October 2020 09:00 (UTC+01:00) and must be submitted electronically (emailed) to the following email address: The EOI must include a contact name, organisation name, organisation address, phone and email address.

Tender documents: tender documents will be sent to those who expressed an interest, following the close of the EOI period.

Anticipated framework start date: 1 January 2021

Framework period: 3 years with option to extend to 4

VSO reserves the right not to set up a framework.