Sign for the high street charity shop Oxfam in Glasgow city centre - Glasgow, Scotland.

Charities will be told they must improve standards in order for people to regain trust in the sector. 

The Charity Commission and Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, are to warn charities that now is a “crucial moment” and steps must be taken to prevent abuse of vulnerable people.

“Now is the time for action. The aid sector needs to ensure it is meeting its duty of care to the world’s most vulnerable people. It needs to be honest about past mistakes. It must do all it can to win back the trust of the British public,” said Mordaunt.

Mordaunt spoke on Monday at a London summit, where she discussed new measures where whistleblowers and those abused are given support.

“This summit is a crucial moment to learn lessons from the past and drive up standards across the sector. Today, we begin taking the practical steps to ensure the safety of the people we help is always our first priority and that the British aid sector sets the standard for the rest of the world to follow,” she added.

Since the Oxfam scandal, the Charity Commission has received 80 reports of current and historical cases of safeguarding concerns, adding to the pressure on charities.

“We are now receiving around 100 a week, and the increase relates specifically to reports of safeguarding issues or incidents, again covering a wide spectrum in terms of their nature and levels of seriousness,” said a spokesperson from the watchdog.

The Oxfam scandal emerged in February when the Times reported allegations that Oxfam covered up claims that aid workers used sex workers when working in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

When discussing the further allegations that have come to light since, Mordaunt said: “My message to those who have sought to exploit this sector and the human tragedy in which it operates, is this – we will all share information we have with law enforcement.

“We will find you. We will bring you to justice. Your time is up.”