Spotlight on the Code – Supporting our people & nurturing good culture

Jocelyn Condon

16 Mar, 2018

“QP 9 underpins the need for our development and humanitarian organisations’ to manage and support their people fairly and effectively.” – Marc Purcell, ACFID CEO

This month we are pleased to launch Spotlight on the Code – a series of thematic ‘deep dives’ into our Code of Conduct. In each iteration of the series, we make time to better understand one of the 9 Quality Principles. This month, we’re kicking off with Quality Principle 9 (QP9) “People and Culture”. Together, we will explore what this means, offer up some case studies and examples, and help link you to information and expertise. In doing so, we hope to start new conversations about the meaning behind our Code, how we use it in practice, and deepen understanding across our membership.

Our organisations should be places where the key human rights principles of fairness, equity, and respect for social and cultural diversity are deeply embedded in policies, practices and organisational culture. This means that there is synthesis and cohesion between the principles that underlie your mission and goals for aid and development, and the way that your staff and volunteers are treated.

QP9 requires our members to have established frameworks that clearly define and protect the rights and safety of staff and volunteers, and that support their duty of care to personnel, both paid and voluntary. This is particularly necessary given the often insecure and stressful nature of development, humanitarian and emergency management activities. The standards recognise that staff and volunteers are key to our organisations being able to fulfil their missions and objectives. And they will help deliver effective programmes, as good personnel and management practices contribute to greater organisational effectiveness. 

QP9 covers the professional management of human resources, professional conduct, training and development and rights and discrimination. This reflects the approach taken by the Core Humanitarian Standard, where its equivalent human resources criterion requires that ‘staff are supported to do their job effectively and are treated fairly and equitably’.

The new Code requirements are explicit in their requirements for volunteers, in particular those who fill roles which are an integral part of the Members’ organisational structures. QP9 reflects a more comprehensive and holistic approach to human resources than ever before.

Our members are committing to being fair and non-discriminatory in their management of staff and volunteers, and are required to have human resources policies and procedures to address equity and diversity, as well as complying with human resource regulations and legislation. 

QP9 is implemented through four commitments by ACFID members;

So what do we have in store for you?

  1. Judy Bickmore, Executive Officer from Sight For All, talks about the various ways she approaches HR, workplace and staffing. This is particularly poignant as SFA is a ‘small’ member which has 3 paid staff but relies on a really successful volunteering framework – which helps them punch well above their weight.

  2. We profile some case studies about how CBM Australia approaches disability inclusive employment, as well as some interesting mechanisms they have in place to better support and provide value to their people. View here.
  3. The ACFID Practice Note for Responsible International Volunteering for Development,  sets out best practice principles for ACFID member organisations’ who manage volunteer programs for international development, to commit and apply to their own work.  It is accompanied by examples of guidelines, consent forms and policies to support organisational management of volunteers.
  4. We have  strengthened the Good Practice Toolkit, which provides helpful resources, including example policies, such as a whistleblowing policy as well as links to sites and handbooks which tackle the subject of protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by NGO personnel. The Good Practice Guidance offers practical suggestions for our members to further deepen and improve practice over time, and includes aspects such as professional development, overseas staff, humanitarian workers, occupational health and safety, and policies and procedures.
  5. A final blog piece from the perspective of Susanne Legena, ACFID Board member and Deputy CEO and Director of External Engagement of Plan International Australia. Susanne gives us a personal perspective of leadership in people & culture. Coming in April.

We hope you enjoy the journey as we spotlight QP9, and we look forward to exploring this Quality Principle, and more with you throughout the year. We also welcome your feedback, ideas and input at any time on how we could make this series more useful for your organisation, your own contributions for member case studies and blog posts, and anything else you think of along the way. Feel free to connect with the Standards and Code team at any time on [email protected] or (02) 8123 2237.

  • Jocelyn Condon
    Jocelyn Condon

    Jocelyn Condon, Director of Development Effectiveness, ACFID

    Jocelyn leads ACFID’s effectiveness and engagement team, which manages NGO membership, work under the ACFID Code of Conduct, and ACFID’s learning and innovation program. She has recently returned from four years in Timor-Leste where she worked with the International Labor Organisation, and is studying a masters of Development Policy at ANU. Prior to moving to Timor, Jocelyn worked as a Business Risk Consultant at Deloitte.

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