Mehrunnisa, 42, is a beneficiary of a High Efficiency Irrigation System and General Secretary of her Community Organisation. Through Oxfam’s training, Mehrunnisa has learnt to save every drop of water and grow her own vegetables. Otherwise, Mehrunnisa often walks for an hour to collect water. Photo: Khaula Jamil/OxfamAUS.
ACFID Members commit to being compliant with all aspects of the Code, and to continuously monitor their compliance. Compliance with the Code of Conduct enhances effective development practice. Non-compliance with the Quality Principles and Commitments set out in the Code of Conduct will reflect negatively on the individual organisation and the sector as a whole.
This section outlines the responsibility to be taken by each Member to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct.
Compliance with the Code
Members must be compliant with all applicable aspects of the Code. To achieve compliance, Members will need to understand and apply the two key components of the Code:
- The ACFID Code of Conduct: the 9 Principles and 33 Commitments that lay out the standard of practice to which ACFID Members commit.
- The Quality Assurance Framework: a separate but linked document that details the Compliance Indicators, Verifiers and Good Practice Indicators for each of the Principles and Commitments of the Code.
Compliance with the Commitments is assessed against the Compliance Indicators as detailed in the Quality Assurance Framework (QAF). Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that would substantiate compliance with the Indicator. To demonstrate compliance, Members will have the Verifiers in place, commensurate with the size and nature of their work.
Satisfaction of all Compliance Indicators is necessary to achieve compliance with the Code. To be compliant with the Code, ACFID Members will have the required policies, processes, guidelines and documentation in place appropriate to the size and nature of the organisation and its work. They will also ensure that their policies, processes and guidelines are implemented and subject to regular review.
Responsibility for compliance with the Code rests primarily with ACFID Members who self-assess against the Compliance Indicators. The governing body of each ACFID Member has primary responsibility for verifying compliance with all Compliance Indicators. ACFID undertakes relatively limited external verification in line with this principle of self-regulation.
The Code applies to ACFID Members and their international development and humanitarian programs. As signatories to the Code, ACFID Members certify that all parts of their organisation that are associated with international development and humanitarian initiatives operate in a manner that is compliant with the Code. It should be noted, however, that Code commitments relating to financial reporting apply to the entire legal entity of the ACFID Member.
Members are expected to use all reasonable efforts to support their implementing partners to operate in a manner consistent with the Code of Conduct when delivering aspects of a Member-supported initiative. There are some requirements which Members must extend to partners through MOUs or similar including those relating to child safeguarding, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, separation of development and non-development activity, financial wrongdoing and complaints handling. These requirements are clearly articulated in the relevant Compliance Indicators and Verifiers.
Assessment of Compliance
Compliance with the Code is assured through a suite of mechanisms by which ACFID Members are bound. These compliance mechanisms are:
Application for full ACFID Membership
- To qualify for ACFID Full Membership, organisations must be compliant with the Code on application. On application organisations must complete the Code Self Assessment through the ACFID online portal and submit supporting documents to demonstrate their compliance.
- On application, the organisation must provide copies of the additional documents that demonstrate membership eligibility and compliance as set out in the Membership Application Guidelines.
- Organisations must complete the application process, including satisfying ACFID’s review of their Code Self Assessment, within 18 months of submitting their application.
- Organisations are entitled to use the ACFID Member logo after they have been approved as interim Members by the ACFID Board.
- A minimum of one in every three years (as notified by ACFID), Members complete a Code Self-Assessment (CSA) and submit requested documents that verify their compliance with selected Compliance Indicators.
- The CSA includes a declaration of compliance with the Code from the Member’s governing body. ACFID reviews Members’ self-assessment and supporting documentation
- The CSA process must be completed within 5 months of the conclusion of the Member’s financial year.
- Members must promptly respond to ACFID regarding any reasonable requests for clarification or additional information.
- Members must comply with any resulting remedial actions.
- On the years that Members are not required to complete a CSA, they must complete an Exceptions Report, which notes any exceptions to compliance that occurred during the previous year, and outlines actions undertaken to ensure that compliance is met.
- The Exceptions Report must be provided to ACFID within 5 months of the conclusion of the Member’s financial year.
- Members’ governing bodies submit their annual and financial reports to ACFID each year as part of their CSA or Exceptions Report. These reports are assessed in detail every three year as part of a member’s CSA.
- ACFID’s ongoing assessment of risk identifies any areas of potential non-compliance that may be detrimental to the interests of ACFID, its Membership or the Code.
- ACFID undertakes spot checks of compliance in these areas as needed.
- This process includes checks of websites undertaken during emergency appeals.
- Members must comply with requests for additional information to verify compliance as a result of these checks.
- Members must comply with any resulting remedial actions.
In the event of non-compliance, the Member must submit a plan that outlines how they will become compliant within a time frame of up to twelve months, or sooner if the area of non-compliance is considered higher risk. The Member must re-submit any required documentation at the end of that period. The onus is on the Member to submit supporting documentation and ensure compliance within that period. If a Member does not achieve compliance within that period, a set of sanctions may be implemented. These sanctions extend to the suspension and revocation of Code signatory status.
Members will notify ACFID if they become aware of major transgressions against the Code in their own organisation or make a complaint to the Code of Conduct Committee of major transgressions by other Members.
ACFID will publicise any suspension or revocation of signatory status.