About the Code

What is the ACFID Code of Conduct?

The ACFID Code of Conduct (the Code) is a code of good practice for the aid and development sector. It is voluntary and self-regulatory. It aims to improve the outcomes of international development and increase the trust of stakeholders and the public by enhancing the transparency and accountability of signatory organisations.

On December 1 2016, ACFID members agreed to a revised Code of Conduct.  This revised Code of Conduct was developed through extensive consultation over 2015-16 and will be launched on 1 June 2017.  While the revised Code looks quite different from the current Code, much of the content will be familiar to members and stakeholders. 

What is the purpose of the Code?

The aim of the Code is to improve the outcomes of international development and increase stakeholder trust by enhancing the transparency and accountability of signatory organisations.

The objectives of the Code are:

  • Improved development practice
  • More transparent and accountable organisations
  • Greater assurance to stakeholders
  • Enabling effective regulatory environments.

How does it operate?

All signatories and members of ACFID are committed to full adherence to the principles and obligations of the Code. In managing the Code, ACFID strikes a balance between facilitating learning and providing assurance on the members’ policies, processes and practices.  

ACFID facilitates learning by Code signatories through:

  • Supporting an annual self-assessment which is overseen by the governing body of each organisation and is designed to encourage dialogue, reflection and change
  • Providing guidelines and tools on how to implement the Code through a Good Practice Toolkit
  • Providing tailored advice and support to Code signatory organisations
  • Providing opportunities for Code signatory organisations to share learning
  • Delivering training on particular standards.

ACFID’s Learning and Development program also provides opportunities for ACFID Members to share learning and build individual and organisational capabilities and capacity to enhance good practice in line with Code principles.

ACFID provides assurance to external stakeholders through:

  • Reviewing the annual self-assessments
  • Verifying compliance with selected aspects of the Code
  • Overseeing an independent complaints handling process
  • Reporting on compliance with the Code to stakeholders.

All of ACFID’s Code-related work is informed by the following principles:

  • Proportionality – recognising the diversity of ACFID Members and their approach to development
  • Certainty – complementing other regulatory regimes and providing consistency and transparency in implementation
  • Flexibility – recognising diverse and innovative approaches to implanting Code principles and obligations
  • Responsiveness – changing in response to emerging good practice and changes in the Sector
  • Transparency and accountability – working in collaboration to develop and change the Code and ensuring governing groups are accountable to ACFID members
  • Capable regulators – ensuring effective people and systems to operate an effective and efficient regulatory regime
  • Continuous improvement – improving processes in response to clear evidence and lessons learned and encouraging innovation.

How is the Code governed?

An independent, voluntary Code of Conduct Committee monitors adherence to the Code and investigates complaints, which may be brought by any member of the public.

The Code Secretariat, located within the ACFID Secretariat, supports the Code of Conduct Committee and undertakes administration and management of the Code.  

How do I know if an organisation is a signatory to the Code?

All full members of ACFID are Code signatories. ACFID Members display the ACFID logo on their website and include it in key publications such as their annual reports.

More information on how to become a member of ACFID can be found here