About the Code

What is the ACFID Code of Conduct?

The ACFID Code of Conduct (the Code) is a voluntary, self-regulatory sector code of good practice. It was developed in 1997 and comprehensively revised in 2010 and 2016. The Code aims to improve international development and humanitarian action outcomes and increase stakeholder trust by enhancing the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of ACFID Members. In conjunction with other aspects of ACFID’s work, the effective delivery of the Code will contribute to the realisation of human rights and the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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 came into effect on 1 June 2017.

What is the purpose of the Code?

The Purpose is to improve international development and humanitarian action outcomes and increase stakeholder trust by enhancing the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of ACFID Members.

The objectives are:

  • To enable high standards of practice by ACFID Members.
  • To provide assurance to the stakeholders of ACFID Members.
  • To enable self-regulation and influence external regulation of the sector.
  • To champion standards of good practice for a broad range of development organisations.

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 member learning through:

  • Supporting a treinnial 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 members
  • Providing opportunities for member organisations to share learning
  • Delivering training on particular standards.

ACFID’s Learning and Innovation 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 Code self-assessments
  • Verifying compliance with selected aspects of the Code
  • Overseeing an independent complaints handling process
  • Reporting on compliance with the Code to stakeholders
  • Conducting spot checks, including emergency appeal website compliance checkes through an ongoing assessment of risk

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