Commitment 5.2 We have a shared understanding of respective contributions, expectations, responsibilities and accountabilities of all parties.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided. 

5.2.1 Members negotiate shared goals and respective contributions with partners and those they collaborate with.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document committing the Member to partnership and/or collaboration and the approaches it takes.

For formal partnerships, partnership agreement template or examples of partnership agreements that consistently describe:

  • Value and contribution of each party.
  • Shared goals, roles and responsibilities of all parties.
  • Financial and non-financial resources and support offered by and required of each party.
  • Dispute resolution process.
  • Mutual accountabilities for reporting, sharing information and communication.

Guidance

A helpful guide to partnership and partnering principles can be found on The Partnering Initiative website, a link to which can be found in the Resources Section below.  A good example of how one of ACFID's members have documented their approach to partnership is Oxfam's Partnership Principles, which can be found in the Resources Section below. 

An example of a sample partnership agreement can be found in the Resources Section below.

5.2.2 Members coordinate with and complement the work of others.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of coordinating with others.

Guidance

There will be many variations on how Members show evidence of coordinating with others. Examples might include participating in consortiums, cluster groups, joint planning or evaluation missions, sharing evidence for advocacy initiatives or participating in referral systems.

Download and read ACFID's Collaboration guidance note from the resources section below for some guidance on the different forms that collaboration may take. You may also wish to download and read ACFID's guide to developing and managing partnerships for some practical tools and guidance to use in identifying and working with partners, and the different lifecycle stages of a partnership.

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Partnership management procedures are documented in a manual or equivalent. 
  • Training is provided for key personnel and partners on their partnership related policies, procedures and tools. 
  • Formal agreements with partners are periodically reviewed through a process which encourages discussion and feedback.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time. 

Engagement with Partners

  • Devote adequate time to discussions between you and your partners to develop partnership arrangements whether these are for time bound project activities or broad ongoing engagements
  • Invite partners to develop content for agreements
  • Discuss and negotiate the content of agreements with partners rather than imposing predetermined templates or contracts
  • If using standard partnership agreement templates as a basis for negotiating the terms, conditions and content of agreements with partners, ensure these facilitate agreement rather than impose a particular vision or idea. 
  • Conduct discussions in a manner which encourages the autonomy of partners and recognises the unique strengths and contributions of all parties, and is sensitive to power imbalances, language and cultural barriers
  • Use the process of signing agreements to acknowledge the autonomy of partners and the shared value that comes from partnership.
  • When discussing partnership, make sure the joint purpose of serving the community stays central, whether the partnership is focused on capacity building, drawing evidence for advocacy initiatives, collaboration for learning or to influence duty bearers, or program implementation.  

Partnership Agreements

  • Develop clear guidelines for the establishment of partnerships that include documented partnerships agreements. Documentation could vary from an exchange of letters, a strategic level agreement broadly governing an ongoing partnership or a partnership agreement covering a time bound set of activities. Documented agreements ensure that organisations clearly spell out what they can expect from one another. The process of signing agreements acknowledges the autonomy of partners and the shared value that comes from partnership. As important as the documents themselves, is the process of discussion and agreement of the content between signatory organisations and partner.
  • Develop a policy statement on approaches to partnership which includes a commitment to joint negotiation (between signatory organisations and partners) of respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Encourage partners to develop similar documentation with their other partners and key stakeholders
  • Regularly review partnership documents to ensure they are up to date and reflect the needs, experience and changing contexts of the program.
  • Partnership agreements or other such documentation could include:
  • An outline of agreed roles and responsibilities between partners in the support and implementation of projects
  • Resources and support needed to achieve identified development outcomes
  • Resources and support needed to fulfil respective roles and responsibilities
  • Whether the agreement is ongoing or for time-bound activities
  • The strengths and contributions of each party to the agreement
  • Broader organisational development objectives or participation in each parties’ activities
  • Joint involvement in communications, marketing and development awareness-raising activities
  • Agreements for joint training
  • Agreed mechanisms for dispute resolution and conflict management
  • An agreement on terms for termination
  • Regularly assess joint progress against agreed roles and commitments to ensure mutual accountability
  • Ensure that all mechanisms (agreements, procedures, etc.) place equal value on financial and non-financial contributions to the partnership to help balance power relations by highlighting the kinds of non-financial contributions often made by the local partner.
  • Create a partnership agreement in discussion and negotiation with partners rather than imposing predetermined templates or contracts.
  • Include clauses describing the value add of each party
  • Invite partners to develop content for the agreement
  • Develop a joint agreement on the elements of effective partnership and how to manage any conflicts that may arise
  • Develop a communications policy statement that acknowledges respective roles and responsibilities clearly, honestly and accurately.
  • Communicate this to your stakeholders (your partners, members and the public) (see Standard C.1.2) using communication platforms such as websites, newsletters and reports.
  • Reference the full name of your partners in communications except where the partner has expressly requested for this not to happen, for security or other concerns related to identification
  • Acknowledge the roles and responsibilities of partners in communications with other in-country stakeholders.  

Coordination

  • Partner with governments, where appropriate, and vulnerable communities in disaster preparedness, planning and risk reduction
  • Identify other actors who you may be able to support in emergency responses
  • Join, develop, maintain and contribute to emergency response networks
  • Require field staff to report on network meeting attendance and lessons learned
  • Where the cluster approach has been implemented, participate in cluster meetings
  • Contribute to joint needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Develop field manuals and engagement guidelines that emphasise the need for coordination
  • Maintain mechanisms for effective information management and reporting
  • Undertake research to identify other players working in same sectors or space as your organisation
  • Organize coordination meetings to share information and identify areas where investments could be shared or allocated amongst the group.
  • Consider sharing responsibilities and resources amongst similar organisation working in the same area
  • Coordinate with government agencies where appropriate
  • Consider working in consortiums