What is an EDMF?

Every day, we make decisions. Whether we admit it or not, these decisions are always influenced by our values – our deeper sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.

An ‘ethical decision-making framework’ is a fancy name for a simple tool that helps people make ethical decisions.

When we work in organisations with other people, we keep making decisions every day. However, it can be harder to make shared decisions when different people – with different sets of values – need to agree. Although the Code of Conduct includes certain requirements about which images and messages cannot be used, not all decisions are clear-cut.

An EDMF outlines how your organisation will make decisions about its communications materials, particularly those that fall into ethical ‘grey areas’. It captures the key issues that your organisation will discuss when making decisions and when these discussions should take place. An EDMF will also outline who will be involved in communications decisions and what people should do if they are unable to make a decision.

If this sounds a little abstract, have a look at our example EDMF for Communications to get a clearer idea.

Your EDMF should reflect the size and scope of your organisation and the range of communications it produces. You will need to think about how it will be best implemented in your organisation, who might be involved and how it might be integrated into existing procedures.

Does an EDMF have to be a stand-alone document?

This document includes guidelines for the development of a single EDMF for communications. However, some members may choose to incorporate the components of an EDMF into other existing policies or guidelines. Either approach would be compliant with the ACFID Code of Conduct.

How is an EDMF different to other policies?

An EDMF is an overarching framework designed to help your organisation have a clear process for making decisions about the images, messages and stories used in public communications. ACFID members are expected to have other policies or procedures that will also support ethical communications. These include:

  • Organisational requirements for the collection of information, images and stories (6.2.1)
  • Organisational protocols for the approval of public materials (6.1.2)
  • Privacy policy (7.2.2)
  • Child Safeguarding policy that includes clauses relating to the collection and publication of communications (1.4)
  • Staff Code of Conduct and HR policies that may include requirements for ethical behaviour of staff when collecting and publishing storytelling content. (9.4.1)

These policies and procedures should be referenced and integrated into your EDMF where appropriate.

Do our partners need to have an EDMF?

The Code of Conduct does not require that your partners have an EDMF. However, depending on your organisation, it may be appropriate to provide training on the issues raised in your EDMF or to ensure your partners are consulted in the development of your EDMF. This is particularly important if your partners are directly involved in sourcing or sharing images, stories or information for your organisation.


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Annual Report 2022-23

Reporting on ACFID’s activities to ensure transparency and accountability


ACFID is the peak body for Australian NGOs involved in international development and humanitarian action.


ACFID works and engages with a range of strategic partners in addition to our members.


ACFID is governed by its Board, ACFID Council, and various expert and governance committees.


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Conference 2023

disruptive dynamics, inspired ideas

18-19 October 2023

Meet our Members

The ACFID membership is comprised of Australian NGOs that actively work in the international aid and development sector.

Become a member

Joining ACFID means joining an experienced and powerful mix of like-minded organisations committed to good international development practice.

Membership types & fees

ACFID has two types of organisational membership: Full Membership and Affiliate Membership.

State of the Sector

The State of the Sector Report provides a comprehensive and robust analysis of the state of the Australian aid and development sector.

NGO Aid Map

ACFID’s NGO Aid Map allows the Australian public and stakeholders to explore the work of ACFID Members around the world.

Development Practice Committee

The DPC is an expert advisory group of development practitioners leading good practice within the sector.

Our Focus

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Federal Budget 23-24 Analysis

Facts and figures on how aid is presented in this year’s annual budget

Strategic Plan

ACFID prioritises a robust response to climate change and pressure on civil society in developing countries, as well as other key priorities.

Emergency Aid

ACFID Members provide vital life-saving assistance in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

Climate Change

Action on climate change is one of ACFID’s highest priorities, as it is an existential threat to humanity and our development.

Civil Society

Civil societies are a cornerstone of regional stability and ensure that the voices of the marginalised are heard.

Supporting NGOS

Supporting NGOs as Valuable Partners.

Inclusive & locally led development

Walking the talk on inclusive development.

Humanitarian Action

Taking humanitarian action for those in greatest need.

Elevating Development

Elevating Development to the Heart of Australia’s International Engagement.


Improving standards, practice and culture to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Code of Conduct

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2022-23 ACFID Code of Conduct Review

The ACFID Code of Conduct is periodically reviewed to ensure it continues to reflect good practice and the needs of ACFID and its members.

Code of Conduct

The Code is a voluntary, self-regulatory industry code of good practice.

About the Code

Find out more about the Code of Conduct and how it operates.

Good Practice Toolkit

Overview and practical resources, and examples to support the implementation of the Code.

Spotlight on the Code

Provides a thematic ‘deep dive’ into each of the nine Quality Principles in the Code


This section outlines the responsibility to be taken by each Member to ensure compliance with the Code.

Complaints Handling

How to make a complaint and information on the Code’s independent mechanism to address concerns relating to an ACFID Members’ conduct.

Other Standards

Mapping the Code with other professional standards and principles in the humanitarian and aid sector in Australia and internationally