PSEA Changes 2019

What are the changes?             

This document sets out all the changes to the Quality Assurance Framework which will take effect on 31 December 2019. They are also summarised in this section for your convenience. They are designed to strengthen the Quality Assurance Framework to improve the practice and response in the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Accordingly, the changes comprise:

• 1 new Compliance Indicator,

• 6 new Compliance Verifiers, and

• 9 Compliance Verifiers that have been revised or expanded.

There are also 5 new Good Practice Indicators.

While changes to the Code will strengthen member practice if implemented correctly, they should not create an unnecessary compliance burden. For members, this means that compliance with the changed requirements will largely require revision of existing policies and processes, not the development of new ones.

Why make the changes?

These changes are targeted to address the issues raised through ACFID’s 2018 Review into sector wide & member practice in relation to the prevention of sexual misconduct. Despite the recognition of the Code’s strong existing standards, specifically in relation to child safeguarding, a number of areas could be strengthened through the ACFID Code to lift member practice in the safeguarding of vulnerable people from the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. The changes outlined address all of the recommendations of the L4D report, and 17 of the 31 recommendations of the VIFM report.

These changes have been made by the Code of Conduct Committee, achieved with consideration to the Independent Reviews, member consultation, and ACFID Board endorsement. They form one part of ACFID’s action plan with regards to PSEA. Other work streams include learning opportunities and leadership and accountability. Read more information about ACFID’s work to implement positive change.

When do they come into effect?

The updated Quality Assurance Framework will take effect on 31 December 2019. The online Good Practice Toolkit currently includes these changes, as well as supporting guidance, because ACFID members will need to be actively working towards meeting all of these requirements by 31 December 2019.

 

Changes to Quality Principle 2

Changes made to the Code’s Quality Assurance Framework are in khaki.

These changes will take effect for ACFID members as of 31 December 2019, and are a result of the ACFID Review into Prevention of Sexual Exploitation & Abuse.

Compliance Indicator 2.3.1

Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to gender equality and equity. 

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to promoting gender equality and equity and to non-discrimination in regard to gender identity. This policy should address how these are prioritised and advanced within organisational programming as well as within the organisation’s internal operations.

Guidance

All people have the right to equality and to live a life free from discrimination on the basis of their gender. A commitment to gender equality and equity is grounded in globally agreed human rights principles, including non-discrimination. It is based on international instruments, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Attention to gender equality is also reflected in the SDGs, including Goal 5 which calls on the world to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and Goal 10 which seeks to reduce inequality within and among countries. Gender inequality is a root cause of many barriers to sustainable development. It intersects with and exacerbates other factors contributing to marginalization, including race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class and socio-economic status.

A formal policy provides an important statement of the organisation’s commitment to gender equality and equity and can be used to communicate this commitment to internal and external stakeholders. Internally it ensures the leadership and staff are committed and accountable and dedicate the appropriate resources to fulfil the organisation’s commitment to gender equality and equity. It also provides a clear message to external stakeholders of the organisation’s commitment.

For an example of a gender policy refer to the Resources Section below. If you use this policy to inform your own, remember to adapt it to your organisation’s circumstances.

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.

  • Gender focal person in place.
  • Initiatives with a primary or explicit focus on the promotion of women’s rights and/or gender equality and equity are supported.

  • Gender training for governing body, staff, volunteers and partners is provided, covering topics such as gender analysis, gender programming, gender equality and equity, gender identity and gender rights.

  • Initiatives that seek to build the capacities of those marginalised due to gender identity, in particular women and girls to determine their own priorities and advocate for their own equality and equity are supported. 
  • Women’s rights, gender equality and equity, and other relevant gender issues are promoted in communications with the public and external stakeholders.
  • Members work with staff, partners and communities to challenge attitudes which permit or excuse sexual misconduct both internally and within organisational program activities.

 

Related Guidance and Resources

Changes to Quality Principle 4

Changes made to the Code’s Quality Assurance Framework are in khaki.

These changes will take effect for ACFID members as of 31 December 2019, and are a result of the ACFID Review into Prevention of Sexual Exploitation & Abuse.

Compliance Indicator 4.2.1

Members’ planning and practice are informed by analysis of context, evidence and research, and inclusion of the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders.

Verifier

  • Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show context and stakeholder analysis, including the consideration of the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders and an analysis of power dynamics including issues of gender equality and equity.
  • Appraisal/selection process that requires designs to include systematic consideration of context and stakeholder analysis, evidence and research, and the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders, including analysis of power dynamics and issues of gender equality and equity.

Guidance

Your approaches could include: an investment of time and resources into good contextual analysis prior to designing an initiative; seeking out existing data or experiences of other organisations; seeking the perspectives and experiences of primary stakeholders through key informant interviews, focus groups, surveys or PRA exercises.

Your design or planning framework, tools and templates could include: explicit sub sections or prompts in the design document template requiring contextual analysis including the identification of different primary stakeholder groups and an analysis of the power dynamics for each, reference to research or other evidence and how primary stakeholder’s perspectives were sought.

Your appraisal/selection process could include sub sections or criteria covering: an assessment of the adequacy of: contextual analysis; stakeholder analysis; the research or evidence used; and how the perspectives of primary stakeholders were sought.

Compliance Indicator 4.2.2

Members assess and manage risk in their development and humanitarian activities. 

Verifier

A risk framework, risk management plan or approaches which assess and address risks for initiatives, including from a protection / safeguarding perspective.

Guidance

Your design template could include a requirement to compete a risk management matrix or analysis. Your appraisal/selection process could include sub sections or criteria covering an assessment of the risk analysis and management strategies. Protection/safeguarding is a critical area of practice to ensure we ‘do no harm’. To ensure protection/safeguarding is always considered in all risk assessments, your risk management matrix and your appraisal/selection process should explicitly include a section or criterion on protection/safeguarding.

There will be variation in the detail and complexity of risk analysis and risk management tools depending on the size and scope of your organisation and the initiatives, but there are accepted standard approaches. Your approach should always include consideration of protection/safeguarding risks regardless of the size or scope of your organisation or the initiative. You can download an example of a risk analysis and management tool in the Resources Section below.

Changes to Quality Principle 5

Changes made to the Code’s Quality Assurance Framework are in khaki.

These changes will take effect for ACFID members as of 31 December 2019, and are a result of the ACFID Review into Prevention of Sexual Exploitation & Abuse.

Compliance Indicator 5.1.2

Members undertake due diligence and capacity assessments of organisations with whom they work in formal partnerships.

Verifier

A documented assessment process that includes:

  • Alignment with Members’ values and objectives.
  • Governance and legal registration.
  • Financial systems.
  • Reference checks of partners against prohibited entities listings.
  • Capacity assessment for implementation of key safeguarding and risk policies (e.g. child protection and prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment).

Guidance

Undertaking due diligence and capacity assessments is a mechanism that enables Members to identify potential strengths and risks and inform their approach to working with partners. Some organisations may choose to combine due diligence and capacity assessment in one tool, or tackle these as separate processes. Due diligence would normally be undertaken prior to initiating an agreement with a partner, whereas an assessment of capacity can be undertaken at different stages of a partnership – including prior to an agreement, during project delivery, or if changes to the partnership occur. The findings of these assessments should guide a Member’s approach to working with its partners, identify any areas of strength and risk and include the development of a capacity-strengthening plan that is jointly agreed with its partners.

Child protection and the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment is a critical area of assessment to ensure our partners ‘do no harm’ either intentionally or unintentionally, and therefore should be explicitly included in any due diligence and capacity assessment tool.

You may also wish to download and read ACFID's guide to developing and managing partnerships for some of the key considerations in identifying and working with partners, as well as ACFID's partnership agreement template which provides and example of an MOU or other agreement that you could customise and use as appropriate to the partners that your organisation works with.

Compliance Indicator 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.
  • Specific statements about child protection, prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and incident reporting.

Guidance

Documented agreements (or equivalent) provide a framework for discussion and allow both parties to make clear statements of areas of practice that are important to them for quality and compliance reasons. Discussing and negotiating these in a collaborative manner with partners can assist in relationship building and gaining a better understanding by each party. Child protection and the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment is a critical area of practice to ensure our partners ‘do no harm’ either intentionally or unintentionally, and therefore should be explicitly included in partnership agreements. 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.  

Changes to Quality Principle 7

Changes made to the Code’s Quality Assurance Framework are in khaki.

These changes will take effect for ACFID members as of 31 December 2019, and are a result of the ACFID Review into Prevention of Sexual Exploitation & Abuse.

Compliance Indicator 7.3.3

Members enable stakeholders to make complaints to the organisation in a safe and confidential manner.

Verifier

A documented, complaints handling policy that:

  • is readily accessible on the organisation’s website
  • provides a safe and discrete point of contact for stakeholders in Australia and countries where work is conducted, to raise concerns or complaints about the organisation
  • is responsive and fair
  • provides information to all stakeholders, including to Members of the communities where activities are implemented, about the reporting and complaints procedure.
  • provides information in a clear and easily understandable manner in appropriate forms and through appropriate media.
  • ensures that requirements for filing a complaint take into consideration the needs of the most vulnerable and considers minority and disadvantaged stakeholders.
  • advises a complainant of the ability to make a complaint regarding an alleged breach of the Code to the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.
  • provides information on how staff and volunteers are equipped to understand and implement the policy.
  • includes a process for reviewing and analysing complaint information within the organisation.
  • outlines a triage system for escalating serious incidents
  • outlines a referral process for complaints that do not fall within the scope of the policy. (e.g. Complaints that do not fall within the scope of the policy would include, for example, complaints against an employee of another organisation or government department.)
  • commits to providing appropriate assistance and referrals to survivors (e.g. providing assistance to complainants might include medical, social, legal and financial assistance, or referrals to such services.)

A documented investigation procedure, which stipulates that an organisational record must be kept of all misconduct complaints, noting the ability to de-identify complaints at the request of the complainant or survivor.

Guidance

Having a complaints policy that is clear and readily accessible by all stakeholders is critical to fostering and ensuring accountability. It is a vital part of an organisation’s safeguarding mechanisms.

A complaints policy provides internal guidance to staff on how a complaint must be handled. A triage or prioritisation system for escalating serious complaints ensures that complaints are classified and prioritised according to their seriousness and appropriately handled within the organisation. Providing a clear reporting classification and reporting system ensures complaints are handled by the right people in the organisation, and follow appropriate response protocols. For example, a complaint from a regular supporter about the volume of marketing material they receive would be classified and handled differently to a complaint about the behaviour of staff, such as an act of fraud or sexual exploitation or abuse. The complaints policy should outline what processes should be followed for different types and degrees of complaints – for example, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, child safeguarding incidents, HR misconduct incidents, and supporter concerns.  The policy should also provide guidance to staff on how to manage complaints that do not fall within the scope of the member’s policy – usually by referral to the entity that is the subject of the complaint.

A policy also provides an important statement of the organisation’s commitment to welcoming and responding to complaints and being accountable to stakeholders. It is used to communicate this commitment to both internal and external stakeholders.  This includes a commitment to providing appropriate assistance and referrals to survivors of sexual exploitation or abuse such as by mapping out key stakeholders and service providers for referrals, and by seeking to provide financial support to the extent practicable.

Members can find links to the complaints policies of other Members by looking at their websites.

Compliance Indicator 7.3.4

Members make information about their organisation and its work available to all stakeholders

Verifier

Members will provide the following information on their website:

  • Information on its governance: structure, responsible persons and organisational contact information.
  • ABN.
  • Information on their work, including key projects or programs.
  • Information on partners and their roles.
  • A statement of commitment to adherence to the Code.
  • The scope for and mechanism/process for lodging a complaint against the organisation, and a point of contact.
  • Identification of the ability to lodge a complaint alleging a breach of the Code with the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee, and a point of contact.
  • An Annual Report including the ACFID-Code-compliant financial statement in line with ACFID requirements (as outlined in Compliance Indicators 8.3.1 and 8.3.2).
  • Staff Code of Conduct (or equivalent)
  • Key policies relevant to the public including but not limited to, privacy, complaints, transparency, non-development activity, child protection, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and conflict of interest.

Primary Stakeholder communication:

  • Information is provided to primary stakeholders on the expected behaviour of the organisation’s staff and volunteers, and access to its local complaints mechanism.

Guidance

Making the information listed above available on your website, ensures it is accessible to a range of stakeholders and makes a public statement about the organisation’s commitment to the policy areas covered such as child protection, PSEA and welcoming complaints. In general, information must be easily accessed, accurate and up to date. It may need to be tailored to increase its accessibility to different stakeholders, such as primary stakeholders (to whom development activities seek to directly benefit), partners, government, regulatory bodies, local leaders and officials, donors, supporters, volunteers, staff, governing body members, and peer organisations. Including the organisations staff code of conduct, enables all stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the behaviours they can expect of staff and makes a public statement about the expectations of the organisation of its staff. Communicating this same information to primary stakeholders also makes a public commitment by the organisation and enables primary stakeholders to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. This is a critical component in accountability and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. It is equally important that the organisation ensures that primary stakeholders understand the information provided to them. 

New Compliance Indicator 7.4.4

Members governing body is informed of and responds to serious incidents in accordance with their mandate and responsibilities.

New Verifier

Documented protocols for the reporting of serious incidents to the governing body. Safeguarding should form a standing agenda item for governing body meetings.

Guidance

Requiring the governing body to systematically and regularly consider safeguarding, elevates the importance of safeguarding within an organisation ensuring the governing body is providing leadership on safeguarding and PSEA. This requirement should be documented within the mandate or list of responsibilities of the governing body and in documented reporting protocols to ensure it is institutionalised. The governing body as the leadership of the organisation, should be accountable for serious incidents. Involving the governing body will assist in fostering a leadership and culture in the organisation that promotes safeguarding.

 

Good Practice Indicators related to 7.4

  • The governing body Chair does not also occupy the position of Chief Executive Officer or equivalent.
  • Periodic reviews of the effectiveness of organisation governing body are undertaken.
  • Periodic reviews of the effectiveness of organisation governing body are undertaken.
  • Members seek out gender and safeguarding expertise as desirable skills and experience when recruiting new persons to the governing body.

 

Read Good Practice Guidance that supports Commitment 7.3

Read Good Practice Guidance that supports Commitment 7.4

Changes to Quality Principle 9

Changes made to the Code’s Quality Assurance Framework are in khaki.

These changes will take effect for ACFID members as of 31 December 2019, and are a result of the ACFID Review into Prevention of Sexual Exploitation & Abuse.

Compliance Indicator 9.3.1

Members are fair, transparent and non-discriminatory in their management of staff and volunteers.

Verifier

Human resource policies and procedures which address:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Equity and diversity
  • Staff learning and development
  • Performance management
  • Family and carer leave provisions
  • Conduct in the workplace
  • Integrity (including confidentiality and conflict of interest)
  • Grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Reference checking and vetting for former misconduct of all staff and volunteers

Guidance

Human resources policies and procedures should be in-line with the values of your organisation and employment legislation. Policies should be endorsed or approved by the governing body, and easily accessible to all staff and volunteers. Some organisations may have these policies compiled in a manual or handbook, and some may have them available in a policy resource bank such as a shared file or an intranet.

There are lots of free on-line resources that can help organisations develop policies and procedures that are most appropriate to their workplace and which are consistent with legal obligations. An example of a Human Resources Toolkit is included in the Resources Section below.

It is important that your organisation’s human resources policies and procedures meet the National Employment Standards (NES) for employees in Australia. These are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees. There is a link to the NES in the Resources Section below. 

Compliance indicator 9.3.3

Members manage the performance and grievances of their staff and volunteers in a fair and transparent manner.

Verifier

  • Performance management, grievance and disciplinary processes that are accessible to all staff and volunteers.
  • Performance management processes for staff and volunteers that include adherence to the Member’s code of conduct and other codes and standards as relevant to their roles.
  • HR policies clearly define what constitutes staff and volunteer misconduct and outline consequences of such misconduct, including grounds for termination.

Guidance

All processes that relate to performance management, workplace grievances and disciplinary action should be clearly documented and made available to staff and volunteers upon employment and then on a continuously accessible basis. This should include expected behaviours and code of conduct, what constitutes misconduct and the consequences of misconduct. Grievance processes should also refer to the member’s Whistleblowing Policy and procedures.

Some organisations may include HR policies and processes in an employee handbook, or may have them available in an accessible policy platform such as a shared drive or  intranet. It is essential that the organisation’s Code of Conduct is readily accessible to staff and volunteers at all times.

Processes should include or ensure:

  • staff have clear work objectives and performance standards
  • the organisation’s code of conduct is included in employment documentation
  • staff know whom they report to and what management support they will receive
  • staff know what constitutes misconduct and the consequences of misconduct, and
  • that there is a clear and known mechanism for reviewing staff performance.

Compliance indicator 9.4.1

Members specify the expectation of professional conduct of all staff and volunteers

Verifier

A documented Code of Conduct that specifies the values and expectations of professional conduct of all staff and volunteers. This must include reference to child safeguarding behaviours, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, transactional sex, anti-bullying and sexual harassment; and an obligation on staff and volunteers to report wrongdoing.

Guidance

A Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers needs to be tailored to the values and principles of an organisation.

At the most basic level, Members will have an organisational Code of Conduct that:

  • References child safeguarding behaviours as per the Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct (see 1.4.2)
  • References organisational expectations around behaviours as outlined in your PSEA policy (see 1.5.1)
  • Clearly articulates in what circumstances transactional sex is prohibited. An example could be “I will not engage in any form of transactional sex with primary stakeholders. I understand this to be any form of sexual activity in exchange for goods or services, money, employment or preferential treatment.
  • Outlines and prohibits behaviours that constitute bullying, or references these if they are outlined in your anti-bullying policy (see 9.2.3)
  • Outlines and prohibits behaviours that constitute sexual harassment, or references these if they are outlined in your anti-sexual harassment policy (see 9.2.3)
  • Requires staff and volunteers to report suspected violations of the organisation’s Code of Conduct.

Other areas addressed within an organisational Code of Conduct could include responsible stewardship of resources, fraud and corruption prevention, occupational health and safety, conflict of interest, privacy, professional relationships, protecting confidential information, record keeping, and intellectual property.

Compliance indicator 9.4.2

Members’ staff and volunteers work in accordance with agreed standards of practice

Verifier

  • Members provide all staff with information about the ACFID Code of Conduct and opportunities for associated training.
  • Members provide staff and volunteers with information about, and training in, other Codes and Standards as relevant to their roles.
  • Documented evidence of induction, pre-deployment and refresher training provided  to all staff and volunteers on the Member’s code of conduct and key policies including child protection, prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, complaints and whistle blowing.

Guidance

Members will use different ways to provide staff with information about the ACFID Code of Conduct. This may include providing an orientation to the Code during induction training, including reference to the Code in job descriptions and employment contracts, including reference to the Code in organisational policies, or providing opportunities to attend learning events related to the Code.

Members will also need to facilitate access for their staff and volunteers to training materials on the topics of the organisation’s own Code of Conduct: child protection; prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment; complaints; and whistle blowing. It is a requirement that training is provided to staff and volunteers on these topics at induction, and then again prior to the deployment of staff or volunteers overseas, and on a regular basis as refresher training.

Members will also provide information and training to their staff and volunteers on agreed standards of practice that relate to different positions and areas of work within Member organisations. This could include Australian Accounting Standards, the Core Humanitarian Standard for Quality and Accountability, Principles and Standards of Fundraising Practice, and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.