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.

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 agreementsA 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. 

5.2.2 Members coordinate with and complement the work of others.

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.

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) 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.

ACFID Resources

ACFID Collaboration and Partnership Guidance

A suite of resources developed to help ACFID members understand, meet and implement Quality Principle 5 ...

ACFID Practice Note – Volunteering for International Development

AVI and other ACFID members have brought this practice guidance into one document.

Promoting Voice and Choice

This research paper represents the latest chapter in a body of work, led by ACFID’s Development Practice ...

Other Resources

Guidelines on Partnerships with Southern CSOs

These guidelines are intended to support Dochas members in developing and implementing high quality partnerships ...

How to Partner for Development Research

Recognising that effective partnerships require intentional management, this practical guide offers tools, tips ...

OXFAM Partnership Principles

A summary of OXFAM's partnership principles.

Respecting communities in International Development: languages and cultural understanding

Research Report on the role which languages and cultural understanding play in International Development.

Sight for All – Partner Engagement and Collaboration Policy

Policy to guide Sight For All and their partners on the expected nature of our engagements with other organisations

The Partnering Cycle and Principles

Introduction to partnerships: the partnering cycle, and partnering principles

The Partnering Toolbook – An Essential Guide to Cross Sectoral Partnering (4th Ed)

Now in its 4th edition (republished in 2011), this basic manual is in use all over the world and many of its tools ...

About

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Annual Report 2021-22

Reporting on ACFID’s activities to ensure transparency and accountability

ACFID

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

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HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Acting with evidence, equity and inclusion for a resilient future

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Budget Analysis

Federal Budget 2022 Analysis

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

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Elevating Development

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

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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

Compliance

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

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