B. Program Principles

This part of the Good Practice Toolkit covers the Program Principles section of the Code. The Program Principles cover effectiveness, partnerships, human rights, advocacy and emergency management.  The Program Principles form the basis of effective aid and development work.

Most of the Principles within this Accountability will apply to all signatory organisations, however because of the range of work undertaken and the diversity of approach, this Accountability allows two dimensions of flexibility:

  • Signatory organisations are not required to comply with those Code Principles which do not apply to their work; and
  • Where their approach legitimately differs from that envisaged by the Code Obligations, a signatory organisation may apply an ‘if not, why not’ approach. i.e. when completing the Compliance Self-Assessment (CSA), they may explain why they do not meet the Code Obligations and indicate how they comply with the relevant Principle by some other means.

In a few instances, flexibility in implementation of Code obligations does not apply. Non-development activity (B.1.5); Control of funds and resources (B.2.3) and Child protection (B.3.4 Obligation 1) are applicable to all signatory organisations of the Code and the Obligations of these Standards are not progressive. This also applies to Emergency Management, International Standards (B.5.1), if undertaken by the signatory.

The Code itself only applies to signatory organisations. These are the organisations that publicly commit to upholding the principles and obligations outlined in the Code and can be held accountable to these. However, many signatory organisations work with and through partners to deliver their program. The ACFID Code of Conduct recognises that the partners of signatory organisations are autonomous entities who work with signatory organisations to achieve mutually agreed objectives aid and development activities. As such, the ACFID Code recognises that signatory organisations cannot fully control the practices nor guarantee that the standards outlined in the Code will be achieved by their partner organisations. Rather, the ACFID Code requires signatory organisations to use all reasonable efforts to ensure that partners deliver the Code signatory’s program in a manner consistent with the Code of Conduct. As noted in Standard B.2.1 Obligation 2, this also includes investing in partner organisations in a way that helps signatory organisations meet their obligations under the Code in the areas of accountability to primary stakeholders, child protection, gender equity and control of funds and resources.

For the smallest signatory organisations, formal adoption of the Code Obligations as a working guide to their aid and development work will be sufficient. For medium to large sized signatory organisations, with larger numbers of people involved, systems and processes would be expected to be sufficient to ensure consistent performance across the organisation. Organisations are expected to explain in their CSA how the Obligations are applied in day-to-day operations. For the smallest organisations, this may simply be a brief description (2-3 paragraphs) of how their development work is conceived and managed to meet these Obligations.

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