Quality Principle 1. Rights, Protection & Inclusion

Development and humanitarian responses respect and protect human rights and advance inclusion.

Rationale

This Quality Principle recognises the centrality of individual and collective human rights, inclusive participation, equity and protection for those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by the intersecting drivers of marginalisation and exclusion.

Quality Principle 1 is implemented through four Commitments by ACFID Members.

 

Commitments

Commitment 1.1 We respect and protect human rights.

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. 

1.1.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to human rights.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document which commits Members to human rights, noting that human rights are for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class or socio-economic status.

Guidance

At the most basic level, Members will have a formal statement that commits them to respect, protect and promote internationally recognised human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class or socio-economic status.

Agency ABC might have the following statement:

Agency ABC is an international development agency that respects, protects and promotes human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class, or socio-economic status.

At a more advanced level, Members will outline their commitment to human rights through a policy and/or guidelines.

1.1.2 Members contribute to the realisation of human rights in their development and humanitarian initiatives.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives show evidence of linkages to the realisation of human rights.

Guidance

Aligning development and humanitarian initiatives with the realisation of human rights obligations enhances the legitimacy and effectiveness of our work. This does not mean that program or initiative goals to need to be expressed from a human rights perspective, but that Members should be able to show the linkages between their work and the realisation of human rights. For example, a program focusing on maternal health can be linked to sexual and reproductive rights. A table of the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and related human rights can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

For those members who take a human-rights based approach to their work, they may frame their initiatives from a rights-based perspective that emphasises building the ability of rights-holders to claim their rights and build the capacity of duty bearers to fulfil human rights.

1.1.3 Members protect primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect based on an analysis of the context in which they are working.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of strategies towards protecting primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect as relevant to the context.

Guidance

Through good analysis of the context in which they are working, Members can identify the risks that primary stakeholders face with regards to discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect and develop strategies to prevent or mitigate this. Members must do all they reasonably can to avoid exposing people to further harm, for example not building settlements for displaced people in unsafe areas and maintaining confidentiality for non-heterosexual stakeholders in areas where non-heterosexual sex is criminalised. 

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.

  • Members integrate a human rights or rights based approach into programming.
  • Members provide training to staff and volunteers in a human rights or rights based approach to development.       
  • Members periodically evaluate and reflect on their human rights or rights based approaches.         
  • Members promote information about issues relating to human rights to the public and external stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

What is a human-rights based approach?

One way of understanding a human rights approach is to see our role as:

  • Helping to build the ability of rights-holders to claim their rights; and
  • Helping to build the capacity of duty bearers to fulfil the rights of their citizens.

A human rights approach will vary depending on the nature of the organisation concerned and the issues it deals with. Common principles, however, have been identified as the "PANEL" principles: Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment and Legality. The summary of these principles below is gratefully adapted from materials from the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Participation

Everyone has the right to participate in decisions that affect them and their human rights. Participation must be active, free and meaningful, and give attention to issues of accessibility, including access to information in a form and a language which can be understood.

Accountability

Accountability requires effective monitoring of compliance with human rights standards and achievement of human rights goals, as well as effective remedies for human rights breaches. For accountability to be effective, there must be appropriate laws, policies, institutions, administrative procedures and mechanisms of redress in order to secure human rights.

Effective monitoring of compliance and achievement of human rights goals also requires development and use of appropriate human rights indicators.

Non-discrimination and equality

A human-rights approach means that all forms of discrimination in the realisation of rights must be prohibited, prevented and eliminated. It also means that priority should be given to people who are the most marginalised and vulnerable and face the biggest barriers to realising their rights.

Empowerment

Everyone is entitled to claim and exercise their rights and freedoms. Individuals and communities need to be able to understand their rights, and to participate fully in the development of policy and practices which affect their lives.

Legality

A human-rights approach requires that:

  • The law recognises human rights and freedoms as legally enforceable entitlements
  • The law itself is consistent with human rights principles.

Governance

  • Analyse the way that your existing aims and objectives are underpinned by human rights principles, whether or not expressed in these terms
  • Include human rights as a key part of your mission statement
  • Integrate human rights into your development goals and objectives in governance, strategy and programming
  • Become familiar with and raise awareness of internationally recognised human rights principles
  • Consider human rights in strategic planning and management decisions
  • Recognise women’s rights and the sexual rights of all individuals as fundamental human rights
  • Recognise children as distinct holders of their own rights  

Reporting

  • Regularly report to your governing body and broader constituency on human rights issues to embed a commitment to human rights within your organisation
  • Develop performance indicators to monitor how your operations impact on human rights
  • Regularly review performance indicators and assessment against the indicators

Policy

Demonstrate your commitment to internationally recognised human rights principles through developing policies that address key human rights. These policies should:

  • Support the principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination and empowerment
  • Link your policy to international human rights standards
  • State that rights are inalienable, indivisible and universal
  • Commit to respect, protect and promote human rights and to avoid complicity in human rights abuses
  • Be relevant and specific to the organisation’s operations
  • Include how the policy applies to all of your stakeholders
  • Link to other relevant internal and external laws, policies, codes and guidelines

Programs

  • Integrate a rights-based approach into programming, including program design and program evaluation. This will require paying careful attention to whose rights are not being upheld, in the context within which you work.
  • Conduct situational analyses of the human rights situation where your program is located to inform development objectives and priorities
  • Undertake gender and power analysis in the design phase of any program
  • Recognise that human rights are inalienable and ensure programs assist stakeholders realise a greater scope of rights and do not cause right regressions (e.g. fulfilling a child’s right to education by placing a child in residential care and therefore violating their right to be raised in a family).
  • Negotiate the terms, objectives and direction of any program so that it genuinely reflects the community’s wants and needs
  • Determine human rights objectives of the program
  • Develop ways to empower local communities and monitor and evaluate progress
  • Mainstream human rights as a cross-cutting issue in project cycle management
  • Ensure meaningful local stakeholder participatory processes and consultations throughout the life of the program

Specific human rights activities

  • Contribute analysis to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) undertaken by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. This review of the human rights record of every member of the UN is done once every four years.
  • Advocate for non-state actors, such as the private sector and multinational companies, to be bound by human rights standards
  • Fund human rights education programs
  • Undertake specific human rights projects or programs such as training programs or activities for the rights of women; lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans people and other sexual minorities; indigenous peoples; migrant workers; minorities; people with a disability; refugees; asylum seekers; children; or the aged.
  • Provide human rights training to staff and partners
  • Invest in research on particular human rights issues
  • Advocate to governments to make changes to law, policy or practice to better support human rights
  • Facilitate the discussion of human rights in local communities
  • Support human rights advocacy at the local or international level
  • Support emergency responses and protection work
  • Develop and implement a strategy for consulting with communities to identify human rights issues in emergency response and ‘protection’ work
  • Develop opportunities to empower partners and communities
  • Ensure that the design and delivery of services meets the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised and considers risks arising from people’s participation and engagement.

Communications

  • Take advantage of your role in shaping the views of stakeholders by promoting human rights principles in your organisation’s work.
  • Use clear, accessible and consistent messages, information and resources targeting a wide range of stakeholders in our sphere of influence – including rights-holders, broader communities, other organisations, government departments and the media.
  • Promote communications mechanisms through which your partners and stakeholders are able to make comments, suggestions and complaints
  • Provide human rights information in external newsletters and on your website
  • Develop stakeholder advisory panels to establish better dialogue with program beneficiaries and the broader community
  • Include human rights language in advocacy work with other agencies, and in submissions to government consultation processes.

Resources

Commitment 1.2 We respect and respond to the needs, rights and inclusion of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion.

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.

1.2.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to the inclusion and representation of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by the intersecting drivers of marginalisation and exclusion.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to the inclusion and representation of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by the intersecting drivers of marginalisation and exclusion, including not restricted to race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class and socio-economic status.

Guidance

Your policy, statement or guidance document could include: an outline of the principles underpinning your organisation's approaches to inclusion; and clarification of your organisation’s understanding of who/which groups are marginalised and excluded; and an outline of the procedures or practices required such as: good contextual analysis to understand the intersecting drivers, explicit reference to inclusion and systems of exclusion in design templates and appraisal/selection templates and processes, and the allocation of resources to initiatives with a primary focus on the inclusion and representation of vulnerable, marginalised and excluded people.

An example of a good inclusion policy can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

1.2.2 Members’ planning process includes consultation with those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion and analysis of their needs and rights and barriers to their inclusion in context-specific ways.

Verifier

Design or planning frameworks, tools, templates that require or approaches that consistently show the consideration of the needs, rights and barriers to the inclusion of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion in context-specific ways.

Guidance

Your approaches could include: undertaking good contextual and stakeholder analysis so you can understand the different barriers to inclusion faced by different groups of vulnerable and marginalised people in context-specific ways; and investing resources in and creating opportunities for those who are vulnerable or marginalised to fully contribute to the design and planning of initiatives that affect them. Strategies to achieve this could include: proactively seeking out those from vulnerable or marginalised groups within a community and conducting discussions/focus groups/interviews at times and places that enable their participation; setting explicit targets of consultation with these groups; engaging local people who live within communities to engage with primary stakeholders; ensuring any necessary materials or processes are conducted in local language and take into account structural, cultural or gender barriers such as isolation, privacy, timing etc. 

Your design or planning framework, tools and templates could include: explicit sub sections or prompts in the design document template including a requirement for some primary stakeholders to be from vulnerable or marginalised groups; a design appraisal tool or set of criteria that requires an assessment of the adequacy of contextual analysis, the role of primary stakeholders in contextual analysis and the degree to which vulnerable and marginalised people have fully contributed to the design and planning of initiatives that affect them.

Ideas on strategies to promote participation can be can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

1.2.3 Members monitor and evaluate their progress in addressing the needs, rights and inclusion of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion in context-specific ways.

Verifier

Monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, templates that require or approaches which consistently show evidence of the assessment of progress in addressing the needs, rights and inclusion of those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion in context-specific ways.

Guidance

Your monitoring and evaluation approaches could include: an explicit requirement to assess progress relating to vulnerable and marginalised groups during monitoring and field visits and in progress reporting. Helpful prompts could include consideration of: how vulnerable, marginalised and excluded people have participated and what strategies have been used to address their needs, rights and inclusion. Evaluation terms of reference could include: analysis of whether the needs, rights and inclusion of vulnerable, marginalised and excluded people have been met and the barriers and enablers to doing so.

Your monitoring and evaluation framework, tools and templates could include: an articulation of expected outputs and outcomes and indicators that explicitly relate to the needs, rights and inclusion of vulnerable, marginalised and excluded groups.

1.2.4 Members consider the potential impact of their development and humanitarian initiatives on those who are vulnerable and those who are affected by marginalisation and exclusion with a view to preventing unintended harm.

Verifier

Design or planning frameworks, tools, templates which require or approaches that consistently show the consideration of the potential for unintended harm and strategies to mitigate the risk of harm.

Guidance

Potential risks for unintended harm to primary stakeholders could include: exposing women to cultural or religious negative views if initiatives requires them to undertake new roles, contamination of drinking water through new agricultural practices or construction, construction of schools near busy roads or other hazards.

Your approaches could include: good contextual analysis to understand potential risks to primary stakeholders; risk analysis with an explicit focus on potential harm to primary stakeholders; consideration of these risks during monitoring and field visits.

Design or planning frameworks, tools or templates could include: explicit sub-sections or prompts in the design document template including: a requirement for consideration of potential risks to primary stakeholders; a design appraisal tool or set of criteria that requires an assessment of potential risks.

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.

  • Members provide training for their staff and volunteers to understand the impact of intersecting drivers of vulnerability, marginalization and exclusion; the factors that may exacerbate vulnerabilities and marginalization; and barriers to inclusion of marginalized groups.
  • Members support initiatives that seek to build the capacities of specific rights holders to understand and advocate for the fulfilment of their human rights. 
  • Members promote information about issues relating to vulnerability, marginalization and exclusion to the public and external stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Programs

  • Focus programs on the most vulnerable and marginalised – those most denied their rights including indigenous peoples, migrant workers, minorities, people with a disability, refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers, children, the aged and women
  • Focus on the rights of vulnerable and marginalised people in project cycle management tools, agreements with partners, planning, and monitoring and evaluation tools
  • Identify vulnerable and marginalised groups and seek to understand the factors that exacerbate their vulnerability
  • Identify and address barriers to accessing services by marginalised and vulnerable groups
  • Ensure the participation, inclusion and representation of vulnerable and marginalised people and groups in decision-making
  • Regularly review who is participating in the project and who is missing out
  • Promote the ability of your staff and partners to speak local languages
  • Promote the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups as staff members
  • Work to make sure that these groups are not further victimised by their participation in our programs, through retaliation by other, dominant groups
  • Empower vulnerable and marginalised people to know their rights and demand equitable access to services.

Partners

Provide training and build the skills and knowledge of your staff, partners, stakeholders and civil society on:

  • The rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups
  • Effective advocacy for improving the lives of the vulnerable and marginalised. INGOs can often be more vocal than local partners in this work. ACFID members may undertake this work on behalf of partners where it is more appropriate to do so.
  • Responding to discrimination, violence, poverty and repression experienced by marginalised and vulnerable groups

Monitoring and reporting

  • Develop monitoring and evaluation systems that explicitly collect data related to vulnerable and marginalised groups
  • Report on progress on addressing the needs, rights and inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups to your governing body and stakeholders in key documents such as in your Annual Report.

Resources

Commitment 1.3 We support people affected by crisis.

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.

1.3.1 Members that support or undertake humanitarian assistance are guided by humanitarian assistance principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to the humanitarian assistance principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality as defined in the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Guidance

The principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality are defined in the Core Humanitarian Standard.  They provide the foundations for humanitarian action and are central to establishing and maintaining access to affected people, whether in a natural disaster or a complex emergency, such as armed conflict.

An example of a statement that would satisfy this indicator is: "When responding to humanitarian emergencies, Agency ABC will apply the principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality as defined in the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS)."

1.3.2 Members that support or undertake humanitarian assistance recognise and work towards application of the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to recognising and working towards application of the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Guidance

The Core Humanitarian Standard can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.  

An example of a statement that would satisfy this indicator is "Agency ABC is guided by The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS)." Larger agencies or those with a predominant and significant focus on humanitarian assistance may choose to be formally audited/reviewed against the CHS by the Humanitarian Quality Assurance initiative. 

1.3.3 Members support or undertake humanitarian assistance coordinate and complement the work of others providing assistance.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to coordinating and complementing the work of others providing assistance.

Guidance

Detailed guidance for the implementation of this compliance indicator can be found under Commitment 6 of the Core Humanitarian Standard – refer to the Core Humanitarian Standard – Guidance Notes and Indicators in the Resources Section below. An example of a statement that would satisfy this indicator would be: "Agency ABC recognises that effective humanitarian responses require collective action. Agency ABC will share information and knowledge with other stakeholders, and participate in joint planning and integrated activities wherever possible, including national and local authorities, without compromising humanitarian principles."

1.3.4 Members support or undertake humanitarian assistance promote the role and leadership of local actors.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to promoting the role and leadership of local actors.

Guidance

During the World Humanitarian Summit, held in May 2016, the UN Secretary General called upon the international community to put local responses at the heart of humanitarian efforts. In response, a group of organisations working in humanitarian action committed to the Charter for Change, which seeks to promote more locally led humanitarian responses.

Your policy, statement, or guidance document could include: recognition of the role of local actors in a humanitarian response, a commitment to identifying local communities and organisations who can play a role in providing humanitarian assistance, and a commitment to promoting leadership by local actors on humanitarian responses.

An example of a statement that would satisfy this indicator would be: "In determining its humanitarian responses, Agency ABC commits to work with local communities and local organizations wherever possible, recognising that they are the first to respond, better positioned to respond and often last to leave." 

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.

  • Members have staff with expertise in humanitarian response relative to the scale of their humanitarian responses.
  • Members provide information and training for staff and partners on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and establish mechanisms to monitor compliance.
  • Members evaluate and reflect on the effectiveness of the humanitarian responses they support.
  • Members share the results of evaluations and reflections of humanitarian responses with partners and other key stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

Policy

  • Develop humanitarian response and disaster preparedness strategies that incorporate and reflect international humanitarian response standards
  • Formally adopt the Core Humanitarian Standard
  • Formally adopt the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
  • Formally commit to the Sphere humanitarian principles and standards
  • Inform key stakeholders of the international standards to which you are committed through a full range of means, such as your website, partner agreements, donor requests, reports and staff induction and training
  • Develop formal emergency relief guidelines that incorporate and reflect international humanitarian response principles and standards

Procedures

  • Train humanitarian response staff in sector codes and standards and legal obligations, and communicate with them on a regular basis to ensure these are upheld.
  • Provide information and training for staff and partners on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and establish mechanisms to monitor compliance.
  • Ensure humanitarian responses do not contribute towards the unnecessary institutionalisation of children and any programs working directly with unaccompanied children will prioritise family tracing and reunification to prevent the prolonged separation of children from their families
  • Invest resources in building the capacity of partner organisations to providing humanitarian assistance according to internationally agreed standards and principles of ethical practice through training, knowledge sharing and accompaniment
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation systems to assess compliance with humanitarian response principles and standards
  • Establish systems for beneficiary communication and accountability, including feedback and complaints mechanisms
  • If you are sending funds, undertake due diligence to ensure that the party who receives them has committed to the relevant humanitarian response standards.

Drug donations

If your organisation provides pharmaceuticals or other forms of material relief, demonstrate your adherence to relevant guidelines, that could include but is not limited to:

  • Donations are based on the express wishes of the recipient and not distributed without prior consent
  • Donated drugs must be on the list of essential drugs of the recipient country, or if no such list is available, the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs
  • Donated drugs must comply with the quality standards of the recipient country and be authorised for use in that country
  • All donated drugs should have a shelf-life of at least 12 months upon arrival in the recipient country

Resources

Commitment 1.4 We advance the safeguarding of children

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.

1.4.1 Members demonstrate their organisational commitment to the safeguarding of children.

Verifier

Policy document applicable to all governing body Members, staff, volunteers and visitors to projects, that commits the Member to:

  • Effective leadership to enable the safeguarding of children.
  • Communication of the Child Safeguarding Policy and practices to all governing body Members, staff, volunteers and visitors to project.
  • Recruitment screening processes for all personnel in contact with children which include:
    • Criminal record checks before engagement; statutory declarations of local legal equivalent where criminal record checks are unavailable or unreliable.
    • Verbal referee checks.
    • Behavioural-based interview questions.
  • Processes for assessing risk and monitoring and evaluating risk and child safeguarding processes at all stages of the initiative.
  • Use of images and personal information for promotion, fundraising and development education which ensures the privacy and safeguarding of children.
  • If relevant, an overview of the processes to ensure child safeguarding in sponsorship/overseas volunteer programs and other high risk activities that facilitate access to children and young people.
  • Child safeguarding training for all personnel.
  • Employment contracts which contain provisions for the prevention of a person from working with children if they present an unacceptable risk to children; dismissal, suspension or transfer to other duties for any employee who breaches the child protection code of conduct.
  • Regular reviews of the child safeguarding policy.

Guidance

Refer to ACFID's guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy in the Resources Section below.  

1.4.2 Members have a code of conduct that advances child safeguarding behaviours and applies to all personnel, partners and project visitors.

Verifier

All Members must have a documented code of conduct or behaviour in place that covers the following with regard to child safeguarding:

  • Appropriate language.
  • Appropriate communications.
  • Banning of alcohol and drugs.
  • Gifts to children.
  • Physical contact with children.
  • Banning of sexual relations with children.
  • Child labour.
  • Photos and images.
  • Reporting responsibilities.

The code of conduct must be signed by relevant staff, volunteers, partners and project visitors.

Guidance

There is an example of a Code of Conduct within ACFID’s guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy, which can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

1.4.3 Members have a documented child safeguarding incident reporting procedure and complaints handling procedure that aligns with principles of privacy and promotes safety and dignity.

Verifier

All Members must have a documented child safeguarding incident reporting procedure and child friendly/accessible complaints handling process in place that must reflect the following principles:

  • Consistency with relevant legislation, including compliance with mandatory reporting responsibilities.
  • Protection of all parties involved in the complaint of concern.
  • Confidentiality (as distinct from secrecy).
  • Expedient reporting.
  • Truthfulness.
  • Fairness.
  • Professionalism.
  • Appointment of a child protection incident reporting focal person.

Guidance

There is an example procedure for the reporting and management of child abuse concerns within ACFID’s guidelines for developing a Child Protection Policy, which can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

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.

  • Members have a child safeguarding focal person who is responsible for coordinating the implementation of child safeguarding systems.    
  • Members provide introductory, refresher and role-specific training as relevant for their governing body, staff, volunteers, project visitors and partners to become familiar with and raise awareness of child safeguarding.
  • Members periodically report to their governing body on the implementation of and compliance with their Child Safeguarding Policy.
  • Members adapt child safeguarding policies and practices to local contexts in collaboration with local stakeholders.
  • Members promote their commitment to child safeguarding, to the public and external stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Create your own Child Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct and support local implementing partners to do the same.
  • Report to your governing body on your actions to safeguard children
  • Designate a Child Protection Officer (or team) to be responsible for promoting child safeguarding throughout your organisation, coordinating staff training, monitoring your compliance to relevant internal and external policies, and coordinating policy reviews and to serve as the central contact point for both internal and external queries about child protection issues
  • Educate staff and other stakeholders about how to reduce risk and ensure organisational activities safeguard children
  • Develop communication guidelines that address child safeguarding, particularly with respect to the use of children’s images and personal information
  • Establish clear reporting procedures on child protection to report suspected or known instances of abuse to relevant authorities. These should include clear guidance on internal and external reporting requirements for your organisation in Australia and in field offices.
  • Report suspected or known instances of child abuse to relevant authorities.
  • Ensure the ‘best interests of the child’ principle is central to risk assessment, management and responses to child safeguarding concerns.
  • If your organisation receives Australian aid program funding, ensure you are fully aware of and compliant with the DFAT Child Protection Policy 2017 and associated Guidance Notes.  

Recruitment

  • To protect children, organisations must have appropriate recruitment procedures that are effectively applied in order to prevent people who may pose a risk to children from gaining employment, prevent them from targeting organisations that have weak or inconsistently applied procedures, and minimise the risk of child abuse being committed by a member of staff, volunteer or consultant.
  • To ensure your recruitment procedures safeguard children, you can:
    • Promote a commitment to child safety on your website, in promotional materials and in all job advertisements
    • Assess all positions for the level for risk in relation to contact with children. Applicants to positions working directly with children should possess relevant qualifications and experience in working with children, and be subject to the highest level of screening.
    • Confirm the identity and work history of applicants
    • Require a minimum of two verbal reference checks for all preferred candidates. For positions working directly with children, reference checks should include questions about the applicant’s suitability to work with children.
    • Ask specific questions on that explore child safeguarding decision making during the interview
    • Check appropriate professional registers
    • Require all appointees to read and sign your Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct
    • Check criminal and police records for all your preferred candidates. If staff, volunteers or consultants are Australian residents, use the police check from the Australian Federal Police.
  • Where a police check cannot be obtained, undertake all reasonable measures, such as background and reference checks, to ensure the candidate does not pose a risk to children. These candidates should be required to sign an Employment Declaration stating that they have not been convicted of a serious sex offence or child-related personal violence.

Fundraising and volunteering

  • Your organisation’s representatives may come into contact with children in a variety of contexts, including through fundraising and volunteering activities. Some examples include:
    • Volunteer assignments, such as field visits and work, where volunteers engage directly with individuals, organisations or communities overseas.
    • Volunteer speakers in schools.
    • Community fundraising events that children attend.
    • Children who undertake fundraising activities.
    • Supporter visits, where donors have contact with children in community settings.
  • Child safeguarding should be included within risk assessments as part of the planning process for all activities involving children, including supporter visits to schools and overseas communities
  • Organisations, especially those involved in residential care, should have clear policies around volunteering and donor site visits to ensure organisations are not facilitating orphanage tourism or orphanage volunteering
  • Any person who has contact with a child or information about children should be required to sign a Child Safeguarding Code of Conduct
  • Children’s personal data, in particular contact details, should be held securely and only accessed by authorised staff
  • Fundraising in schools should be undertaken in accordance with appropriate guidance from professional bodies
  • Children undertaking fundraising activities should be advised on how to do so safely, both for their own protection and regarding more general health and safety
  • Parents, guardians and event or activity organisers should be briefed before the activity
  • There should be no unsupervised access to children. A parent, teacher, other member of staff or other adult must also be present.
  • Parents, guardians and event or activity organisers should take responsibility for the child engaging in the activity

Partners

  • Recognise that your organisation will most likely work with partners who have direct contact with children in their work.
  • Recognise that the notion of child protection is understood in different ways in different cultures and contexts.
  • Undertake extensive discussion, training and collaboration with partner organisations to support them to develop their own child safeguarding policies and procedures that are appropriate to the context and nature of their work and which meet the requirements of this Code.
  • In settings where child protection and risks are not well understood or socialised, consider investing more substantially in working with partners and other duty bearers to increase awareness and knowledge.
  • Provide partners with your organisation’s child protection policy and code of conduct
  • Ensure reference is made to the risks associated with child protection in all partnership agreements or equivalent documents.   

Programs

  • Undertake risk assessments of perceived and potential risks to children in all programs and initiatives.
  • Integrate child safeguarding into your project cycle management guidelines and tools such as progress and monitoring report templates to ensure child safeguarding issues are considered at each stage of the project cycle.
  • Consider how to strengthen protective factors and minimise risk factors for children when designing and implementing activities.
  • Establish review mechanisms that minimise the possibility of program activities exposing children to greater risk.
  • If undertaking humanitarian responses, provide information and training for staff and partners on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and establish mechanisms to monitor compliance.
  • Provide opportunities for children to share their views, experiences and ideas to inform and set the direction for your initiatives and projects.
  • Provide opportunities for children to provide both positive and negative feedback on the outcomes of projects on their lives.

Resources