Quality Principle 4. Quality and Effectiveness

Development and humanitarian organisations and responses are informed by evidence, planning, assessment and learning.

Rationale

This Quality Principle recognises the importance of deep contextual analysis based on evidence and experience, continuously capturing evidence of change, critically analysing and reflecting on performance, sharing lessons and promoting a culture of adaptation because development responses take place in complex and dynamic contexts.

Quality Principle 4 is implemented through four Commitments by ACFID Members.

Commitments

Commitment 4.1 We articulate clear strategic goals for our work.

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. 

4.1.1 Members have stated vision, mission, values and an organisational strategy.

Verifier

  • Documented vision, mission and values.
  • Documented organisational strategy or plan.       

Guidance

Your vision, mission and values could be developed through a consultative process involving governing body members, staff, volunteers and the views of other stakeholders such as partners. They could be documented in internal policy or manuals, used in staff induction, displayed in your office in poster form and printed in newsletters and annual reports. You could also have them displayed on your website.

Depending on the size of your organisation and scope of work, your organisational strategy or plan could range from a short, simple document developed by your own staff, through to a long, comprehensive document developed with the help of an external facilitator. It could include an outline of your high-level objectives for a set period of time with associated strategies to achieve the objectives and indicators of progress or a description of how you would measure your progress towards achieving your objectives.

In the Resources Section below, there are links to different tools that can help you to develop a strategy. 

4.1.2 Members’ initiatives are clearly linked to their organisational vision, mission and values.

Verifier

Guidelines, tools or templates which require or initiatives which consistently show a linkage to the organisation’s vision, mission, values or strategy.

Guidance

Your guidelines, tools or templates could include: design template, appraisal/selection criteria for the assessment of initiatives or partner organisations that requires consideration of whether proposed initiatives demonstrate a linkage to your vision, mission, values or strategy. and for partners, whether their values and strategies are aligned with your own.

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 make materials available outlining their vision, mission and values, to partners and primary stakeholders in accessible forms.
  • Members provide information and/or discuss their vision, mission and values and their organisational strategy or plan during induction or other training with their governing body, staff, volunteers and partners.
  • Members report to their governing body on their progress against the performance indicators in their organisational strategy or plan and alignment with their vision, mission and values.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Implement internal processes for reaffirming or revising your vision, mission and values, involving governing body members, staff, volunteers and key stakeholders such as partners.
  • Include a discussion of your organisation’s vision, mission, values and strategy in staff induction
  • Ensure that job descriptions at all levels of your organisation include the responsibility for communicating your vision, purpose and values to relevant and appropriate stakeholders. Hold staff accountable to this responsibility in performance reviews
  • Align job descriptions with your organisation’s strategy and include relevant performance targets aligned to the strategy
  • Make the vision, mission, values and strategy of your organisation visible in your office, for example, in staff bulletins, posters and on notice boards
  • Develop a formal policy that commits your organisation to communicating your vision, mission, values and strategy to stakeholders
  • Make the policy publicly available to stakeholders to demonstrate your accountability 
  • Undertake a mapping process to identify all stakeholder groups to whom your organisation seeks to be accountable
  • Undertake periodic reviews of your organisation’s consistency with its vision, mission and values and how it effectively enacts them. Make the findings of this review publicly available through your website and other mediums.
  • Undertake periodic reviews of your organisation’s implementation of its strategy and make the findings of this review publicly available through your website and other mediums.
  • Report to supporters on progress against the performance indicators in your organisational strategy or plan and alignment with your vision, mission and values.
  • Management and the governing body review vision, mission and strategy documents according to an agreed schedule over a period not exceeding five years.

Partners and external stakeholders

  • Clearly communicate your vision, mission and values to partners, community members and other stakeholders in an accessible manner
  • Distribute printed materials in English and local languages or use images that outline your vision, mission and values to potential partners, community members and other stakeholders, for example on community notice boards and at community meetings
  • Outline your vision, mission and values in partner agreements
  • Explicitly consider your partners’ vision, mission and values when assessing partners in order to ensure your compatibility and alignment, particularly where the partner will directly implement shared development activities.
  • Clearly communicate your organizational strategy with partners, community members and other stakeholders in an accessible manner.
  • Explicitly consider your partner’s strategy to ensure your compatibility and alignment, particularly where the partner will directly implement shared development activities.
  • Request feedback from partners and stakeholders on how they assess your own adherence and commitment to your vision, mission and values in your policies and practice. 

Programs

  • Include specific questions on how development activity aligns with or contributes to your vision, mission, values and strategy in your project planning and design templates
  • Appraise and assess new programs or concepts according to how they align with your vision, mission, values and strategy
  • Use evaluations, meetings and events to reflect on how development activities and partnerships align with and enact your vision, mission, values and strategy. 

Resources

Commitment 4.2 We analyse and understand the contexts in which we work.

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. 

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.
  • 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.                

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 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, 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; the research or evidence used; and how the perspectives of primary stakeholders were sought. 

4.2.2 Members assess and manage risk in their development and humanitarian initiatives.

Verifier

A risk framework, risk management plan or approaches which assess and address risks for initiatives.

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.

There will be variation in the detail and complexity of risk analysis and risk management tools depending on the size and scope of your organisations and the initiatives but there are accepted standard approaches. You can download an example of a risk analysis and management tool in the Resources Section below.

4.2.3 Members undertake research and establish their own ethical guidelines for research.

Verifier

This indicator and its verifier is relevant only to Members which undertake research.          

  • Ethical guidelines for research.   

Guidance

If your organisation undertakes research, you will have documented guidelines to inform these processes. Guidelines should reflect the four principles of:

  • respect for human beings;
  • beneficence;
  • research merit and integrity; and
  • justice.

You can download ACFID's Principles for Ethical Research and Evaluation in Development 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 provide training for their staff, volunteers and partners in the techniques and skills required to undertake contextual, stakeholder and risk analysis.
  • Members have structured review processes or events to periodically re-assess contextual and stakeholder analysis and risk on an ongoing basis.
  • Members share research plans and results with those who are involved in or impacted by the findings of research.
  • Members share the results of research with local partners and primary stakeholders and make local language summaries available where appropriate.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Context and Stakeholder Analysis

  • Develop a full understanding of the program’s context including the impact of national and community-level political, social, economic, cultural and environmental factors, as well as the enablers and the barriers to social change
  • Seek the perspectives and experiences of primary stakeholders directly impacted by poverty or inequality
  • Carry out an analysis of the key relationships that will impact the project, how that impact will occur, and how those groups or people can be positively engaged
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity
  • Periodically review the context as it changes over time as part of regular monitoring activities and reflect any changes by adapting project plans and approaches.
  • Ensure program guidelines explicitly outline the importance of identifying the needs and expectations of all key stakeholders, including potential differences in interests and points of view.
  • Use stakeholder analysis tools in project design so that you can identify the key local organisations and stakeholders and the relationships between them that contribute to or can break down poverty and inequality; vulnerability, risk and capacity for each stakeholder group.
  • Identify key groups marginalised through vulnerability.
  • Conduct research to identify the enabling factors and barriers for participation of local people.
  • Invest resources in and create opportunities for local organisations and/or primary stakeholders to discuss and agree on their own priorities for development and to fully contribute to the design and planning of initiatives that affect them.
  • Assess the level to which primary stakeholders have been involved in the initial planning of the program and the level of consultation and engagement with various community groups and the local government.

Approaches to risk analysis

  • Consider both organisational and initiative based risk analysis.
  • Establish protocols for the conduct of regular risk reviews.
  • Share risk assessment, analysis and management strategies with the governing body and periodically review these.
  • Appoint a staff person or committee to be responsible for ensuring regular risk assessments are carried out.
  • Use ISO standards to guide your risk assessment processes.
  • Undertake targeted risk analysis for particular initiatives, for example risks related to child protection, risks related to vulnerable groups, risks related to gender or gender identification.
  • Communicate your commitment to risk analysis and management amongst your staff, governing body, and partners.
  • Work with partners to develop their risk management capacity and procedures. 

Approaches to research

  • Use ACFID’s Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network Principles for Ethical Research and Evaluation in Development to inform your approach to research.
  • Ensure that local stakeholders have a meaningful input into the design of research initiatives and in undertaking the research.
  • Provide appropriate training to local staff and primary stakeholders who may be involved in research activities
  • Include local stakeholders in research teams and hold meetings at the completion of the research with local stakeholders to share the findings and receive feedback on them.
  • Translate research findings into local language and conduct forums where this information can be shared. 

Resources

Commitment 4.3 We invest in quality assessment of our work.

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. 

4.3.1 Members assess the quality of their strategies, designs and plans.

Verifier

Appraisal/selection process that requires designs and plans to be critically assessed against a set of criteria or equivalent. 

Guidance

Using a documented appraisal/selection process with clear criteria or principles increases the shared understanding amongst staff and partners of the range of expectations your organisation may have in regards to the nature and quality of initiatives and it enhances transparency, accountability and rigour. The process could be undertaken by staff or a committee with external specialists. You can download an example of an initiative appraisal/selection tool in the Resources Section below.

4.3.2 Members monitor, evaluate and learn from their work.

Verifier

  • Policy, statement or guidance document committing the Member to monitoring, evaluation and learning across the whole organisation.
  • Monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, templates or approaches that consistently show evidence of monitoring and evaluation in practice

Guidance

Your policy, statement or guidance document could include: an outline of the principles underpinning your organisation’s approaches to monitoring, evaluation and learning; and an outline of the procedures or practices required to achieve this.

Your approaches could include: scheduled reporting processes with associated report templates or guidance to enable consistency and rigour; scheduled field visits with associated report templates; guidance on evaluation terms of reference and methodologies to enable consistent approaches, quality and rigour; and scheduled and resourced events to share learnings amongst staff and partners.

Your monitoring and evaluation framework, tools and templates could include: an articulation of expected outputs and outcomes, associated methods for measuring this (indictors, targets or equivalent), how this information will be collected and by whom and these processes should be adequately resourced with time, people and funds.

You can download an example of a monitoring and evaluation framework, a monitoring report template and an evaluation terms of reference 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 dedicated staff with specialised monitoring and evaluation skills and experience.  
  • Members use external specialists in undertaking reviews and evaluations and use a range of data collection methods and tools, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Members provide monitoring and evaluation training for their staff, volunteers, partners and relevant primary stakeholders.
  • Members publish the results of reviews and evaluations on their website, and make these available through other accessible mediums to partners and primary stakeholders.
  • Members’ monitoring and evaluation systems include the participation and leadership of partners, community members and primary stakeholders

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Develop operational plans including activity schedules, monitoring and evaluation plans, budgets and risk management plans to guide the implementation of the development activity. These documents ensure shared understanding between you and your partners and provide an objective basis to monitor, measure and report progress.
  • Focus on the impact or long term outcome of an activity – this will encourage the analysis and articulation of how the changes will likely occur and who the main actors or change agents are in this process.
  • Undertake this analysis and planning with the full participation of partners, community members and other important stakeholders
  • Jointly define with your partners and other stakeholders what success or progress will look like and how it will be assessed and measured. This could involve defining indicators and targets or could be done in a more open-ended manner.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation systems that regularly and systematically include the participation and leadership of partners, community members and other critical stakeholders
  • Use a range of data collection methods and tools, both qualitative and quantitative, for monitoring and evaluation processes
  • Present findings and seek feedback in an accessible and appropriate way to your stakeholders
  • Demonstrate a commitment to mutual accountability through sharing results, good practices and lessons learned with stakeholders
  • Make program review reports available throughout your organisation, to partners and other stakeholders and on your website.
  • Organise events or opportunities for stakeholders and staff to reflect on lessons learned and explicitly incorporate them into forward planning
  • Use data to inform decision-making, to adjust approaches where necessary and to continually improve performance.
  • Through your appraisal processes, link project funding and approval to organisational strategies, priorities and mission.
  • Plan and budget for your monitoring and evaluation at the project design stage.
  • Use the finding of evaluations to inform future programming and provide learning within the organisation as well as feedback and accountability to implementing partners or projects.
  • Appoint staff or use consultants with expertise in monitoring and evaluation methods. 

Resources

Commitment 4.4 We reflect on, share and apply results and lessons with stakeholders.

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. 

4.4.1 Members disseminate information about results and lessons to all stakeholders – primary stakeholders, partners and donors.

Verifier

  • Policy, statement or guidance document which commits Members to the dissemination of information about results and lessons to all stakeholders – primary stakeholders, partners and donors.
  • Evidence of consistent dissemination of information and results on website.          

Guidance

You could disseminate information through: structured feedback sessions with partners and communities and other stakeholders in-country and with your own staff; publication of evaluation reports or findings in newsletters; presentation of results and lessons at public conferences or meetings; and through your website.

Dissemination of information on your website could include: publication of evaluation reports with both positive and negative findings; findings of research; or outcomes of reflections processes.

4.4.2 Members reflect on results and lessons in order to inform and improve practice.

Verifier

Documented process or evidence of consistent reflection on results and lessons and how these are used to inform and improve practice.  

Guidance

Your approaches could include: sharing of evaluation reports and findings with partners and other staff; scheduled, and resourced meetings or workshops bringing together key staff and partners, providing the time and space away from day to day work, to systematically discuss results challenges and learnings; the establishment of a shared data base capturing data and lessons.

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 host, attend or participate in multi stakeholder learning events (This may include conferences, workshops, presentations, etc).
  • Members have a planned schedule of reflection and learning events each year.
  • Members have mechanisms to ensure findings are shared with and feedback is sought from primary stakeholders in accessible and appropriate ways.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Prepare information about results and lessons, in accessible formats and languages to ensure authentic accessibility to all stakeholders.
  • Jointly define with your partners and other stakeholders what success or progress will look like and how it will be assessed and measured. This could involve defining indicators and targets or could be done in a more open-ended manner.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation systems that regularly and systematically include the participation and leadership of partners, community members and other critical stakeholders
  • Consider including staff from other partner organisations or projects in evaluation teams to enable peer learning and sharing.
  • Present findings and seek feedback in an accessible and appropriate way to your stakeholders. This may require summaries of research or evaluations to be translated into local languages.
  • Organise events or opportunities for stakeholders and staff to reflect on lessons learned and explicitly incorporate those lessons into forward planning.
  • Maintain a data base of learnings which is searchable and can be accessed by staff in their roles designing future projects.
  • Ensure that project visits, evaluations and research trips include debriefing times with local stakeholders and partner staff to present findings, and receive feedback.
  • Schedule and resources regular staff meetings/ partner meetings for the structured discussion of results and findings.
  • Schedule and resource community sessions to share results and findings. 

Resources