Quality Principle 9. People and Culture

Development and humanitarian organisations manage and support their people fairly and effectively.

Rationale

This Quality Principle recognises the importance of our people and their ability to work to enable good development outcomes.

Quality Principle 9 is implemented through four Commitments by ACFID Members.

Commitments

Commitment 9.1 We have the human resource capacity and capability to deliver 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. 

9.1.1 Members have an organisational structure appropriate to the scope of their work.

Verifier

  • An organisational chart (or)
  • Description of organisational structure.

Guidance

The organisational chart or structure should outline the key positions in the organisation and the relationships between these positions. This provides a good overview of the resources that have already been dedicated, and assists your organisation to plan for any additional roles that it needs to further its mandate and scope of work. Documenting the relationships between positions also assists positions understand which roles they are responsible to, and who has responsibilities for them. It can be a useful way to think about how units within an organisation relate to each other, and are assigned responsibilities that work together to achieve the organisation’s overall goals and objectives. There are many examples of organisational chart templates available on the internet that can help prompt the way that your organisation chooses to document its own structure. 

9.1.2 Members provide a clear description of roles and performance expectations.

Verifier

Job descriptions or terms of reference for staff and for key volunteers i.e. those that fill formal roles in the organisational structure

Guidance

Job descriptions or terms of reference outline the main duties and responsibilities that are involved in a particular role. They usually include the purpose, duties, responsibilities, scope, and working conditions of a role, along with the role title, and the name or designation of the person to whom the employee or volunteer reports. Job descriptions provide the basis for recruitment, employment, and performance management. They communicate what is expected of a particular role and how the role will be evaluated.

There are many tools available on the internet that can help your organization prepare a job description or a term of reference. In addition, the Resources section below includes a link to to ‘Writing a Position Description’.

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code. Rather, they provide a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Members have dedicated human resources assigned to key areas of organisational responsibility.
  • Members periodically review the human resource needs of the organisation. 

  • Members have documented guidelines for the recruitment of local staff in country offices.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational and Policy

  • Develop an organisational structure document to help with future tasks like workforce planning, succession structure, and what to outsource.
  • Consult with all units of your organisation to develop a staffing plan that can be considered within the annual budget process.
  • Create a job description for each role within your organisation.
  • Align performance indicators for particular roles to the organisation’s strategy.
  • Conduct recruitment processes that are as open as possible, to attract talent from a broad arena.
  • Design a salary structure and assign salaries for various functions within the organisation. Compare and contrast those with fair market value for similar positions.
  • Review salaries at least annually to ensure that you stay competitive. Consider providing other compensation to employees such as flexible working arrangements, or extra leave entitlements.
  • Develop clear human resource policies and procedures that are accessible to all staff and volunteers.
  • Consult with staff to develop a learning and development plan to further develop staff capacity. 

Commitment 9.2 We protect, value and support our people.

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. 

9.2.1 Members provide professional development opportunities for staff and key volunteers.

Verifier

A record of professional development undertaken by staff and key volunteers.

Guidance

There are a variety of approaches to professional development and this will vary between organisations and staff positions. It may include formal learning and training opportunities such as conferences and coursework, or it may include less formal opportunities such as coaching, communities of practice, mentoring, and technical assistance.

9.2.2 Members enable staff and volunteers to make complaints and report wrongdoing through fair, transparent and accessible procedures.

Verifier

Both of the following must be in place for all Members:

  • A policy or guideline which:
    • Must meet complaints handling requirements in 7.3.2.
    • Is clearly accessible to all staff and volunteers.
    • Provides clear processes that are safe and confidential.
  • A whistleblowing policy that has the following components as a minimum:
    • A clear statement that staff, volunteers, contractors and partners who are aware of possible wrongdoing have a responsibility to disclose that information
    • A guarantee that staff and volunteers who in good faith disclose perceived wrongdoing will be protected from adverse employment consequences
    • The establishment of a fair and impartial investigative process
    • Provides protection for whistleblowers.

Guidance

ACFID has a policy template to assist signatory organisations to develop a whistleblowing policy, which can be found in the Resources Section below. Members will also find links to the whistleblowing policies of other members by looking at their websites. 

9.2.3 Members protect the safety, security and well- being of staff and volunteers.

Verifier

  • Policy, procedure or guidance document outlining the requirements for the safety, security and travel for staff and volunteers
  • Appropriate travel insurances
  • Guidelines for staff travel
  • Anti-bullying and anti-sexual harassment policies
  • Workplace, Health and Safety policy and training for staff and volunteers.

Guidance

The work of development and humanitarian assistance organisations often places great demands on staff and volunteers in conditions of complexity and risk.  In the Resources Section below, you will find information to assist your organisation in the development of appropriate policies, guidelines and training, which further the protection, safety, security and well-being of your personnel. 

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code. Rather, they provide a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Members have a focal point for Occupational Health and Safety.                 
  • Members have counselling support services available to staff.  
  • Members, staff and volunteers are aware of, and have access to, a range of professional development opportunities across and outside the sector.
  • Members maintain an incident register which is periodically reviewed by management and governing body.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Policies and procedures

  • Ensure human resources policies and procedures are in line with the values of your organisation and with employment legislation
  • Set them out in writing, addressing at a minimum:
    • Recruitment and selection
    • Remuneration and benefits
    • Equity and diversity
    • Staff training and development
    • Performance management
    • Conduct in the workplace
    • Integrity (including confidentiality and conflict of interest)
    • Grievance procedures
    • Occupational Health and Safety
    • Unacceptable behaviours (see list below under ‘Conduct in the workplace’)
  • Regularly monitor and review them according to how well they meet legal and regulatory requirements, organisational and programme aims, and reasonable considerations of effectiveness, fairness and transparency.
  • Familiarise staff with policies and practices that affect them
  • Provide appropriate guidance and training to managers to implement policies effectively. 

Occupational Health and Safety

  • The aim of occupational health and safety (OH&S) is to eliminate or reduce the risk of injuries and illness associated with work.
  • Identify the risks that face staff in Australia and overseas, and develop policy and procedures to manage these risks. For the system to work effectively, staff need to be aware of, understand and be trained to follow relevant policies and procedures. OH&S policies typically include:
    • Workplace risk assessment
    • Leave arrangements
    • Security arrangements
    • Insurance arrangements
    • Staff care arrangements, such as medical and counselling services
    • Communications protocols
    • Travel and accommodation protocols
    • Accident and incident protocols
    • Emergency protocols
    • Emergency contacts

Overseas staff

  • There are additional occupation health and safety considerations for staff and volunteers working overseas. The People in Aid Standard recognises that the work of relief and development agencies often places great demands on staff in conditions of complexity and risk.
  • Use the People in Aid Standard to guide your policy and procedures. It identifies a range of actions to demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of staff. It recommends:
    • Developing program plans that include a written assessment of security, travel and health risks specific to the relevant country or region, and reviewing them at appropriate intervals
    • Before international assignments, ensure staff receive a health clearance, a verbal and written briefing on all risks relevant to the role and clear advice on agency obligations and individual responsibilities in relation to possible risks
    • Put measures in place to mitigate those risks, including insurance
    • Provide update briefings when new equipment, procedures or risks are identified
    • Regularly review security plans including evacuation procedures
    • Offer all staff a debriefing or exit interview at the end of any contract or assignment
    • Make health checks, personal counselling and careers advice available to overseas staff. 

Humanitarian workers

  • In recognition that humanitarian work is often stressful, the Antares Foundation has developed Guidelines for Good Practice which provide practical suggestions for organisations to provide good psychosocial care for its staff. Utilise the Guidelines for Good Practice to guide your policy and procedures. Its recommends you:
    • Develop a written and active policy to prevent or mitigate the effects of stress
    • Systematically screen and/or assess the capacity of staff to respond to, and cope with, the anticipated stresses of a position or contract
    • Ensure that all staff have appropriate pre-assignment preparation and training in managing stress.
    • Monitor staff response on an ongoing basis
    • Provide training and support on an ongoing basis to help staff manage daily stress
    • Provide staff with specific and culturally appropriate support in the wake of critical or traumatic incidents, and other unusual and unexpected sources of severe stress
    • Provide practical, emotional and culturally appropriate support for staff at the end of an assignment or contract
    • Have clear written policies with respect to the ongoing support it offers staff who have been adversely impacted by exposure to stress and trauma during assignments

Professional Development

  • Supporting the growth and development of your individual employees and volunteers can be done within both large and small signatory organisations. You are obliged to provide adequate resources and an environment for this to take place.
  • Instil a culture of learning through your recruitment, planning, monitoring and review processes, by:
    • Including in personnel policies the availability of training, development and learning opportunities, and making staff and volunteers aware of them
    • Developing and establishing robust recruitment, selection and induction processes that emphasise learning
    • Including learning opportunities and discussion in a range of areas such as:
      • Team planning
      • Performance management
      • Program monitoring
      • Evaluation frameworks and activities
    • Including explicit provision for training in plans and budgets
    • Offering internal and external formal training opportunities
    • Providing mentoring, coaching and peer support of staff, volunteers or governing body members
    • Granting opportunities for staff and volunteers to build skills ‘on the job’ by working in different areas and roles
    • Using formal organisational reflection processes such as organisational strategic planning and review
  • It is well established that a learning approach that blends different methods, and targets individual learning styles will lead to the best outcomes. Specific training and development activities should be offered to your employees and volunteers at all points of their engagement
  • Develop clear job descriptions that are the foundation upon which training and development activities are built
  • Implement a structured orientation and induction process for all employees, volunteers and governing body members
  • Provide training, so that staff and volunteers can meet the basic competencies for the role
  • Provide mentoring, coaching, and peer support
  • Identify the knowledge, skills and abilities that your organisation will need in the future
  • Conduct regular performance reviews
  • Align individual development plans to work outcomes and career development 

Resources

Commitment 9.3 We manage our people effectively and fairly.

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. 

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.

Guidance

Human resources policies and procedures should be in-line with the values of your organisation, and with 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. 

9.3.2 Members comply with human resource regulatory requirements and legislation.

Verifier

Human resource policies and procedures that are consistent with, and reflect industrial relations, legislation and relevant agreements or awards in Australia, as well as in countries of operation.

Guidance

When developing human resources policies and procedures, Members should be informed by relevant legislation, including the National Employment Standards, the Privacy Act 1988, the Fair Work Act 2009, the Racial Discrimination Act 1984, the Sex Discrimination Act 1992, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. There are links to these pieces of legislation in the Resources Section below. Members will also need to refer to relevant legislation in overseas countries of operation.

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.

Guidance

All processes that relate to performance management, grievance and disciplinary action should be clearly documented and made available to staff and volunteers upon employment and then on a continuously accessible basis. Some organisations may include these policies in an employee handbook, or may have them available in an accessible policy bank such as a shared drive or an intranet. Processes that Members might consider include:

  • ensuring that staff have clear work objectives and performance standards,
  • staff know whom they report to and what management support they will receive, and
  • that there is a clear and known mechanism for reviewing staff performance. 

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code. Rather, they provide a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Members appoint a dedicated governing body member or staff person to human resource management.
  • Members are aware of and comply with the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement
  • Members have merit-based and transparent processes for filling vacancies.
  • Members have transparent processes for filling vacancies

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Provide a work environment that fosters fairness, equity, and respect for social and cultural diversity, and one that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment and vilification
  • Embed human rights principles in the vision, purpose and values of your organisational charter, related objectives in your strategic plan and your human resources policies
  • Develop a policy statement regarding unacceptable conduct in the workplace
  • Conduct recruitment and selection processes that promote equity and diversity
  • Train managers and staff on human rights in the workplace
  • Actively address barriers to hiring and progression in employment to promote diversity and equity
  • Promote practices to build trust between managers, staff and volunteers
  • Ensure that staff and volunteers are aware of their rights and their responsibilities
  • Create and implement a confidential complaints or grievances processes
  • Regularly review employment legislation.

Gender equity and disability

  • Gender equity and disability have been highlighted as areas of particular focus for the aid and development sector. Policies and guidelines can address inequities faced by women and people with a disability, aiming to achieve fairness and justice and to reduce barriers to participation in and receiving the benefits of aid and development activities. Examples of these include:
    • Provide flexible work hours for carers of children
    • Consider subsidising child care costs
    • Provide all necessary support and services to staff, board members and volunteers with a disability
    • Make a statement of commitment to achieving gender balance in delegations, boards and other decision-making bodies

Resources

Commitment 9.4 We enable our people to conduct themselves professionally and according to our stated values.

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. 

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.

Guidance

A Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers needs to be tailored to the values and principles of an organisation. The types of areas addressed within a Code of Conduct might include responsible stewardship of resources, fraud and corruption prevention, occupational health and safety, conflict of interest, privacy, professional relationships, child protection, protecting confidential information, record keeping, and intellectual property.

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.

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 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.
 

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code. Rather, they provide a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Members’ governing bodies and staff undertake ACFID Code of Conduct training.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Awareness of Code of Conduct

  • Require your staff, volunteers and board members to undertake the ACFID ‘Introduction to the Code’ training module. It is available online and can be completed at the user’s own pace. Include their Certificate of Completion with their individual files.
  • Ensure that your organisation’s own Code of Conduct reflects the core principles and values of the ACFID Code
  • Conduct comprehensive training during induction for staff, volunteers and board members on the ACFID Code and the implications of the Code for their role within the organisation
  • Ensure appropriate policies and procedures, contracts, job descriptions and duty statements reflect the Code’s standards, obligations and values
  • Refer to the Code during performance appraisals
  • Involve staff from all parts of the organisation when undertaking the ACFID Compliance Self-Assessment

Conduct in the workplace

  • All staff have a duty of care to others and should treat each other with courtesy and respect and refrain from harassment or discrimination. However, this is not always simple. Different social and cultural standards may lead to confusion as to what behaviour is acceptable and reasonable. To ensure clarity, develop and document a statement of unacceptable behaviours in your human resources policies and procedures, i.e. behaviour in the workplace that has the potential to create a risk to a staff member's health and safety. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include, but are not limited to:
    • Bullying
    • Emotional, psychological or physical violence or abuse
    • Occupational violence
    • Coercion, harassment and discrimination
    • Aggressive and abusive behaviour
    • Unreasonable demands and undue persistence
    • Disruptive behaviour
    • Aggressive or abusive behaviour such as threatening gestures or actual violence or assault
    • Verbal abuse such as yelling, screaming, abusive or offensive language
    • Being under the influence of illicit drugs or impaired by alcohol
    • Unsafe work practices or behaviour which may harm the staff member or others
    • Bullying, harassment or intimidation
    • Stalking
    • Unwelcome physical contact including that of a sexual, intimate or threatening nature
    • Teasing, name calling, ridicule or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes
    • Withholding approval for or denial of requests maliciously, discriminatorily, unfairly or without basis
    • Excluding or isolating individuals
    • Undermining the performance, reputation or professionalism of others by deliberately withholding information, resources or authorisation, or by supplying incorrect information
    • Malicious or mischievous gossip or complaints
    • Abusive or harassing communication (such as notes, emails, telephone calls and text messages) during or after working hours
    • Belittling opinions or unreasonable and unconstructive criticism
    • Offensive gestures and behaviour
    • Stealing or misuse of organisational resources
    • Viewing inappropriate images or pornography in hard copy or electronically
  • Develop and document a ‘Code of Conduct’ for staff that addresses how staff and volunteers should treat other staff and volunteer members and outlines unacceptable behaviours.
  • Document a reporting or complaints process to respond to unacceptable behaviour, and ensure that this process is readily accessible to the governing body, staff and volunteers. Any reports need to be taken seriously by your organisation and handled in a confidential manner, taking into account the principles of impartiality and fairness.
  • You are obliged to take action if you become aware of unacceptable behaviour that may have an adverse effect on the well-being of staff or volunteers or which places children at risk. Such action may include disciplinary action. 

Resources