Transparency and Accountability

The IFRC believes that effective risk management and the development of a culture of accountability and transparency are critical and form part of a robust and comprehensive accountability framework that contributes to sound management practices.

This approach, guided by the accountability framework set out within the Principles and Rules for Red Cross Red Crescent Humanitarian Assistance, is detailed within the IFRC Accountability and Transparency Plan of Action, which covers the 2014-2015 calendar year and corresponds to the IFRC Plan and Budget 2014-2015. The plan sets out the key improvements to accountability and transparency systems, with a particular focus on the IFRC’s role as an intermediary grant-making organization.

This Plan of Action is part of a wider effort to operationalize the IFRC Accountability Framework methodology. While the framework itself focuses on the full variety of stakeholders (donors, host governments, internal stakeholders, beneficiaries and other), the plan primarily describes the IFRC’s accountability-related commitments towards donors, member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and beneficiaries. It provides a consolidated overview of planned activities comprised within the IFRC’s 2014-2015 Plan and Budget. The plan should be regarded as a work in process and will be updated regularly to include our commitments towards all other stakeholder groups.

The independent audits to which the organization submits itself annually demonstrate that the necessary accountability procedures, systems and controls are in place and are generally well-respected. The IFRC is systematically strengthening these controls by implementing a complaints mechanism for beneficiaries and by revising existing procedures.  Through the plan of action, the IFRC intends to lift its level of accountability to be among the best within the humanitarian sector.

Transparency

On its website, the IFRC  shares detailed operational financial and narrative information, as well as external audit reports and evaluations. As needed, further information is available in accordance with the IFRC`s information disclosure policy. The organization reserves the right to limit sharing of some information to safeguard the security of individuals, protect the confidentiality of personal data, and to protect the integrity and effectiveness of internal control and management processes.  Strong principles of transparency, however, guide these disclosures.

Funding to National Societies and National Society systems

The IFRC provides funding support to member National Societies. As a learning organization, we regularly review our systems to improve our support and accountability. 

As part of this continuous improvement cycle, efforts are underway to review standard project and partnership agreements with implementing partners to ensure those agreement reflect recent additions to policies and procedures, including the fraud and corruption prevention and control policy and the central reporting of suspected cases of corruption on a timely basis. The reporting mechanism will include advising relevant partners and reporting on progress and activities in a regular, timely and systematic manner. Future agreements will include clauses reflecting most recent best practices in accountability, transparency and risk management. 

Accountability will further be addressed as the IFRC works with National Societies to expand the mechanisms through which people who are served by programmes can provide feedback and engage directly in programme planning and implementation. The successful application of mobile technology in Haiti for beneficiary communications will be replicated. Through its plan of action for 2014-2015, the IFRC aims to ensure beneficiary feedback and complaint mechanisms are in place for all international emergency operations.

In addition, the capacities of up to 40 National Societies will be strengthened to enable meaningful consultation and involvement of the people and communities reached by Red Cross Red Crescent programmes and activities. The IFRC secretariat will also seek further investment in technology to support programme delivery (e.g. cash distribution programmes) and connectivity with National Societies (e.g. Digital Divide programme).



Guidance & Training

The IFRC has developed and delivered numerous training programmes in risk management and is committed to continuing this proactive approach on accountability matters. The IFRC continuously reviews its approaches and seeks to further enhance the culture of accountability, transparency and risk management, including in its collaboration with partners.  

In accordance with IFRC Plan and Budget for 2014-2015, IFRC is investing in implementation of the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Awareness policy, including the development of learning modules to reach volunteers, staff, managers and partners efficiently. The long-standing Code of Conduct and Staff Regulations promote ethical behavior, and the organization actively promotes a culture of transparency and accountability.

Additionally, we will articulate a dedicated whistle blower policy to compliment the protections and norms already articulated. We are evaluating the most efficient way to extend independent whistle blowing channels to external parties.