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CARE's Accountability Framework
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A number of offices across the organisation is focusing on institutionalising CARE's accountability commitments - building accountable practices into all aspects of their work and making it a core part of their culture. These offices are profiled below, with links to key tools and good practices that they have in place. If you would like your office to be represented on this page and have good practices to share, please
Table of Contents
CARE Peru: A Decade of Leadership in Accountability
CARE Uganda: Accountability with partners
CARE Egypt’s team emphasizes accountability across their internal and external engagements. This includes creating mechanisms for holding management accountable to staff and using social accountability mechanisms with partners to monitor public services. They see that these are interconnected - a way of modeling internally the good governance and social accountability work they promote externally. The team has developed formal processes to support accountability, including embedding mechanisms in key systems and processes, e.g. staff councils, HR practices, program design and M&E. There is an expectation set that internal and external feedback and complaints are addressed in a timely manner and that feedback from staff has a set response timeframe as well. But the team emphasises that the informal spaces are just as important. They feel strongly that accountability cannot be reduced to a bullet point in someone’s job description and should not be reduced to compliance. Instead, it should be founded on values and be part of an active, open and accountable culture maintained by management and all staff.
Below are several mechanisms that have helped promote this culture in
1. Accountability with Staff
a) 360 Feedback Template
CARE Egypt has developed an internal feedback mechanism that seeks feedback from direct reports, peers, and those who staff report to against core values and competencies markers. These markers are respect, GED acumen, adaptability, stress tolerance, operational decision making, managing performance, negotiation, building partnerships/commitment/collaborative relationships and facilitating change.
Internal Use Form -Appendix 360 - Competencies Assessment.xlsx
CARE Egypt Staff Council
The Staff Council in CARE Egypt is an internal accountability mechanism in the form of a small elected body established “to achieve better internal governance and control, as well as to enhance the sense of ownership and belonging through the involvement of employees in the organization's affairs”. The Council through a ToR has a clear set of roles and competencies to carry out including to ‘hold the program management and program support management teams accountable with respect to decisions, justifications behind decisions, and the guidelines that regulate them’.
The Staff Council engages in and is consulted on not only on programmatic issues but also on strategic (closing and opening of offices, organisational structures, and policy decisions) and operational issues (HR, staff concerns, knowledge management) concerning the office. CARE Egypt is considering using a smaller staff committee selected from within the staff council to work closely with the senior management team (SMT) to fast-track the process of institutionalizing accountability and to maintain a direct channel with the SMT on on-going issues raised by partners and programme participants.
Transparency about decision-making processes
Decision Making Matrix final approved on 14 March 017.xlsx
2. Accountability with partners and communities
a) A participatory design approach
has institutionalised participatory design approaches along with their partners. Because proposal development timeframes are usually too short to undertake a full participatory design, the country team actively solicits concept notes from local partners and conducts consultations with communities to better understand priorities and aspirations in advance of any calls for proposals. At the design and concept notes submission state, an emphasis is placed on the right partner for that particular project, especially looking at their level of mobility and access to community participants, and ability to collect local feedback on the draft concept. This forward planning has enabled the team to closely align local needs to the proposal and to build stronger relations with partners. It has also helped to establish and maintain better communication channels and introduce the philosophy and CARE’s model of accountability to the stakeholders early on.
3. Complaints mechanisms
CARE-Egypt welcomes any feedback or complaint from employees, stakeholders, local partners, and venders who have the right to complain if they face any corruption, sexual harassment, child abuse or any kind of violation of rights, dignity, or organizational core values by the organization or its staff.
complaint Matrix April 2017_HZ.docx
Complaint Policy for CARE-Egypt.pdf
CARE Ethiopia has defined accountability as one of its core values and principles when working with its partners and communities and is committed to giving more voice to the communities it serves in the design, implementation, and review of projects. Through this approach, CARE Ethiopia wants to better listen and respond to the concern of its different stakeholders and in particular to the women and girls whose lives CARE seeks to improve. CARE Ethiopia has already established a clear organisational accountability system and distinguished various levels of accountability: internal, lateral, upward and forward accountability which are defined in the Accountability Policy below. Additionally, they developed a set of 8 accountability benchmarks to be applied in their work. Finally, embedding accountability practices into daily activities, projects implementation and M&E processes ensure that all Staff at CARE Ethiopia is responsible for the promotion of accountability in the organisation and will contribute to a better impact of CARE’s work.
CARE Ethiopia Organisational Accountability Framework
CARE Ethiopia Organizational Accountability Policy Framework GC edit.docx
CARE Peru: A Decade of Leadership in Accountability
In the wake of the 2007 earthquake, Peru incorporated in its emergency response a number of mechanisms which allowed the affected population to understand and influence programming and provide critical feedback. Over the following years, that practice evolved into a more systematic approach to forward accountability. Since then, accountability practice has been incorporated progressively in the CO through the implementation of the Institutional Policy for Accountability and Transparency, and has become a core part of its work and its reputation in the country particularly when it transitioned to become a local civil society organisation.
CARE Peru began piloting accountability systems within two regional offices using these four components:
Publicly disclosing information
: building better relationships, respect, and trust with other stakeholders, offering information on what we are doing and achieving and ensuring a continuous dialogue;
Participation and decision making
: involving stakeholders in decision making related to our interventions, defining mutual responsibilities from the beginning to the end of each intervention;
Managing feedback, complaints and suggestions
: opening opportunities to receive feedback offered by our stakeholders whether positive or negative, responding in timely fashion to improve the impact of our interventions; and
: establishing internal management that is open to learning and continuous improvement with staff, improving the quality and impact of our relationships with other stakeholders.
citizen oversight committees
made up of community and local civil society members provided citizen-led external monitoring of CARE’s work. CARE was able to improve the quality of our programmes by responding to three issues that were reported by these comités de vigilancia (citizen oversight committees):
Timely access to credit should be improved
Free phone lines are important, and their coverage needs to be extended
The Promotion of gender mainstreaming in programming should be improved
CARE Peru Accountability Guide
CARE Peru Accountability Guide.pdf
CARE International in Peru - Case Study
In thinking how to strengthen accountability in Rwanda, the Country Office decided to begin with internal relationships and introduced a ‘
’ conducted twice a year. It is used to provide a formal avenue for gathering and responding to staff feedback on management decisions (performance quality), on set priorities and directions for the country programme. Staff reaches a consensus rating on management performance at an ‘interface meeting’.
The objectives of the management scorecard are:
To provide a formal avenue for engaging dialogue between staff and management on sensitive and tangible issues
To enable and respond to staff feedback on management (SMT) decisions; specifically, on set priorities and directions for the CO.
To measure and improve the quality of working environment and relationships, within the framework of AOP, SMT ToR, policies, and procedures
To enable the CO management to improve its performance
Management rate themselves on the same tool and then both results are compared, discussed and improvements agreed on. CO leaders state that this has led to almost immediate improvements in staff motivation and relationships, and made the next phase – broadening externally to partners and communities – much easier.
CO leaders enthusiastically state that this led to almost immediate improvements in staff motivation and relationships, and made the next phase – broadening externally to partners and communities – much easier. They report that there is no finger-pointing, and as staff came to see this as normal, their fear to give critical feedback dropped.
Management finds it helpful to manage expectations, and it builds collective commitment and energy. They claim that this approach of leading by example – start by making management accountable and demonstrating the benefits – works better than trying to impose accountability through compliance standards and reporting that can feel very rigid. ‘Accountability must be lived, not imposed’, they say. ‘The staff of CARE needs to have a voice if you want to ask them to give impact groups a voice. Accountability becomes less threatening if people see it as part of the culture that applies to everyone’. CARE Rwanda is also experimenting with an electronic information sharing and feedback system with partners and impact groups through mobile phones.
CARE UK hosts the Inclusive Governance programme outcome area on behalf of CARE International and is committed to reflecting dimensions of their social accountability approach within the organisation. One of the key mechanisms set up to design and take forward this effort is the Staff Representative Group (SRG), an internal accountability space designed to hold the senior management team (SMT) to account. The group arose out of a demand from staff for a more systematic and institutionalized means for SMT to justify and communicate decisions, and most importantly, to generate a safe space for staff to voice their concerns. The SRG is a nominated group of up to 5 staff members representing the different departments within CARE UK. Their role is essentially one of liaison between staff and the SMT, to provide information, ensure that unrecognized issues are raised and advocate for these with the SMT. The SRG has various channels for staff to raise issues or provide feedback:
A staff reps email address and log;
A suggestions box (which has fallen by the wayside due to lack of use);
Staff satisfaction surveys;
A staff forum; and
Periodic meetings with the SMT, HR, and the CEO. As a result of the SRG’s activities, CARE UK staff have also been able to ensure union recognition – SMT has recognized the Unite union – and recently elected 3 representatives (“shop stewards”). Now, the SRG acts alongside these shop stewards who have the mandate to negotiate with SMT on pay, organizational structure, and working conditions.
CI UK Social Accountability Overview
CIUK Social accountability 2pp insert.pdf
CARE Uganda: Accountability with partners
CARE Uganda has long been a champion in social accountability mechanisms. They use community-based monitoring systems, and they are focusing on scaling these practices up. With a local context marked by corruption, CARE Uganda feels that any approach to accountability must be institutionalised
. Teams are looking for new ways to amplify the voices of citizens and local organisations.
CARE Uganda has a long history working in partnership with civil society organisations or government partners in different programmatic areas such as Women and Youth Financial Inclusion, Natural Resources Governance and Women Empowerment. Through diverse projects, CARE Uganda has been extremely strong in encouraging
mutually beneficial partnerships and in strengthening capacity-building
that helped partners to be more sustainable in the longer-term.
The openness, flexibility, and support
of CARE staff have also been the conditions to build “partnership of equity”.
The ‘CARE Uganda Partnership Strategy’ developed in 2011 (see below) marked the first attempt to design a clear strategy to systematize CARE Uganda ’s approach to partners and helped in identifying the 4 main steps to build a
successful and accountable partnership
: 1) Scoping and building, 2) Managing and Maintaining, 3) Reviewing and Revising, 4) Sustain and/or moving on.
Last year in August in 2017, CARE Uganda organised a two days’ workshop, the ‘Partner Reflection Meeting’ (see report below), which stands as a new practice for improved communication and coordination between the implementing partners, based on
honesty and transparency
. Partners highly appreciated being given the opportunity to meet together and share openly on what has worked in the partnership and what needed to be improved in the near future. Therefore, CARE Uganda Office’s experience offers a great example of how CARE implements accountability practices with its partners.
However, long-term partners are also willing to see a new shift in CARE’s role that would lessen their dependencies on CARE and allow them to have a leading role in the national scene. They wish to see CARE able to take more risks advocating on local issues at the international level, and ready to stand behind them instead of protecting their own interests as an INGO.
More recent partnering experiences in Northern Uganda in humanitarian contexts are also significantly challenging CARE’s current business model while bringing the localisation debates at the forefront on how to reinforce local partners capacities during emergency responses.
A recent case-study conducted with CARE Uganda in February 2018 is shared below. It captures the key dimensions of CARE's Uganda accountability practices with some of its partners and includes main findings and suggestions for improvement.
Case-Study: CARE Uganda accountability practices with partners
Case-Study CARE Uganda_finalversion_May2018.pdf
CARE Uganda Partnership Strategy
CARE Uganda Partnership Strategy 2012.pdf
The Road to Building Resilient and Strong Partnerships; Hopes and Dilemmas; Story By Delphine Mugisha.
All CARE implementing partners meeting - for merge.pdf
All CARE Partners Reflection Meeting Report
All Partners Reflection Meeting Report.docx
Foret Resource Sector Transparency Program in Uganda 2013-2017
Improving Governance in the Forest Sector Approaches, Experiences and lessons
20180314 Carebook design 3.pdf
Text Box: CARE Egypt complaints mechanism CARE-Egypt welcomes any feedback or complaint from employee, stakeholders, local partners and venders who have the right to complain if they face any corruption, sexual harassment, child abuse or any kind of violation of rights, dignity, or organizational core values by the organization or its staff.
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