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Development of an Accountability Framework for CARE International. May 2012. Why was an Accountability Framework needed?. Research (e.g. a ECB study in 2007) found agencies had too many standards, principles and guidelines…confusing , rather than helping field staff.

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Development of an accountability framework for care international

Development of an Accountability Framework for CARE International

May 2012

Why was an accountability framework needed
Why was an Accountability Framework needed?

  • Research (e.g. a ECB study in 2007) found agencies had too many standards, principles and guidelines…confusing , rather than helping field staff.

  • Agency performance management systems and donor incentives often don’t reward application of relevant standards.

  • Agencies are not sufficiently accountable to communities, partners or even to their own internal stakeholders.

Increasing criticism of ngos
Increasing criticism of NGOs

  • Governments questioning the lack of transparency, cost-effectiveness and marginal impact by NGOs.

  • A Google search for “NGO Watchdog” returns almost 1½ million hits. Most of these links are to articles and blogs questioning the value-added of NGOs.

Accountability cloud what are we actually accountable for
Accountability “Cloud”What are we actually accountable for?

Sphere Standards

Local Culture

Local Partner Codes

National Laws

Procurement Regulations

Host Govt. Standards

Anti-Terrorist Act

Code of Conduct

Assistance Delivery

HAP Standards

Agency Operations Manual

Internal Principles

Donor Compliance

Accountability Frameworks

UN agency guidelines

Cluster Standards

Internal Project Standards

Stakeholder accountability cloud who is actually accountable for what
Stakeholder Accountability “Cloud”Who is actually accountable for what?

Peer NGOs


Local Partners

National Government


Lead Member HQ

Govt. Tech Depts.


Country Office

UN Resident Coordinator

UN Agency


Senior Management

Regional Office

Cluster Coordinator

Humanitarian Coordinator

Stakeholder power relations
Stakeholder Power Relations

More power

Less power

Trad. Leaders

Donor Reps


Host Govt.


Donor Govts.


Senior Mgmt


Nat. Tech Depts.

UN Agencies

Vulnerable Groups



Armed Groups


National NGOs

Cluster Coordinator

Local Partners

Peer Agencies

Development of an accountability framework for care international

No!!! CARE managers only ask for something simple that pulls together existing accountability commitments.

Staff want a tool that can help managers and their teams to be able to address imbalances when meeting these commitments.

Isn’t the Accountability Framework just another new initiative?

Dropping the h from the haf
Dropping the “H” from the HAF

CARE’s governance agreed that:

  • The POC, supported by a Task Force, leads the development of a CI AF

  • The AF will cover all aspects of CARE’s programming and operations

  • Communities will be a central focus

  • As many CARE staff were already using the HAF, this would be the starting point

Start with a map
Start with…a Map!

Step one: know where you’re heading…

  • What internal and external standards, principles, etc. is CARE signed up to?

  • Who within CARE has a key role in promoting accountability and how do they define it?

  • What ongoing processes can this complement?

  • What are the relevant lessons from peers?

  • What should a CARE Accountability Framework look like?

What were the main findings from this mapping study
What were the main findings from this mapping study?

  • CARE staff wish to incorporate accountability more fully into their work;

  • CARE is not sufficiently accountable to communities, our partners, our advocacy targets or the environment;

  • A big challenge is to reconcile donor compliance while increasing our accountability to communities;

  • Need more accountability between CARE members;

  • CARE staff want a robust compliance mechanism for an Accountability Framework so that it is actually applied;

  • There are many examples of existing good practice which CARE can build upon.

How could an accountability framework be put into practice
How could an Accountability Framework be put into practice?

Accountability processes

  • Communicate in an open and honest way

  • Give stakeholders a voice in our decision making

  • Actively seek feedback and complaint from others

  • Demonstrate impact, quality and effectiveness

  • Learn with and from others

    Accountability enablers

  • Demonstrate attitudes and behaviors that reflect our

  • principles and values

  • Develop appropriate systems to support accountability

  • Encourage leadership at all levels

Piloting testing steps
Piloting/Testing Steps

  • Of all our stakeholders, which are the key ones?

  • What is our relationship to our beneficiaries?

  • What are our commitments to key stakeholders?

  • Commitments and practice – what are critical gaps?

  • Which policies/processes can address gaps?

  • How can we tell whether we are meeting our commitments? What are our indicators?

  • How can the AF be improved?

Current status of the af
Current Status of the AF…

  • AF communicated and discussed within CARE

  • Agreeing on a high-level statement, alongside CARE’s Vision & Mission

  • AF and draft guidelines being tested in different CARE organisational units

  • AF is being adopted as a change management process across the organisation for CARE’s 2020 Strategy

  • Considering setting up an external reference group to support CARE

  • Pilot version of AF to be approved during 2012

Likely af structure
Likely AF Structure

  • The AF will be two pages; a one page graphic plus some narrative

  • A series of guidelines for different CARE functional units (e.g. program, finance, etc.) will be attached as annexes

  • The Humanitarian Accountability Framework will thus be replaced by an annex once the pilot AF is in place.

Some key challenges
Some Key Challenges…

  • How can we rationalize and prioritize all our commitments to produce a useful AF? What will we have to leave out? How will we need to change ourselves?

  • How can we consider the potential impact on communities during our decision-making processes?

  • How can we ensure that CARE has the necessary motivation, capacity & resources to put the AF into practice?

  • How can we still fulfill our accountability commitments when working via partners?