Accountable Now Members are required to report annually against the 12 Accountability Commitments. A comprehensive reporting framework allows us to assess if these promises are being delivered. An independent review mechanism ensures integrity and credibility.
Reporting and Assessment Framework
With the Global Standard for CSO Accountability, we have developed globally accepted key criteria for what makes a good civil society organisation (CSO). The Global Standard’s 12 Accountability Commitments have replaced our Charter of 10 Accountability Commitments, after being adopted by our Members at our 2017 annual general meeting (AGM). This naturally called for a review of the reporting guidelines and assessment criteria.
The new Reporting and Assessment Framework aims to make our reporting and assessment process global and timely in a way that delivers comparable data in plain language. This framework has been prepared in consultation with the Independent Review Panel, the Accountable Now Secretariat and a review committee of five Accountable Now Members.
Under the new framework, it is suggested to have no standardised format for accountability reports. Information on how Members fulfil their accountability commitments could be delivered in any way that best serves the following three objectives:
- Allow stakeholders to hold the organisation to account.
- Trigger positive organisational developments.
- Allow the Independent Review Panel a smooth and proper assessment
When assessing accountability reports, the Independent Review Panel will use both overarching and cluster-level assessment criteria. In their assessment, the Panel will take into consideration the mission of the organisation and its operating model, including whether it works mainly via partners or delivers direct services.
The Panel will use the following set of overarching assessment criteria:
- Convincing evidence that all key decisions taken in the organisation are based on sound knowledge of, and are responsive to, stakeholders.
- Evidence that key stakeholders are well identified, continuously included in relevant stages of work, and have shown good engagement and ownership.
- Overall evidence that the organisation has effective and responsible governance and management (i.e. is well-run).
- A sound plan for improving weak areas and clarity on objectives, resources and cross-organisational responsibilities for implementation.
The Panel will provide qualitative feedback in addition to a quantitative assessment on each of the four overarching criteria above.
Additionally, the Reporting Questions are set at cluster level: a) impact achieved, b) stakeholder involvement and c) organisational effectiveness. The Panel will provide qualitative feedback as well as traffic lights (i.e. red, amber or green) for each set of questions at cluster level.
|Cluster||Impact achieved||Stakeholder Involvement||Organisational effectiveness|
|1) Justice and equality
2) Women’s rights and gender equality
3) Healthy planet
4) Lasting positive change
|5) People-driven work
6) Strong partnerships
7)Advocating for fundamental change
8) Open organisations
|9) Empowered and effective staff and volunteers
10) Well-handled resources
11) Responsive decision-making
12) Responsible leadership
The review process itself is laid out in the Reporting and Assessment Framework. New Accountable Now Members have to submit their first accountability report no later than 18 months after the end of their financial year in which they joined Accountable Now. In the following reports, members have to report annually, no later than 6 months after the end of their financial year. Members with an exceptional track record and high standard of reporting are eligible to report in full every two years.
Once Members have handed in their Accountability Reports, the Secretariat pre-screens the reports before they are forwarded to the Independent Review Panel for in-depth and individual feedback. Recommended areas for progress are summarised by the Panel in an enclosed Improvement Analysis. The Panel consists of internationally-recognised experts from around the globe, with backgrounds in development, human rights, business and academia. It is an honorary appointment, which ensures the credibility and integrity of the reporting process.
All Members are invited to comment on the Panel’s feedback to the report. These comments are published on Accountable Now’s website along with the Accountability Report and the Panel’s feedback letter. Click here to view all Members’ reports, which have been reviewed by the Panel since 2009.
If you have ideas on how to further improve the overall reporting process, the Accountable Now Secretariat looks forward to receiving your feedback.