Accountable Now Members are required to report annually against the 12 Accountability Commitments. A comprehensive set of reporting standards allows us to assess if these promises are being delivered. An independent review mechanism ensures integrity and credibility.
After an interim reporting framework in the early years, Accountable Now engaged in a multi-stakeholder process with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to develop reporting guidelines which ensure that CSOs fulfill the same requirements we demand from governments and business.
While the partnership with GRI was crucial for CSOs to benchmark against other sectors, in 2014, the Independent Review Panel, Accountable Now Members and the Board agreed on a greater emphasis on qualitative and progress-oriented questions rather than on transparency of data only.
Today’s Reporting Guidelines are a selection of the most relevant Profile Disclosures and Performance Indicators out of the GRI NGO Sector Supplement complemented by additional questions from the Independent Review Panel. The Panel thus assesses not only policies and procedures in place, but whether these are actually used and implemented. The Panel demands evidence that approaches and activities lead to real improvements. Meeting and exceeding these reporting standards drives organisational development and sets the focus on impact.
1. Strategic commitment to accountability
2. Organisational profile
3. Report parameters
4. Governance structure and key stakeholders
I. Programme effectiveness
II. Financial management
III. Environmental management
IV. Human resource management
V. Responsible management of impacts on society
VI. Ethical fundraising and communication
The review process itself is laid out in the Reporting Requirements. Members have to report annually, no later than 12 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.
In a fast changing world Accountable Now continuously scans new developments. Lately we have seen a strong tendency of CSOs to globalise and introduce digital technology. With the Global Standard project and the People-Powered Accountability project we explore what this means for civil society’s accountability. Results will inform the upcoming review of the reporting framework in 2017. Feedback from staff, partners and beneficiaries will be put in the heart of our reporting framework.
If you have ideas on how to further improve the overall reporting process, the Accountable Now Secretariat looks forward to receiving your feedback.