OUR QUALITY STANDARDS
Tearfund aims to work to the highest possible standards with integrity and transparency. We have identified a set of corporate Quality Standards in support of our vision and the delivery of our strategy which are in keeping with the organisational characteristics we aspire to and which summarise all of the relevant external and internal accountability and quality standards, codes, guidelines and principles to which we are committed:
We are committed to living out our core values through our staff and with our partners in relationships with all those with whom we interact.
- Impartiality & Targeting
We are committed to reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised, selected on the basis of need alone, regardless of their race, religion or nationality.
We are committed to being fully accountable to project participants, communities, partners, supporters and donors for the work we undertake and for the resources entrusted to us. We adhere to a Supporters' Charter that sets out how we respond to our supporters' needs, queries and complaints.
We are committed to empowering staff and partners and to seeing that the work that we support has a lasting impact, being built on local ownership and using local skills and resources.
We are committed to influencing key decision-makers to make and implement policies and practices that work in favour of people who are poor and vulnerable.
We are committed to the development and protection of children, carrying out activities that are child-sensitive in their planning, design and implementation.
We are committed to seeing transformation through restored relationships between men, women, boys and girls and ensuring equal value, participation and decision making by all.
We are committed to working for an HIV free world by reducing the vulnerability of poor communities to HIV and reducing its subsequent impact.
We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment, to assessing vulnerability to climate change and environmental degradation and to working with local communities to ensure that we support, not harm, the natural and socio-economic environment.
- Disaster Risk
We are committed to reducing the risk of disaster by strengthening local capacity and reducing vulnerability to hazards.
We are committed to promoting peace and reconciliation, supporting activities which impact positively upon situations of conflict and that safeguard staff and project participants.
- Technical Quality
We are committed to supporting projects that reflect the priorities of those we seek to assist and that are guided by relevant technical standards and good practices.
The purpose of Tearfund’s Quality Standards is to ensure that those we serve benefit from the increased quality, effectiveness and impact of the work that we undertake. Our Quality Standards provide us with a framework: serving as a tool for staff recruitment, induction, training and performance management; serving as a tool for partner capacity development; to inform the work of project designers; and as a critical part of project monitoring, evaluation, learning and continuous improvement. In supporting our partners, Tearfund’s approach is not to impose but to facilitate support to partners who share our commitment to good practice and improvement, and to seek to improve the quality of our partnerships. They are not intended to be used as a “pass/fail” checklist and the framework recognises that questions of quality rarely involve simple “yes/no” answers, but require analysis, transparency and continual improvement.
Tearfund has produced a corporate action plan in which the standards are presented with an overall baseline assessment, along with a high level implementation plan to address areas where more work is needed, as guided by our Programme Development Advisors and other specialists. Each commitment is supported with good practice guidance, case studies and key learning, which are intended to provide practical support for their implementation.
The Quality Standards framework enables staff and partners with project participants to assess their context and agree which standards are priorities for their situation. Whilst there is always a need to prioritise, Tearfund has identified three minimum requirements from within the twelve Quality Standards which apply in all situations:
In upholding our core values we have zero tolerance for all forms of exploitation and abuse, fraud, bribery and any other conduct which is incompatible with these values. This means verifying that the projects which Tearfund supports do not lead to increases in the vulnerability of children or of women; vulnerability to HIV; vulnerability to violence or physical harm; or that contribute to environmental degradation.
- Impartiality & Targeting
The provision of assistance must always be provided on the basis of need alone. This means that clear criteria are needed to identify those who are most vulnerable.
In being accountable to those we seek to serve as project participants, to partners, to supporters and donors we are fully committed to the core principles of participation, transparency in sharing information, listening and responding to feedback and complaints, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on activities and managing funds efficiently.
It may at certain times be necessary to overlook certain Quality Standards in order to uphold the safety of project participants or staff. For example it may sometimes be necessary to avoid sharing information which identifies project participants and their entitlements in order to uphold their safety. Any such decisions are to be clearly documented.
International codes and STANDARDs
As well as setting high standards for ourselves in our Quality Standards, we’ve signed up to a range of internationally recognised operating codes and standards because they enshrine our principles of respecting the people we work with. These codes and standards have helped to shape our choice of Quality Standards:
- The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
Tearfund is signatory of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. The code sets out ten foundational principles and signatories are required to endeavour to incorporate these principles into their work based on voluntary compliance. This code includes principles such as impartiality, accountability, participation, dignity, building capacity and reducing vulnerability, which are reflected within Tearfund’s Quality Standards.
- The HAP 2007 Standard in Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management
Consistent with our commitment to Accountability, Tearfund has been a member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) since it was established in 2003. HAP certifies members that comply with the HAP Standard in Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management using a system of independent verification against industry recognised standards carried out by external auditors. Tearfund achieved quality assurance certification for its Emergency Responses on 22 Dec 2011. The certification is granted for a three year period. Tearfund has an action plan to guide continual improvement against its Accountability Framework.
- The Keeping Children Safe Coalition standards
Tearfund was a founding member of the Keeping Children Safe Coalition, first established in 2003, and has a child protection policy which was last updated in 2009. The Coalition is made up of agencies who are committed to child protection, aim to achieve the highest level of protection for children with whom they come into contact and to work towards achieving the international standards developed by the Keeping Children Safe Coalition through voluntary compliance.
- The UN Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and non-UN Personnel
Tearfund became a signatory to the Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and non UN Personnel in 2008. The statement commits signatories to incorporate core principles relating to combating sexual exploitation and abuse into their codes of conduct and staff rules and regulations.
- The SPHERE Project – Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
We are committed to the technical quality of our projects as laid out in the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response and reflected in our Quality Standard focusing on Technical Quality. The Sphere Handbook, last updated in 2004, sets out what people affected by disasters have a right to expect from humanitarian assistance, with the aim to improve the quality of assistance provided and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response. Adoption of Sphere standards by organisations is based on a system of voluntary compliance.
- The People in Aid Code of Good Practice in the management and support of aid personnel
Tearfund’s standards in employment practice and management are verified compliant with the People in Aid Code of Good Practice in the management and support of Aid Personnel, an internationally recognised management tool that helps agencies enhance the quality of their human resources management. Tearfund was a founding member of People in Aid and was first verified compliant in 1999. Verification is awarded through an external audit process. Tearfund was last audited in 2009 and continues to be verified as compliant.
- The Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV
Our commitment to addressing HIV is guided by the Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV. The Code sets out key principles, practice and evidence base required for successful responses to HIV. In endorsing the Code, organisations commit to continuous improvement and accountability.
Tearfund also makes reference to UN declarations to guide its Quality Standards:
Stakeholders and affiliations
We wish to hold ourselves to account to our main stakeholders for these standards and will make them publicly available in formats appropriate for each:
- Project participants: the standards selected are first and foremost to be responsive to the needs and priorities of project participants (via our partners, and via notice boards, leaflets, community meetings etc.).
- Our partners (via Country Representatives, in Tearfund’s International Programme Management System etc.).
- Our supporters (via the website).
- Our institutional donors (via project proposals and reports).
- Our staff (via the Tearfund intranet, staff induction and internal communications).
- Our Board (via Board Meeting Agenda items and meetings).
Tearfund has a number of affiliations with other organisations, for which these Quality Standards are relevant, including: