CHS self-assessment

Conducting a CHS self-assessment is the first step organisations should take when committing to work in line with the Nine Commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). The self-assessment tool provides guidance and advice for organisations going through such an exercise, as well as templates allowing them to collect information, document evidence, and present results. At the end of this exercise, organisations undergoing a self-assessment will have a comprehensive picture of their strengths and weaknesses, and a solid basis to focus resources where they are most needed. After the exercise is repeated, organisations will also be able to measure progress and the impact of capacity development efforts. Self-assessments are meant to identify and recognise good practice as much as they can help identify and address issues, and are intended to be a learning tool.

Would you like to hear lessons learnt and recommendations from CHS Alliance member organisations who have already used the self-assessment tool? Listen to our 6 June 2017 Webinar.

While any organisation can freely use the tool, conducting a CHS self-assessment forms part of CHS Alliance membership requirements and follows a two-year cycle. When a member undertakes a self-assessment, it is asked to communicate any learning linked to the self-assessment tool to the Alliance. In the year after the self-assessment was conducted, members then report on progress made against an improvement plan (reporting is due at the end of that year). Two years after the initial self-assessment, members perform another self-assessment. When they submit the new self-assessment, they are asked to analyse and highlight differences and progress made in between the two most recent self-assessments.

The CHS self-assessment tool (v1.3) consists of the following eight documents and available in EnglishFrench and Spanish:

  • CHS self-assessment tool - this is the main guidance document
  • Annex A: Organisational details
  • Annex B: List of key documents
  • Annex C: Community-level questions
  • Annex D: Organisations working with partners
  • Annex E: Self-assessment summary report
  • Annex F: CHS scoring summary
  • Annex G: Feedback on the self-assessment tool


Please note that the self-assessment tool is currently only available in English, French and Spanish. If you would like to support translations, in particular in Arabic, please email us. Note, however, that consolidated self-assessment reports need to be submitted in English.

Self-assessment tool for secretariats

The tailor-made version of the self-assessment tool provides the same set of indicators as the 'classical' tool, but the wording has been revised to reflect a focus on services instead of humanitarian response, and constituents instead of communities and people affected by crisis. It has already been shared, in its draft version, with a number of organisations and has been used by the CHS Alliance Secretariat for its own self-assessment against the CHS.

Piloting self-assessment tool for organisations working in development context

This version has been developed based on the acknowledgement by the CHS Alliance members that the concepts put forward in the CHS are equally valid for development contexts. Therefore, the efforts have been exclusively focused on the terminology, to avoid the previous use of a humanitarian vocabulary. This version has been shared with a limited number of interested members, and is now usable by all interested organisations. It is a pilot tool that will be revised based on future potential comments from users in 2018. 

Improvement plan guidelines

To support a process of continuous quality improvement, a self-assessment needs to feed into the design, implementation and monitoring of an improvement plan.

Through the CHS self-assessment you may have discovered that your organisation is already doing well in some areas, but also that there are areas for improvement. The improvement plan guidelines will help you to:

  1. Analyse and understand the results of your self-assessment
  2. Prioritise actions to include in your improvement plan
  3. Write, resource, approve and submit your improvement plan
  4. Implement and monitor your improvement plan.

These four steps are meant to help you develop a CHS improvement plan that is inclusive, realistic and achievable. Download the CHS improvement plan guidelines here.

For more information or for any inquiries please contact our Senior Quality & Accountability Officer Geneviève Cyvoct.

E-learning course on the CHS self-assessment

Developed through a collaborative process with IECAH and the support of the German Governement, this course is available to access here.

Course content

The course consists in three modules and three exercises which include: a reminder of the different elements of the CHS, what is verification and the different CHS verification options, and how to plan, conduct and report on the CHS self-assessment. The three exercises provide an opportunity to exercise scoring as well as writing and analyzing a summary report.

Who should use the course?

The CHS Self-Assessment course is designed for staff members of organisations (head and field offices) planning to undertake the CHS self-assessment. It can also be informative for anyone wishing to know more about the different verification options provided along with the CHS. The course is offered free of charge. To start, go to the platform, scroll down the welcome page to reacht the I’m ready! Go to course button, create a profile and you are ready to start the course. The course should last about four hours in total, but can be done at your own pace.

For any feedback or question, please contact