CHS Alliance supports CAFOD’s learning culture

22 October 2018

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) is a standard that requires constant improvement. It pushes for change, not only at our institutional policy level, but demonstrable change in our programmes and with the people we serve. As such, we can – and should – expect that sometimes organisations will find that they still have more work to do on some areas, and this is a welcome part of the learning process.

This has been the case with CAFOD, who saw their CHS certification temporarily suspended this month during their mid-term audit with HQAI. It is no surprise that this suspension came about based on the challenge of trying to rectify a previous non-conformity on Commitment 5 of Standard “Communities and people affected by crisis have access to safe and responsive mechanisms to handle complaints”.

Based on the data that has been collected so far within the framework of the CHS Verification Scheme, there is an urgent collective need to better communicate with crisis-affected people and communities and improve our complaints and response mechanisms. This is not only about putting mechanisms in place within your own organisations, but also requires more to be done at the systemic level, to ensure we are better able to address this challenge.

The CHS Alliance wants to express our thanks and appreciation to CAFOD, one of our founding members, for their commitment to the CHS. The transparency of the certification process shows their genuine commitment to quality and accountability. It shows that they are not afraid of acknowledging their weaknesses in order to learn from them and improve their service to crisis-affected communities.

While this suspension was picked up by the national UK Newspaper The Guardian, which is obviously unnerving, we know that short-term media attention on an organisation’s commitment to meeting the standards is better than stories about standards not being applied.