Launch of the new CHS Verification Scheme & joining forces

26 June 2020
Tanya Wood

by Tanya Wood

Executive Director, CHS Alliance

The CHS Alliance delivered the new CHS Verification Scheme to our members on 9 June 2020. After many months of consultation and discussion with our members, Board and key partners, we were pleased to be able to share a range of new tools and guidance on verification. These have been designed to make the different options clearer and encourage more organisations to measure their progress against the CHS and to get verified.

The new Quality Assurance Verification Scheme makes it easier for our members and all interested organisations to understand the purpose of CHS verification, the differences between each option, and the roles and responsibilities of the CHS Alliance, its Board, HQAI, and the newly created Verification Advisory Panel.

One of the biggest changes in the new Scheme is the validated CHS self-assessment, and its accompanying user manual. The updated self-assessment makes it much easier for CHS Alliance members to start their verification journey and learn about how they perform on quality and accountability. These are just not minor improvements.

Yet, this may not be enough if we are to truly change the face of humanitarian action and ensure that the sector as a whole is becoming more accountable and putting people affected by crisis at its centre.

For this to happen we need to build on the progress made so far, working closely with CHS verified organisations to reach a critical mass to create the momentum for change we need.

As the CHS clearly states our collective decisions on the essential elements of principled effective humanitarian aid, the drive for this mass take up will come when the donors ask their partners to show how they are meeting the Standard.

Why should they do this? – There is a moral and operational argument that no organisation should be working with vulnerable people if they do not have the elements of the CHS in place, and there is also the financial one. We could better meet our Grand Bargain commitments around harmonisation if donors were to use the CHS as part of their Partner Capacity Assessment (PCA), thus reducing duplication of efforts.

We recently commissioned a review for us to explore this topic further. A summary of which can be found in this discussion paper. The paper explores different opportunities to promote greater uptake of CHS Verification. It presents three different options that we will consider with our members through the Verification Community of Practice and the Virtual Global CHS Exchange.  We welcome your views on this.

The three options presented in the discussion paper are not exclusive. They do all have one principle in common – success is unattainable without a strong coalition of like-minded organisations joining forces to lobby donor governments. The CHS makes this shift possible, but it is up to us all now, as an Alliance, to make it happen.

We will need to demonstrate and convince donors that quality and accountability, especially in wake of COVID-19, are as important as good management of resources. That the two sides of accountability, to donors and to crisis-affected people, actually complement and reinforce each other to create aid that crisis-vulnerable communities around the world should expect from humanitarian and development actors.

Thank you to all CHS Alliance members for your collaboration on verification so far and stay tuned for more in the near future.

Find out more about our updated Verification Scheme and get in touch with our Verification Manager, Adrien Muratet to share your views on the donor PCA discussion paper.