Improving the Accessibility of CHS Verification Scheme for National Actors

  • Author(s)
    CHS Alliance
  • Resource Type
  • Themes

Verification review and CHS Alliance management response

The CHS Verification Scheme is designed to support organisations to meet their CHS Commitments and put people’s dignity at the centre of their work. More than 200 organisations have engaged with the scheme and interest in the scheme is at record levels. Yet to achieve greater accountability to people in crisis, this support for organisations to meet the Commitments needs to be taken to scale, engaging a greater number and diversity of organisations. Verification must be accessible to the many national and local organisations working in and for their communities.

In 2022, CHS Alliance commissioned a review (download below) to analyse what it will take for the Scheme to meet its ambition of as many organisations as possible measuring how they are meeting the commitments to people in crisis and making the needed improvements.

The report’s recommendations align with CHS Alliance’s strategic direction, reinforcing the ambition for greater awareness raising for the CHS and greater impact at the country level. The report also outlines areas and recommendations where further discussion and research are needed regarding the future direction for CHS verification.

Some specific areas to highlight.

Increased outreach – We have increased our outreach to national NGOs over recent years with positive results with a marked increase in the number of national organisations joining the Alliance or embarking on self-assessment. To accelerate these efforts, the Alliance is stepping up by conducting more outreach at country and regional level, and developing its membership offer to provide greater support to meet the CHS Commitments.

Size of the CHS – The review highlights the size of the CHS as a barrier for some organisations to embark on verification. The CHS currently has 62 indicators used as the basis for all verification options. Exploring the possibility of reducing the size while maintaining a robust standard is a critical consideration in the ongoing CHS Revision process.

Resources needed for verification –The review acknowledges concerns regarding the resources needed for an organisation to undertake a verification process. To address this, CHS Alliance has developed more accessible self-assessment online tools, which has resulted in a rise of organisations entering this process. Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative or HQAI, which conducts Independent Verification and Certification, are exploring ways to lower the costs and make audits more widely accessible.

Benefits gained from verification – The review acknowledges the gains made for organisations by conducting a verification process, reinforcing CHS Alliance findings that members report that all three verification options can have a positive impact on organisational learning and improvement, access to funding and improved external recognition. However, the report shows that more is needed to capture and showcase this impact, which we are committed to achieving with the support of our members.

Donor recognition -How donors recognise and promote CHS is important, acknowledging the power that donors have to push for greater accountability. There is a strong awareness of the potential to align due diligence processes with the CHS to reduce duplication and reduce the bureaucracy around these heavy processes in line with the localisation agenda.  Fundamentally though, as the report highlights, the drive to engage donors must support of organisational improvement, learning and accountability and not conflate theCHS with additional donor due diligence. The Alliance will continue to work with HQAI on opportunities for alignment of the CHS with donor requirements.

Exploring other forms of assessment – CHS Alliance welcomes discussion on how to build on self-assessment and the need to explore modalities to achieve this. This is timely, as self-assessment has seen a rapid take up in recent years and the new online “CHS Commitment Tracker” platform is about to be launched.  In line with the review’s recommendations, CHS Alliance is developing a “Collective Peer Assessment” process.