Verification Intermediary Impact Study Report

  • Resource Type

The promising results of a joint study by HQAI and CHS Alliance, which investigated the impact of CHS verification options on accountability and quality in humanitarian and development organisations, are now out.

Study Background

The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) verification scheme offers three verification options: self-assessment, independent verification, and certification. As a growing number of organisations choose to verify their adherence to the CHS Commitments, understanding the impact of these options on quality and accountability becomes crucial.

Driven by this objective, HQAI and the CHS Alliance launched this joint study to test the hypothesis that verification processes lead to greater accountability, better quality, and, ultimately, benefit affected populations.

Methodology and Key Findings

The study analysed data from self-assessments of 104 organisations, as well as 89 audit reports from 26 certified and 17 independently verified organisations, to gain robust insights. The analysis utilised both longitudinal and correlation techniques. The study yielded some very encouraging findings, some of which are listed below:

  • Equal Opportunity for All: The study revealed that an organisation’s mandate (humanitarian and/or development), size, location, project implementation approach (direct or through partners), human or financial capacities, or national/international status do not significantly impact its CHS performance. This highlights the adaptability of the CHS framework and ensures a level playing field for all organisations to excel.
  • Verification Drives Improvement: Results show that audited organisations improve their CHS and accountability performance over time, from one audit to the next. This indicates that successive audits act as a catalyst for improvement. On average, certified organisations perform better at meeting the CHS Commitments, while organisations in the independent verification cycle demonstrate faster and greater improvement between audits.
  • Commitment 6 Leads, Commitment 5 Lags: The CHS Commitment with the highest average score for the three verification options is Commitment 6 – humanitarian response is coordinated and complementary. On the other hand, Commitment 5 – Complaints are welcomed and addressed, has the lowest average score. However, it is the commitment on which certified organisations have shown the most significant improvement over time.

Continued Commitment

Both HQAI and CHS Alliance are deeply committed to demonstrating the impact of verification and CHS implementation. In 2024, they will refine their independent research by triangulating existing data with qualitative insights gathered through a survey and semi-structured interviews. A comprehensive final report incorporating these findings will be published later this year.