Verification Scheme review – findings and way forward

Adrien is the CHS Verification Manager at the CHS Alliance

Following three months of hard work, dozens of interviews with our members, donors, board, and other key stakeholders in the sector, the long-anticipated review of our verification scheme is available. We are grateful to KPMG for collaborating with us on this process, and for the quality of their feedback and analysis. Evaluators reviewed the Core Humanitarian Scheme (CHS) verification scheme’s relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Much like an organisation being assessed against the CHS, KPMG’s review informed us of both our strengths, and also areas of improvement.

“Organisations feel that it helps them to improve the quality and accountability of the services they deliver to communities and people affected by crisis.”

On the strengths side, it was reassuring that organisations confirm that verification improves the quality of services delivered by CHS Alliance members. Organisations feel that it helps them to improve the quality and accountability of the services they deliver to communities and people affected by crisis. This finding comes with a clear recommendation to further study the impact of verification on affected communities, including through external audits. The CHS Alliance is committed to work with our partner HQAI on this.

In terms of areas for improvement, the review identifies some familiar topics. These include:

  • further developing the verification scheme;
  • improving our definition of how to verify against indicators;
  • better communicating the verification scheme – both how it functions and its value - with our members and the sector as a whole.

The review raises another consideration, the sustainability and accessibility of verification. The CHS Alliance, along with our partner HQAI, are already engaging with the donor community on the importance of verification and certification recognition. KPMG’s review reinforces our determination to continue this discussion, as it highlights the simple but harsh reality; that we need more concrete recognition of the efforts of verification.

Organisations often seek verification with a twofold objective. Firstly, to understand and improve the quality and accountability of their activities. Secondly, to demonstrate their performance to external stakeholders, often with a view to secure access to funding. We shouldn’t be afraid to face the fact that for te CHS to have an impact on the delivery of aid work, we need tangible recognition of verification by donors. The report highlights that the CHS Verification Scheme must strike the right balance between learning and compliance.