Independent verification and certification are two different approaches to achieving verification against the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). Both are carried out by third party independent from the CHS Alliance and the organisation being verified.

Currently, the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) is the only organisation permitted to undertake independent verification and CHS certification audits.

Independent verification and certification are both voluntary initiatives open to members and non-members of the CHS Alliance. Providing a summary of an independent verification report, or becoming certified against the CHS are two ways of fulfilling CHS Alliance membership requirements.


Independent verification

Independent verification is intended as a learning process for organisations looking to improve their application of the CHS. Undertaken by an independent third party, the process involves document reviews, interviews with key staff, partners and communities and people affected by crisis, as well as direct observation at selected project sites.

The aim of independent verification is to generate comprehensive analysis of how well an organisation is applying the CHS to its work. Organisations can then use their results to develop an improvement work plan and to evidence their progress.


Certification

Certification is another approach in the CHS verification scheme. Certification offers organisations a forensic diagnostic of the degree to which they have applied the CHS.

The certification process is similar to that of independent verification. However, while independent verification is intended as a learning process for organisations looking to improve their application of the CHS, certification is essentially a test, resulting in certification either being granted, or denied.


Certification process

Initial audit undertaken by HQAI-approved auditors

Production of report and public summary

Certification decision made (valid for four years, provided corrective action requests are satisfied in a timely manner); certificate issued.

One year after the certification decision: organisation undertakes a self-assessment and reports back to HQAI

Two years after the certification decision: an audit is undertaken by HQAI-approved auditors; production of report and public summary.

Three years after the certification decision: a decision is made to renew (or not) the organisation’s certification.

Four years after the certification decision: if renewal is successful, a new certificate is issued.


Costs

For both independent verification and certification, the costs are determined by the third party undertaking this verification approach. Please contact the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) for more information.

A Subsidy Fund has been established for organisations in need of financial support to undertake independent verification or certification.



More support

Frequently asked questions 

Have a further question about independent verification or certification? More answers are provided in our CHS verification Frequently Asked Questions.

Get in touch 

Contact our Verification Manager, Adrien Muratet, to start your verification journey.