Good Governance among German NGOs

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Reinhard Hermle (Oxfam, Bonn)
Series of Internacional Conferences
Civil Society Organizations
Transparency and Responsibility
1st Conference "Good Governance and Regulation"
Held at the Goeth Institut Lissabon
Organized by Humaneasy Consulting and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Portugal
More at http://www.humaneasy.com/conf/

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Good Governance among German NGOs

  1. 1. Good Governance among German NGOs Dr. Reinhard Hermle Oxfam Deutschland e.V. Lisbon, 31/03/2009
  2. 2. What are NGOs? <ul><li>Not state </li></ul><ul><li>Part of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Non profit </li></ul><ul><li>Charitable </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary </li></ul><ul><li>For common good </li></ul><ul><li>Rooted in society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Donors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Political (?) </li></ul>
  3. 3. NGOs <ul><li>Important for democratic development </li></ul><ul><li>Watchdog function </li></ul><ul><li>Scandalize bad government </li></ul><ul><li>Make up for policy deficits </li></ul><ul><li>Articulate/mobilize interests </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest alternative policies </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Increased importance of NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Globalized problems </li></ul><ul><li>Unsufficient global governance </li></ul><ul><li>Weak national states and global players </li></ul><ul><li>NGOs/Civil society as advocates of change </li></ul><ul><li>Intensified global networking </li></ul>
  5. 5. Dangers / Challenges for NGOs <ul><li>Lack of democratic legitimacy </li></ul><ul><li>Undermining role of parliaments </li></ul><ul><li>Trap of omnipotence </li></ul><ul><li>Financial resources </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of cooperation/coordination </li></ul><ul><li>Coopted / instrumentalized / harassed by political system </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why is Good Governance important for NGOs? <ul><li>Legitimacy </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Trust / confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness / quality </li></ul>
  7. 7. Basic elements of good governance <ul><li>Respect for laws of your country </li></ul><ul><li>Good corporate standards, rules and practice based on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency / accountability in everything </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Transparent Corporate Governance <ul><li>Charter/rules/bylaws </li></ul><ul><li>Codes of Conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational structures </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative / controlling bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Info about main sources of financial resources </li></ul><ul><li>Economic and effective use of funds </li></ul>
  9. 9. Accounting <ul><li>According to established standards </li></ul><ul><li>Correct </li></ul><ul><li>Clear </li></ul><ul><li>Complete </li></ul><ul><li>True assessment of assets and debts </li></ul><ul><li>Internal controlling </li></ul><ul><li>Yearly financial statement with certificate of external auditors </li></ul>
  10. 11. What else? <ul><li>Regular reporting about activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projects / evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobby / campaign activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethical standards in Public Relations and fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit ban of corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for sexual integrity, ban of sexual harassment, exploitation or discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement of staff to disclose activities countering laws, rules, procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines for partners/service providers </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance procedures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-fraud/corruption management </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. VENRO Code “Development related PR” <ul><li>Means of communication/ information should be </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>value based (human rights) </li></ul><ul><li>open </li></ul><ul><li>true </li></ul><ul><li>tolerant </li></ul><ul><li>non discriminatory </li></ul><ul><li>partner/gender sensitive </li></ul><ul><li>fair </li></ul><ul><li>transparent and accountable </li></ul><ul><li>data protective </li></ul>
  12. 13. VENRO Code „Development related PR“ <ul><li>Problem: </li></ul><ul><li>rising costs of fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>increased competition amongst NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>lowering of standards </li></ul>
  13. 14. VENRO Code … <ul><li>Independent arbitration board </li></ul><ul><li>4 members (external experts), </li></ul><ul><li>elected by General Assembly of VENRO </li></ul><ul><li>1 case in 14 years </li></ul>
  14. 15. DZI – Deutsches Zentralinstitut für Soziale Fragen <ul><li>(German Institute for Social Questions) </li></ul><ul><li>Foundation (since 1893) </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting bodies: </li></ul><ul><li>Land Berlin </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth </li></ul><ul><li>German Business Ass. </li></ul><ul><li>German Towns Council </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Society Organisations </li></ul>
  15. 16. DZI – Spendensiegel (label) <ul><li>Awards/grants label for proper use of donations/funds </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria: </li></ul><ul><li>Bylaws </li></ul><ul><li>Proper use of funds expenses for administration and PR/fundraising not more than 25% of income </li></ul><ul><li>Administration and controlling </li></ul><ul><li>yearly financial statement not later than 9 months after end of financial year </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising and PR </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul>
  16. 17. Transparency-Prize PriceWaterhouseCoopers <ul><li>Awarded since 2005 every year </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria by PWC and University of Göttingen </li></ul><ul><li>Prize money 30 000 Euro (15 000; 10 000; 5 000) </li></ul><ul><li>Development, humanitarian-caritative organisations can apply </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum gains in donations 1 Million Euro </li></ul><ul><li>Aim: improvement of transparent accounting and reporting </li></ul>
  17. 18. The case of UNICEF Germany <ul><li>Media reports about alleged mismanagement of longstanding Director </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive office costs </li></ul><ul><li>Opulent fees for consultants </li></ul><ul><li>unprofessional internal and external information policies </li></ul><ul><li>bad relations between Director and supervising Board </li></ul><ul><li>Resignation of Chairperson of the Board </li></ul><ul><li>Resignation of Director </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility gap, severe decrease in donations </li></ul><ul><li>New election of Board and new Director </li></ul>
  18. 19. Conclusions <ul><li>Good Governance is imperative for NGOs. Gives legitimacy and credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Donors want to be informed. </li></ul><ul><li>They want to have confidence in the organisation. </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence/trust is the capital of NGOs. </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency creates confidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence is no static thing but a matter of continuous efforts </li></ul>
  19. 20. Is that an alternative??
  20. 21. <ul><li>Thank you for your attention! </li></ul>

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