Romanian NGO Code of Conduct

Code of conduct

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Code of Conduct for Romanian Non-Profit, Non-Governmental Organizations

Build on debates from the National Conference dedicated to self regulation of NGOs in Romania, the following the Code of Conduct was developed [1]:

Terms used:

  • Domains (e.g., leadership) represent the key aspects for the sound and open functioning of an organization, upon which each NGO should assess/ evaluate itself.
  • Specific Criteria (for each domain) are the more detailed characteristics on which the evaluation of each domain is made. (E.g., one criteria for the “leadership” domain is the activity of the Board of Directors.)
  • Status Indicators express the development level of the organization for one criteria.  In our example, some of status indicators could be: the board is totally separate from executive; members of Board of Directors are not paid for their Board activities; the period of a mandate (set length of Board member’s term, usually two or three years) and the maximum number of consecutive mandates are limited and established through statute, etc.

Basic Principles of NGO Code of Conduct:

  • Minimum Acceptable Standards: Full awareness of the code is crucial for instituting organizational behaviour that meets the minimal acceptable level of characteristics for a representative, good practice model in relation in the associative culture in Romania.
  • Universal Applicability to all NGOs. The Code is applicable to all non-governmental organizations, regardless of their position in Romanian juridical typology [2]
  • Generality for all Organizational Activities. The Code contains regulations applicable to all domains of activity of non-governmental organizations,
  • Associative Solidarity. Organizations that are members of the coalition are jointly and severally responsible for the good practice model that they all promote and implement.
DOMAIN

I. Organization’s leadership [3]

INDICATORS
CRITERIA:

1.1 Structure of Board of Director   [4]

No more than one person or at maximum 10 percent of Board members have an executive position that is noted in the organizational chart
CRITERIA:

1.2 Functions of Board of Directors

Procedures for decision- making ensure the organization’s independence from undue influences from any other public or private organization.

The Board’s responsibilities are completely separated from those of executive officers.

The members of the Board  are not paid for their activities on the Board.

The procedures for nomination and election of  members is established in the Board statutes.

The mandate period (length of member service) is limited and determined through statute.

Number of consecutive mandates is limited and determined through statute.

The Board meets together formally at least twice a year.

CRITERIA:

1.3 Responsibilities of Board of Directors

The Board is responsible for strategic planning for the organization and periodical evaluation of its implementation.

The Board establishes, monitors and evaluates performance indicators for the organization.

The Board reviews and approves the organization’s action plan, organizational chart, budget, annual report and balance sheet (in case of associations, General Meeting).

The Board is responsible for defining the functioning mode of organization through adoption of specific regulations. [5]

CRITERIA:

1.4 Compliance of legal regulations

The functioning of the Board is in compliance with all relevant legal norms.
DOMAIN

II. Management

CRITERIA:

2.1 Organizational

There is at least one document [6] that contains internal regulations regarding the functioning of the organization.

Organizational structure and hierarchical reporting relationships [7] are represented through an organizational chart.

Personnel in the organization who work in the same operational unit meet monthly to plan the next period’s activities.

CRITERIA:

2.2 Information Management

There is a system of information management, fully documented in a user’s manual, that is regularly used to effectively manage the organization’s information.
DOMAIN

III. Human Resources

CRITERIA:

3.1 Personnel policies

The organization’s personnel policies are clearly defined and documented in a written manual, both regarding the volunteers [8], and paid personnel.
CRITERIA:

3.2Compliance with legal regulations.

Working conditions are in full accordance with legal norms.
CRITERIA:

3.3 Employee responsibilities and evaluation

Employee responsibilities are clearly defined in individual job descriptions.

Employee job responsibilities and accomplishments are evaluated at least once a year.

DOMAIN

IV. Financial

CRITERIA:

4.1 Financial policies

There is a comprehensive manual that documents [9] financial policies and internal regulations regarding accounting, book- keeping and financial reporting on the organization’s activities.

There are written internal regulations regarding salaries, employees’ loans and the use and reporting on the use of the organization’s materials and financial resources.

CRITERIA:

4.2 Compliance of legal regulations.

Governmental fees and taxes are paid as a regular business process and on time.
CRITERIA:

4.3 Funding

The organization has at least two funding sources, [10] and these are of a diversified nature.
CRITERIA:

4.4 Financial control

There is an annual budget and at minimum an annual balance sheet for the organization. (It is recommended that there are also monthly trial balance sheets to effectively track and adjust expenditures throughout the year.)

There is a written manual that documents all procedure for effective internal financial control.

DOMAIN

V. Operations [11]

CRITERIA:

5.1 Compatibility with strategy

Performed activities must correspond to the mission and strategic guidelines of the organization.
CRITERIA:

5.2 Beneficiaries’ satisfaction

There are written procedures for evaluating beneficiaries’ satisfaction, and they are used at least once a year.
CRITERIA:

5.3Compliance of specific regulations

The organization’s activities are performed in compliance with:

  • internal norms
  • legal norms, including obtaining required accreditations or specific certifications for the activity domain of the organization.
CRITERIA:

5.4 Partnership

In last year, the organization has performed activities in partnership with another organization or group at least once. [12]
DOMAIN

VI. Public Relations

CRITERIA:

6.1 Visibility

Documents that define organization’s functioning are open to public review.

The annual report, including activities and detailed financial reporting, is available to the public in written form [13].

The list of the members of the Board of Directors and of all the organization’s personnel are public and updated.

The list of the organization’s institutional partners is public and updated.

CRITERIA:

6.2 Political Partisanship

The organization is non-partisan and doesn’t support political formations or candidates.[14]
CRITERIA:

6.3 Associative solidarity

The organization has demonstrated its associative solidarity in the last 12 months through participation at least one activity [15] initiated by another organization.

[1] Bucharest, March 7, 2007

[2] from juridical point of view, in Romania there are associations, foundations and federations

[3] or governance

[4] or director council

[5] ROF, ROI, Code of Conduct, etc.

[6] governing rules, procedures manual, etc.

[7] departments, offices, etc.

[8] volunteers program

[9] financial regulation,   financial procedures manual, etc. This can appear as a section in the document mentioned in the previous Point 5.

[10] dues, donations, sponsorships, orientation of 2 percent income tax, non-reimbursement financings, sales of products and services, etc.

[11] inclusive, services and activities of advocacy.

[12] Partnership covers a large range of institutional relationships. In this context, partnership is defined as formal or informal agreement to perform a joint activity by two or more partners, regardless of their public or private nature. Activities must be directed toward clearly defined objectives, be performed in conformity with an implementation calendar, utilize joint resources and involve all partners operational decisions. However, resources allocation alone, whether financial, material, informational, human, or other, is not considered by itself to be partnership.  Therefore, simple allocation of grants, headquarters space, volunteers, etc. does not by itself constitute “partnership”.

[13] recommended on the Internet

[14] parties, alliances, etc.

[15] local, county, national or NGO sector forum, advocacy campaign, etc.

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