Romanian NGO Code of Conduct

Coalition of Good Practices

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Coalition for Good NGO Practices

The Coalition for Good NGO Practices is an informal association of nongovernmental organizations that comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct on a voluntary basis and act on increasing the number of NGOs that comply with the requirements of the Code.

Vision: an associative sector [1] consisting of NGOs with a strong impact at the beneficiaries’ level, appreciated by the community, institutions, and public opinion for their responsible, transparent and professional way of performing their activities, with an important role in the society.

The mission of the coalition is to develop good practices in the functioning of NGOs in Romania.

Strategic directions:

-          implementing the requirement of the Code of conduct for NGOs

-          promoting good practices in the functioning of NGOs 

-          technical assistance for NGOs willing to become members of the Coalition but do not fulfil the requirements

Strategic objectives:

-          increase the number of coalition members : 50 in 2007, 100 in 2008, 200  in 2010;

-          the coalition becomes a credible partner for other institutions

-          regulations from the code of conduct will be found in the functioning of other institutions

Main principles for the coalition’s activity

  1. in relations to beneficiaries

·        the coalition’s activity is dedicated to the entire associative sector, not only to specific groups of associations;

·        the service offer is adapted to the needs of the associative sector ;

·        all beneficiaries have equal opportunities to the Coalition’s services;

·       self responsibility related to NGOs,  as direct  beneficiaries, as well as to the community, defines the coalition behaviour  ;

·        coalition acts in a “non partisan manner”  ;

·        coalition has an open system to access and distribute information toward NGOs and to the public;

·        transparency and professionalism define the activity of the coalition .

B. in relations with other institutions:

·        partnership;

·        openness to dialogue;

·        solving differences through mediation;

·        respect and recognition of cultural differences;

·        the right to individual opinion  .

Target group: nongovernmental organizations that have the potential to become members of the coalition .


[1] The associative sector include any non profit, nongovernmental organizations

[2] Functioning of the organization refers to the way the NGO is organized as well as to the activities it undertakes

Operating rules of the Coalition for NGO Good Practices

Coalition members are NGOs that respect the provisions of the Code of Conduct for NGOs and act for increasing the number of NGOs adhering to the Code.

A. Conditions for obtaining of coalition member statute:

Membership Association of an organization to coalition depends on two conditions:

-          voluntary commitment regarding the implementation and promotion of the principles of good practices in the functioning of their organizations, principles mentioned in NGOs Code of Conduct

-          affidavit regarding the fulfilment of the Code’s criteria. Before applying, the applicant organization is required to self evaluate itself. The organization will underline both the fulfilled criteria as well as the ones that at the moment of evaluation are not met. For the later ones the organization will establish its own deadlines to solve the problems, but no later than a year.

In maximum one year after registration in coalition, any member organization will be the subject of an external evaluation. If, as a result of this evaluation, the criteria are not totally met, the organization looses its membership statute.  I

The Evaluation Instrument

Self evaluation

The evaluation is made with a instrument that checks if the organization meets or doesn’t meet the criteria. At the moment of adhering to the coalition, the interested organization will make a self evaluation based on the Code’s domains and criteria and will transmit to the secretariat the form completed with the deadlines proposed for the criteria not met yet. The form will be kept by the coalition’s secretariat and will be used later by two organizations that will make the evaluation. (See Self evaluation form)

Peer evaluation

In maximum one year after registration, any member organization will be the subject of an external evaluation. The evaluation is performed at the organization’s request by a team formed by representatives of other 2 organizations (peer evaluation), regardless of their field of activity.

If an organization considers that all criteria are met from the beginning or is proposing deadlines shorter than one year it may ask the secretariat to be evaluated by other two NGOs any time.

Agency responsible for managing the evaluation process

The request for evaluation is made to the coalition’s secretariat that has the responsibility to appoint the evaluating organizations according to geographic proximity.

Evaluators’ expertise

As the code is based on principles of minimal necessary regulation that apply to any type of organization or field of activity[1], evaluators don’t need to be experts neither in organizational development nor in the field of activity of the candidate organization. However, it’s expected, as a minimal condition, that these evaluators have a management position/function in their own organization (at least project coordinator), to have a length of service in associative sector of least three years and to have a good understanding of a nongovernmental organization’s role in community.

Evaluation’s costs

The evaluation costs are supported by the applicant organization. The evaluation itself it cost free but other cost must be covered, such as evaluators transport, lodging if required.

Certification

After the evaluation visit, evaluators’ team submit to the coalition’s secretariat in maximum one week from the moment of the visit, a report regarding the criteria met or not by the candidate organization. If the report confirms that all criteria are met, the secretariat issues a letter that confirms that the candidate organization fulfils all the conditions and is a full member of the Coalition for a year. The letter will also mention the names of the two evaluating organizations. Coalition members are mentioned on coalition’s site with links to each member organization.

B. Rights and duties of coalitions’ members

Members’ rights:

-          to declare in public the membership to the coalition and to associate to their owns organizational identity the logo of the coalition,

-              to participate at the coalitions’ meetings

-          to initiate and participate at coalition’s activities according to their own availability

Duties of coalition’s members

Member organizations have the duty:

-          to respect the NGOs Code of Conduct

-          to promote the Code of Conduct in order to attract new members into the Coalition. In this respect, it is desirable that member organizations recommend other two potential organizations that could become members of the Coalition,

-          to evaluate, in a year, at the request of the coalition’s secretariat, at least two organization that would like to become members. An organization required to participate at an evaluation visit, can refuse to take part in the process if it’s in conflict of interest with the organization to be evaluated.

C. Secretariat of coalition

It is ensured by one of the member organizations, voluntarily, for one year period.

Responsibilities:

-          proposes a half – yearly plan of activities which is adopted at the first meeting of the coalition,

-          organizes coalition’s meetings,

-          keeps the evidence of activities performed by the coalition’s members in order to fulfil its mission,

-          receives the requests from organizations interested to become members of the coalition and checks/verifies the documents submitted by these,

-          designates the evaluating organizations,

-          updates the coalition’s site

D. Meetings

-        coalition’s members are meeting yearly or whenever it’s necessary

-        it is expected, as a minimal condition, that participants have a management position in their own organization (at least project coordinator), have at least three years working experience in the sector and a good understanding of a NGOs role in the community,

-        necessary quorum for the coalition’s meetings is 2/3 of total number of members,

-        according to the Coalition’s regulations, members have the obligation to confirm participation at the meetings five days before the event,

-        at the end of each meeting the date, place/location and topic (proposed agenda) for the next meeting are decided,

-        agenda will be refined on a mail discussion list with at least 10 working days before the meeting

-          meetings are convened by launching of an invitation on the mail discussion list with 7 days before the event, mentioning the place, date and agenda of the meeting

-         at the end of each meeting  a report is produced; the report will be mailed to members no more than 5 days after the meeting; subsequently, members have 3 days to send their comments, feedback, corrections.  The report will be finalized taking into account the proposals made by members on the initial text in 10 working days from meeting.

-         At the end of each meeting a press release is sent to mass media in 24 hours; the press release is edited and sent to the media by the meeting’s secretariat; the press release is sent to members in order to be transmitted to local mass – media/press.

-       each member covers its own participation costs to the meetings

-       members who intend to invite one or more persons at the meeting must announce this with 3 working days before the meeting; costs of guests’ participations are supported by the guest or the organization that made the invitation.

-        guests may participate to debates but they can not vote or participate in the decision making process

Decisions making

-         decisions are adopted through consensus. In case that consensus can’t be achieved, the decisions are adopted through vote.

-        every member organization has the right to one vote

-        every organization expresses its vote through a representative delegate; in case that the organization’s representatives is changing, the new person that represents the organization will present a written mandate from the organization.

-        in case that consensus can’t be achieved and it is necessary to express the vote for decision making:

  • decisions are adopted with a majority-  half plus one from the total number of members  present to the meeting (simple majority)
  • decisions regarding changes of coalition’s regulation, operation standards, are adopted with a majority – half plus one from the total number of the coalition’s members (absolute majority)

-        in emergency cases, between two meetings, the vote can be expressed in electronic form -        lack of reaction at a proposed decision is considered like an implicit agreement (principle of tacit approval).

Working Procedure

-        during meetings the coalition works in plenary sessions, and if it’s the case, in small groups

-        the coalition can establish committees, commissions in which persons outside the coalition can participate

-        each group establishes its own working procedure

-        any meeting starts with the election of a facilitator and approval of the agenda

-        members’ participate at meetings and activities of the coalition based on their free will

-         every member must belong to at least one commission

-         any working structure is established with the coalition’s approval

-         the coalition’s activities are performed according to the annual plan of activities

E. Functioning of coalition

Coalition’s activities are planned and performed by the working groups working on each of the strategic direction. Any member organization is part of one or more working groups.

Each group appoints a coordinator responsible with the good functioning of the group.

F. Coalition’s management

is performed by a coordination committee formed by coordinators of the working groups.

G. Organizational identity of coalition

-         the identity elements of the coalition will be present on all materials.

H. Relations with mass – media

  • all coalition’s meetings are announced to the public with 3 working days before the event
  • after each coalition’s meeting in maximum 24 hours a press release is sent ot mass media
  • information will be transmitted on all channels (including mail discussion lists, newsletters, etc.)

Reporting

The Coalition elaborates and publicize reports about its activity

  • quarterly reports
  • annual report – it is presented into a press conference

The reports’ elaboration is done through rotation by one the coalition’s members.

J. Representation

-        No member has the right to represent the coalition without a mandate from the coordination committee;

K. Financing

-         financing of coalition’s activities is done through:

  • members’ contribution
  • project proposals
  • sponsorships
  • donations

-         members are required to ask for the coalition approval in order to obtain funds for its activity;

-         in case of project proposals, approval should be done in advance so members have at least 5 working days to answer.

-         projects on the same topic dedicated to coalition’s activity can be submitted by 2 or more members if the projects aren’t identical from an activity point of view.

-         initiators can submit projects under conditions described/mentioned above to the  same funder

-         a member organization of the coalition can be partner in one or more projects on the same issue

-         a coalition’s member has the right to refuse participation to a project of the coalition

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