Independent Accountability Committee
Terms of Reference
Version August 2016
The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) works to promote high standards among its constituent organisations and their own members. These standards were agreed as the Istanbul principles (http://csopartnership.org/the-istanbul-principles/ ).
Principle 5 states: “CSOs are effective as development actors when they demonstrate a sustained organizational commitment to transparency, multiple accountability, and integrity in their internal operations.”
CPDE has determined that, in order to satisfy itself, its members, its donors and other stakeholders that it works in a manner consistent with the Istanbul Principles, and in particular Principle 5, it will maintain an Independent Accountability Committee (IAC).
Purpose of the IAC
The IAC serves as a strategic Board of Reference to the governance structures of CPDE: to the Global Council (GC), the Coordinating Committee (CC) and to the Co-chairs; as well as the Global Secretariat. The IAC provides help and assistance to the governance structures to ensure that CPDE meets and maintains high standards of transparency, accountability and integrity.
Compliance with Principle 5 promotes trust, among both external stakeholders such as the communities working with CSOs, other CSOs, governments or donors; and internal stakeholders - the participants within the CPDE processes. Trust is an essential requirement to enable learning and improvement to take place.
The IAC will therefore review the definitions, processes, programmes of work and procedures of CPDE that would support the development of transparency, accountability and integrity, in particular:
The provision of information among participants;
The provision of information to the wider public;
Financial accountability systems to both external bodies and to participants;
Policies relating to conflict of interest.
Evaluation systems for programmes of work;
Systems for feedback and interaction with different publics - stakeholders
The IAC will make recommendations for improvement to the CC and Co-chairs.
Membership of the IAC
The IAC shall comprise three or four people who:
have substantial, and recognised, experience of work on CSO transparency and accountability;
Have worked at different organisational levels, both national, regional and international;
Represent a broad diversity, including members from different continents, with varied experiences and skills, and different gende;
Are completely independent from the CPDE Coordinating Committee, Global Council, Global Secretariat or any other body or structure within CPDE.
Members of the IAC shall be appointed by the CC. The term of office shall be for three years, with the possibility of re-election only for one more time frame. Casual vacancies will be filled by nomination of the CC after consultation with the remaining members of IAC.
The IAC will elect one of its members as convenor, to act as principal contact with CPDE bodies.
Temporary consideration: In order to facilitate the transition between members, assuring that only one is replace at the time and the remaining two keep track of the process, only for the first three years, one member should finalize is/her period after the first year and a second member after the second year and the CC would appoint a new member or re-elect him/her.
The IAC will prepare an indicative budget and workplan each year, and will provide a report of its work to the GC.
The IAC will usually meet through Skype or other virtual means.
The CPDE Global Secretariat will provide all necessary assistance to the Committee, including the provision of information for the development of its work, such as external evaluations, specific policies and working plans, and any other information that the IAC might demand.
Resources will be allocated for the work of the IAC, in order to cover: communication costs, travel costs to attend CC or GC meetings, and support staff. Because IAC members are independent of any CPDE body or structure, and voluntary, they shall be entitled to receive payment for time spent on IAC work, and reimbursement of expenses, in accordance with the protocol for budget management agreed with the CC.