Risks & Control

Solidaridad aims to achieve high quality on all fronts. External auditors provide independent evaluations of the quality of each aspect of its operations. The four largest regional expertise centres are certified under the ISO 9001:2008 norm (Solidaridad West Africa, Solidaridad East and Central Africa, Solidaridad South America and Solidaridad Asia).

Solidaridad Europe, the largest regional centre of our network, is entitled to use the quality mark of the Central Bureau on Fundraising (CBF) and complies with its requirements. The CBF monitors all philanthropic bodies in the Netherlands and evaluates their management and policy, in order to increase the transparency of the charity sector.

While Solidaridad’s employees and partners work on the basis of reciprocal trust, management guards against individual abuses of this trust. Risks – and their consequences for strategy – are continually assessed. The Executive Board of Directors is aware that economic conditions can change quickly, politics can be unstable, and markets volatile.

Solidaridad is committed to transparency and the effective deployment of resources. It monitors project progress and the use of funds with a cloud-based project management system. Operations are audited and outcomes are discussed with management and supervisory boards. 

The internal risk management and control systems of each regional expertise centre provide reasonable assurance that financial statements are correct and that these systems have worked properly during the year under review. Each expertise centre has their financial statements audited annually before 15 April, all financial statements have received unqualified audit statements.

The main risks for Solidaridad are: 

  1. Reputational damage resulting from partnerships with companies. Solidaridad has internal guidelines for non-disclosure agreements and memoranda of understanding with companies.
  2. Illegitimate use of grant funds, which requires repayment obligations to donors. The budget is approved by the managing director of each regional office and the segregation of duties in the project management is appropriate.
  3. The economic climate and the willingness of private donors to donate. Solidaridad maintains quality marks and periodic external audits ensure compliance.
  4. The unpredictability of government policies. Political decision-making – and available funding – are hard to predict, as are the political forces which affect partner companies. Solidaridad defines thematic areas and targets policy makers with highest chance of success for the period to come.

Solidaridad produces a long-term strategic plan, which translates its mission and vision into operational objectives. This plan is drawn up by the management of all regional offices and approved by the International Supervisory Board. The annual plans of each regional office are a translation of the multi-annual strategic plan into more specific objectives, desired results, activities and budgets. A context analysis and evaluation of the previous annual plan serve as guidelines in preparing the next annual plan. External reporting includes an annual report and accounts, which are verified by an auditor and accompanied by an auditor’s opinion. The auditors discuss their findings with the managing director and financial controller of each regional office and may also call the attention of the CSB to any matters that need to be addressed, or where improvements could be made.

Integrity 

Solidaridad remains fully committed to creating a safe and sound work environment for all staff, partners and beneficent and to building an organizational culture of integrity and equality. The Solidaridad Code of Conduct, including codes for issues of sexual intimidation, makes clear misconduct is not tolerated and neither is not-acting upon any violation. A Partner Code requires the same good conduct from contracted partners. 

In case of a complaint or report an email address and phone number are published on the website. In each region, a person of trust has been appointed to support people with complaints and help them with procedures for further steps. The whistle blower procedure clarifies the internal procedure for complaints and grievances and protects the whistle blower.  

Solidaridad has integrity high on its agenda. The Executive Board of  Directors manages, promotes and enables the agenda on integrity for all  Solidaridad staff members, partners and beneficiaries.    

In 2018, Solidaridad continued giving more attention to internal awareness building around the code of conduct. Instruments such as communication campaigns and informal debates were developed and implemented. 

Reflecting on our integrity policy, Solidaridad has effective instruments in place to prevent and signal inappropriate behavior, and when misconduct is signaled, to act. The challenge in 2019 is to complement instruments in place, and to build moral prudence based instruments that supports staff in dealing with ethical dilemmas they are confronted with in their work.