Risks & Control

Solidaridad aims to achieve high quality results on all fronts. External auditors provide independent evaluations of the quality of each aspect of our operations. The four largest regional expertise centres are ISO 9001: 2015 certified: Solidaridad West Africa, Solidaridad East and Central Africa, Solidaridad South America, Solidaridad Europe (Stichting Solidaridad Nederland), and Solidaridad Asia.

Solidaridad Netherlands is approved by the Dutch Fundraising Regulator (CBF) and complies with its requirements. The CBF monitors all philanthropic bodies in the Netherlands and evaluates their management and policies, in order to increase transparency in the charity sector. We have also been awarded Declaration 20015 (version 2018) by Partos, the Dutch association for organisations working in international development.

While Solidaridad’s employees and partners collaborate on the basis of reciprocal trust, management guards against potential 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, political situations 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 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 its financial statements audited annually, and all financial statements have received an unqualified audit opinion.

RISKS

The main risks for Solidaridad, and how we address these, are: 

  1. Reputational damage resulting from partnerships with companies. Solidaridad has internal guidelines for non-disclosure agreements and signs 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 becomes unfavourable and the willingness of private donors to donate decreases. Solidaridad is externally certified 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 the highest likelihood of success for the period to come.

PLANNING AND REPORTING

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 is 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 Continental Supervisory Board to any matters that need to be addressed, or where improvements could be made.

INTEGRITY 

Solidaridad remains fully committed to creating a safe and pleasant work environment for all staff, partners, and beneficiaries, and to building an organizational culture of integrity and equality where people feel safe to work and speak up. 

The Solidaridad Code of Conduct, including codes for issues of sexual intimidation, and makes clear that misconduct is not tolerated and must always be addressed. A Partner Code requires the same level of conduct from all our contracted partners. 

The website lists an email address and phone number to report instances of misconduct. A communication plan is in place to ensure key stakeholders are kept informed. It also supports improvements to the integrity system.

In each region, a person of trust has been appointed to support people with complaints and help them with further steps. The Whistleblower procedure clarifies the internal procedure for complaints and grievances and protects the whistleblower.  

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

Raising awareness 

In 2019, Solidaridad continued to give more attention to internal awareness building around our 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 to act if misconduct is signalled. 

In 2020 we aim to complement the instruments already in place and strengthen our integrity framework. This will include appointing an HR and Governance subcommittee reporting to the International Supervisory Board. From that solid foundation, we will build additional instruments that support our staff in dealing with any ethical dilemmas they may be confronted with during their work.