Staff Care Policies

The DRC Stand-by Roster gives high priority to staff care and emphasises the well-being of deployees

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Stand-by Roster is characterised by the strong emphasis and high priority placed on the well-being of all staff on a DRC contract. This includes both members of the DRC Stand-by Member Roster and others deployed by the Stand-by Roster. We recognize that we are only as good as the performance of our staff, however it is not only a matter of efficiency and performance, but also a matter of ethics and securing that the people we engage with receive the best possible support and care.

The Danish Refugee Council has more than 5000 employees around the world and takes its duty of care responsibility very seriously. Duty of care for the DRC is a legal and moral obligation that ensures the safety of all people falling within our management control. We will not consciously expose anyone to unacceptable levels of risk and we exercise due diligence to make sure no one suffers avoidable mental or physical harm. While the DRC duty of care is about safety and security, staff care has a more holistic view on the well-being of staff.

DRC and its deployees operate in some of the most dangerous places in the world and numerous employees both work and live under very tough conditions. It is often not only security threats or a never-ending workload that pose major challenges, but also the feeling of isolation, a lack of privacy, bad or even non-existent supervision, poor accommodation, unhealthy food, illness or a difficult relationship with the home-based families. These can all be significant stress factors affecting the well-being of the deployee.

The DRC Stand-by Roster therefore constantly tries to improve the staff support given to its members before, during and after a deployment. The staff support offered includes the following elements:

1) Briefing Before a Deployment:

Prior to deployment, the DRC Stand-by Roster will facilitate individual briefings with the experts in regards to administrative expectations with a focus on practicalities. Prior DRC experience has shown that briefing increases work satisfaction and deployee efficiency, which are both prerequisites for high-level performance. The contents of the briefings are tailored depending on the nature of the assignment. The briefing also contain an instruction on the Code of Conducts (CoC) that apply during mission, and an explanation clearly stating the repercussions for any breach of the CoC. Furthermore, the DRC Stand-by Roster may compile relevant briefing packages as pre-reading material as needed. In addition to the CoC, this includes specific information about the receiving mission or agency (mandate, structure, operational sectors and priories) and information on the context in which the mission will take place. The overall responsibility of the programme briefing lies with the UN agencies.

2) Ongoing Support During the Deployment:

During deployment, the Stand-by Roster will administer all practical and contractual issues while maintaining regular contact to verify the deployees’ well-being and assist with any needs that might arise.

3) Debriefing:

At the end of a deployment, the deployee will be asked to submit a written report from the mission, which will form the basis of the debriefing. The report asks questions in regards to the main lessons learned, problems or particular positive experiences, and relevant recommendations. Debriefings are held by phone or Skype and the aim is to address all issues relating to the deployment. This includes an evaluation of the impact and the relevancy of the deployment, an identification of personal and institutional lessons learned, and any recommendations for deployment procedures. Besides these more practical issues, the well-being of the deployee will also be assessed. If any follow-up measures (i.e psychological counselling, health check) are needed, this will be activated and agreed upon.

4) Sessions with Psychologist/Psychotherapist (paid by DRC):

Both during and after a deployment the DRC Stand-by Roster offers consultations with psychologists either through the BUPA Insurance scheme or Falck Healthcare based on the agreement between the deployee and the Stand-by Roster. This arrangement is available up to 6 months after the deployment has ended.