Core Humanitarian Standard Certification

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has maintained certification under the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) since 2017 – which means that the organisation has ongoing independent and objective assurance that its humanitarian work is principled, accountable and high-quality.

The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) is a voluntary standard and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has chosen to be certified against the CHS through a formal certification scheme. The certification process is managed by a third-party accredited auditing body known as the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI). They provide DRC with independent and objective assurance that DRC is continuously meeting the requirements of the standard over a four-year cycle. This is a rigorous assessment and means greater assurance for our stakeholders that we are delivering humanitarian assistance in a way that ensures quality and accountability for People of Concern.

DRC has been granted with a valid four-year certification

DRC was successfully audited against the CHS during the initial HQAI baseline audit in 2017 and certification granted and valid for four years, providing periodic checks confirm ongoing conformity with the standard. The auditors based their assessment on an internal policy review and interviews at DRC HQ, as well as with staff, partners, and communities at selected DRC country offices. The auditor onsite visits and process requires the collection and processing of feedback from and participation of affected populations and as such is a testament to DRC’s broader commitment to accountability.

CHS certificate logo

Since the initial audit, DRC has maintained certification in subsequent audit phases, this successful result means that DRC’s certification will remain valid until 2021, after which it must be renewed. The CHS certificate provided means that DRC has been assessed as compliant with the nine CHS commitments and is committed to addressing any areas of weakness identified through audit processes. DRC is entitled to describe itself as a CHS-certified organization in correspondence, communications and funding proposals. DRC is also entitled to use the certification mark (logo) in organisational communication and public relations, e.g. website, letterheads. This is available for use by all DRC country operations.

About the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS)

  • Launched in 2014, the CHS outlines nine core commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.
  • It facilitates greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis by ensuring they know what to expect from humanitarian organisations and how to hold them to account.
  • The CHS also aims to promote the wellbeing, rights, and protection of people affected by crisis and places them at the centre of humanitarian action.
  • At DRC, the CHS supports us in implementing our response framework, by ensuring that we put people affected by displacement at the heart of everything we do.

Learn more about the Core Humanitarian Standard  

The nine commitments in CHS

DRC showed a high level of commitment to address the issues raised at the initial audit and DRC continues to exhibit its main strengths in the provision of appropriate, relevant, coordinated and complimentary humanitarian response.

HQAI Lead Auditors, CHS Certification Mid-Term Audit Report July 2019

Efforts to address areas of weakness and Commitment 5 of the CHS

Despite strong ambitions, for DRC the lack of engagement with displacement-affected people came to light during the CHS certification compliance audits (both 2017 and 2019), where independent accredited auditors repeatedly highlighted areas of non-conformity in regard to Commitment 5 of the CHS on complaints handling systems. It should be noted that DRC’s weakness in this area is a sector-wide failure, the CHS Alliance also recognises that Commitment 5 of the CHS scores the lowest in terms of implementation of the nine CHS Commitments. 
See how commitment 5 of the CHS scores the lowest

In order to address this, DRC embarked on a project aimed to improve DRC’s inter-country operational learning and compliance with Commitment 5 of the CHS. In order to understand DRC’s current standing and engagement with community feedback and complaint response mechanisms (FCRM’s), a learning synthesis and global review was undertaken to systematically collect and collate the different experiences and practices of DRC country offices in regard to the design, implementation and management of FCRM’s. The project generated a report of global takeaways, lessons learned and success stories so that the organisation has a better understanding of the status quo of current practice globally.

The summary of findings are available in this short-form Learning Brief highlighting the 10 key “obstacles and opportunities” in the implementation of effective FCRM systems found to be prevailing within current DRC practice as a result of this exercise.  The findings feed into the current finalisation of DRC global FCRM Guidelines and there has been follow-up and dissemination of this learning both internally, and externally, with support of the CHS Alliance.
See the summary of findings in the Learning Brief

CHS Alliance and CHS self-assessments

Separately from participation in the HQAI CHS certification scheme, DRC is also a member of the CHS Alliance. Benefits of membership are described on the CHS alliance website and include access to CHS self-assessment tools and support to have reports reviewed and validated.
Learn more at the CHS alliance website

Organisations can undertake their own CHS self-assessment internally as a learning exercise to measure the application of the standard and DRC country operations are also encouraged to conduct their own CHS self-assessments at least every two years. The standards relate to all of us, guide our work and how we measure performance in the sector. For further instructions on conducting CHS self-assessments
See the CHS Alliance page here

At DRC, the CHS supports us in implementing our response framework, by ensuring that we put people affected by crisis and displacement at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to be continuously certified.

Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council

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