Contents

1. Preamble

2. Organisational Integrity

3. Governance

4. Communication with the Public

5. Finances

6. Personnel and Management Practices

7. Reference to Other Codes and Standards

8. Complaints Handling and Compliance Monitoring Process

9. Amending the NEPCAM Code of Conduct and the Guidance Document

10. Definitions

 

This Code of Conduct sets out standards and requirements to which members of NEPCAM Trust Aid Fund (NEPCAM) are bound and against which complaints and compliance is assessed. A member of NEPCAM is defined as a person who has, within the current financial year, donated a sum of money to NEPCAM or who has donated funds during any past financial year for the express purpose of using it during the current financial year (i.e. many sponsors pay their sponsorship fees many years in advance and while they are doing so they are considered to be a member of NEPCAM).

 

1. Preamble

 

1.1 This Code of Conduct defines standards of governance, management, financial control and reporting with which the NEPCAM organisation should comply. It identifies mechanisms to ensure accountability in NEPCAM's use of public monies. The Code aims to maintain and enhance standards throughout the NEPCAM community, ensuring public confidence in the integrity of individuals and organisations associated with NEPCAM and quality and effectiveness of NEPCAM's programs.

 

1.2 NEPCAM aims to build creative and trusting relationships with people of developing countries and to meet program standards which:

  • give priority to the needs and interests of the people they serve
  • encourage self-help and self-reliance among beneficiaries and thus avoid creating dependency
  • involve beneficiary groups to the maximum extent possible in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects and programs
  • respect and foster internationally recognised human rights, both socio-economic and civil-political;
  • seek to enhance gender equity; and
  • are based on an understanding of the history and culture of the people served.

1.3 NEPCAM is required to meet a range of state and federal legal obligations which are presumed in this Code. These obligations may include corporation laws, rules of incorporation of associations, fundraising and charitable institutions legislation, privacy legislation, equal employment opportunity principles, occupational health and safety standards, anti-discrimination legislation, intellectual property and copyright legislation and other codes of ethics.

 

2. Organisational Integrity

2.1 In all of its activities and particularly its communications to the public, NEPCAM will accord due respect to the dignity, values, history, religion, and culture of the people with whom it works consistent with principles of basic human rights.

2.2 NEPCAM will be formed voluntarily and be not-for-profit.

2.3 NEPCAM will oppose and not be a willing party to wrongdoing, corruption, bribery, or other financial impropriety in any of its activities. It shall take prompt and firm corrective action whenever and wherever wrongdoing is found among its volunteers, members and partner organisations.

2.4 NEPCAM will have a policy to enable people confidentially to bring to the attention of authorities evidence of misconduct on the part of anyone associated with NEPCAM. All reports must be channelled through NEPCAM's Chairperson of the Board unless it is an issue concerning that person or another member of the Board in which case the matter should be taken directly to a member of AusAID or the relevant State Police or Australian Federal Police.

2.5 NEPCAM will conduct itself in ways that do not denigrate other agencies, or make misleading or false public statements regarding other agencies.

2.6 NEPCAM will have policies and procedures to promote the safety and well-being of all children accessing their services and programs, particularly to minimise the risk of abuse of children.

2.7 Funds and other resources designated for the purposes of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a political party.

2.8 NEPCAM should only disburse donated funds or resources to a third party (including to an international affiliate or an overseas partner organisation) for use in relation to an aid and development program if it is satisfied that:

  • the particular aid and development program is aligned with or consistent with NEPCAM's strategy for achieving its objects and purpose;
  • the third party to whom funds or resources are to be disbursed has the capacity to utilise the funds or resources in accordance with the specific instructions of NEPCAM, in accordance with relevant provisions of NEPCAM's Code of Conduct and in a manner consistent with the NEPCAM's donor promise, express or implied;
  • the funds and resources will be disbursed in accordance with relevant laws including counter terrorism financing and anti-money laundering legislation; and
  • appropriate control and risk management mechanisms (such as contractual arrangements specifying funding conditions and relevant reporting and monitoring obligations) are in place to mitigate the risk of misappropriation or improper use of the funds or resources once disbursed.

 

3. Governance

3.1 NEPCAM's governing instrument (constitution, articles of association, rules, bylaws or similar documents) will be consistent with legislative requirements and set forth NEPCAM's basic goals and purposes, define membership, governance structure of NEPCAM including the frequency of meetings (at least two a year) and the size of a quorum.

3.2 NEPCAM will have an Executive Committee (Executive) elected/appointed by members from within the membership/supporters database.

3.3 The Executive will form the working committee and will deal with the day-to-day running and administration of the organisation.

3.4 The Executive will be overseen by a NEPCAM Board (Board) made up of a number of independents who may be, but do not have to be, sponsors of NEPCAM.

3.5 Members of the NEPCAM Board will include the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Finance Officer from the Executive.

3.6 There will be at least three additional independent people sitting on the NEPCAM Board to give it the necessary advisory delegation, one of whom will take on the role of Chairperson.

3.7 The Executive will approve the annual budget and may delegate authority to staff or others, however, the Board will have complete transparency of all finance and budget transactions and will report on the Executive outcomes in the NEPCAM Annual Report.

3.8 The Board will meet at least twice each financial year and provide advice and guidance to the Executives on its performance and overall efficiency and effectiveness where they feel it is necessary.

3.9 The Executive must accept ultimate responsibility for governance over all aspects of NEPCAM.

3.10 There will be written policies covering appointment, termination of the Executive and Board members. NEPCAM is a voluntary organisation and no Executive or Board member will be paid for their services.

3.11 Members of the Executive will make known to the Board any conflict of interest or any affiliation they might have with an actual or potential supplier of goods and services, recipient of grant funds or organisation with competing or conflicting objectives. Members of the Executive will absent themselves from discussion and abstain from voting or otherwise participating in the decision on any issue in which there is a conflict of interest. Large or otherwise inappropriate gifts to members of the Executive for personal use shall be forbidden.

3.12 The Executive will commit NEPCAM to open and accurate disclosure of information concerning its goals, programs, finances and governance which will be overseen by the Board. Due regard will be given to the human rights and personal safety of partners and aid recipients, legal requirements regarding privacy and confidentiality, proprietary information and personnel matters.

3.13 The Executive will ensure that they hold an annual general meeting (AGM) of its members as defined in its governing instrument and which meets the requirements of the legislation under which NEPCAM is incorporated. The AGM will receive the annual audited financial statements and appoint an independent auditor for the subsequent year(s).

 

4. Communication with the Public

4.1 An Annual Report is to be produced and made available to NEPCAM 's members, supporters and members of the public upon request.

4.2 Fundraising solicitations will be truthful, will accurately describe NEPCAM's identity, purpose, programs, and needs and will only make claims which NEPCAM can fulfil. There will be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, no use of misleading photographs, nor any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.

4.3 In all fundraising activities initiated or authorised by it, NEPCAM will have policies (consistent with the Privacy Act 1988) set up to protect donors' rights to:

  • have their names deleted from mailing lists;
  • have their names deleted from mailing lists NEPCAM may intend to share;
  • be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers or agents of NEPCAM;
  • be informed about the causes for which funds are being raised;
  • get information on the application of their donation; and
  • be able to identify collectors and have documentation confirming the bona fides of NEPCAM.

4.4 NEPCAM will be responsible for all fundraising activities outsourced to a third party and will put all such contracts and agreements in writing.

 

5. Finances

5.1 NEPCAM will have internal control procedures which minimise the risk of misuse of funds. Reporting mechanisms which facilitate accountability to members, donors and the general public will be used. NEPCAM will have adequate procedures for the review and monitoring of income and expenditure. Loans to Executive members or related parties are forbidden.

5.2 Notwithstanding any other legal requirements, NEPCAM will publish in their Annual Report, financial statements. Additionally, NEPCAM may choose to publish its Full Financial Statements within their Annual Report.

5.3 The Summary Financial Reports and Full Financial Reports will be audited by at least a qualified accountant who is a member of CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the National Institute of Accountants or by a Registered Company Auditor. The Auditor's statement of the summary reports presented must accompany the financial report in the Annual Report.

5.4 Where NEPCAM chooses to publish only their Summary Financial Reports in their Annual Report and not the organisation's Full Financial Report, the Annual Report must make reference to the fact that the Full Financial Report is available on request. Any other organisational publications that detail, summarise or comment on financial performance must also indicate that the Full Financial Report is available on request.

5.5 Donations shall be used as promised or implied in fundraising appeals or as requested by the donor. When funding is invited from the general public for a specific purpose, NEPCAM shall have a plan for handling any excess and shall make this known as part of the appeal. NEPCAM shall substantiate, upon request, that their application of funds is in accordance with donor intent or request.

5.6 The use of ratios in publications shall at all times be accompanied by a note explaining how these have been determined.

 

6. Personnel and Management Practices

6.1 NEPCAM will seek to achieve best practice in its personnel policies in response to initiatives in the aid sector and to changes in working and legal environments. NEPCAM will have well defined policies and procedures relating to including volunteers working in Australia or overseas. These policies and procedures will clearly define and protect the rights and safety of personnel assuring fair treatment in all matters. Policies and procedures relating to staff and volunteers based outside Australia will be informed by the People in Aid: Code of best practice in the management and support of aid personnel.

6.2 NEPCAM's expectations of its volunteers' professional conduct shall be clearly communicated and consistent with the requirements of this Code of Conduct.

6.3 NEPCAM will be committed to continuous improvement in its management practice including the provision of regular opportunity to volunteers for training and professional development.

6.4 NEPCAM will have policies and strategies to promote gender equity especially in positions in the management and governance of NEPCAM.

 

7. Reference to Other Codes and Standards

7.1 NEPCAM is not a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct but adheres to their policies, strategies and standards of engagement for program management in the ACFID NGO Effectiveness Framework.

 

8. Complaints Handling and Compliance Monitoring Process

8.1 No legal representation or hearings

No person has a right to:

legal representation;

a hearing; or

make oral submissions,

under this complaint handling process set out in this clause 8.

8.2    Complaint received

A Complaint may be made by any person and must:

  1. be in writing, and should be addressed to the Chairperson of the NEPCAM Board, and
  2. include the name and contact details of the person making the Complaint (Complainant).

8.3 Complaint to be acknowledged

Receipt of the Complaint will be confirmed in writing to the Complainant.

8.4 Chairperson review of Complaint

The Chairperson will review the Complaint and decide whether:

  1. to recommend to the Board that the Complaint be dismissed.
  2. to recommend to the Board that the Complaint be referred to a more appropriate body, or
  3. to appoint an independent Investigating Officer under clause 8.5 to investigate the Complaint further.

If the Board accepts a recommendation made under paragraph a. or paragraph b. of this clause 8.4, then the Complaint is dismissed (in the case of a recommendation under paragraph a.) or must be referred to the other body (in the case of a recommendation under paragraph b.).

8.5     Investigating Officer review of Complaint

  1. If a Complaint is to be investigated following the Chairperson’s review under clause 8.4, the Chairperson must appoint an independent person or a team including at least one member of the NEPCAM Board, and any number of other people (as the Chairperson considers appropriate) with expertise related to the nature of the Complaint (Investigating Officer) to investigate the matters raised in the Complaint. A person may not be appointed as the Investigating Officer (and a person may not be appointed to the team which is the Investigating Officer) if they have, or the Chairperson reasonably considers them to have, a material personal interest in the outcome of the Complaint.
  2. The Investigating Officer must give the person who is the subject of the Complaint (the subject) and invite the subject to respond to the Complaint in writing no later than 21 days after the date of the notice.
  3. The Investigating Officer must inform the Complainant in writing of the decision to investigate the Complaint further and any expected timeframes for dealing with the Complaint. The Complainant will be notified in writing of any substantial changes to expected timeframes.
  4. The Investigating Officer must consider the Complaint and any response submitted by the subject of the complaint if that response is submitted within the time period set out in paragraph 8.5 b. The Investigating Officer may, but is not required to, seek further information or invite further written submissions from the Complainant, subject or any other person, with such time limits to respond as the Investigating Officer considers reasonable in the circumstances. The Investigating Officer must consider any further submissions made in accordance with this paragraph 8.5 d., if they are submitted within the relevant time limit set by the Investigating Officer.
  5. In its investigations, the Investigating Officer is not limited to the breaches of the Code and may investigate any other breaches arising from substantially the same circumstances as those set out in the Complaint. The Investigating Officer is not bound by the laws of evidence.
  6. The Investigating Officer must prepare a draft report regarding the Complaint and make a recommendation on whether, in the opinion of the Investigating Officer:

i. the Complaint should be dismissed;

ii. the Complainant should be referred to a more appropriate body; or

iii. the subject of the complaint has breached the Code.

iv. If the Investigating Officer considers that the subject of the complaint has breached the Code, the Investigating Officer must make a recommendation as to the action that should be taken by the Board. A copy of the draft report (with recommendations) must be given to the subject, who may, within 7 days after the date on which the draft report is sent, submit written submissions in response to the draft report. 

  1. The Investigating Officer must consider any submissions in response to the draft report made by the subject and may, but is not required to, make changes to the draft report when it prepares a final report (with recommendations) to the Board.
  2. The final report of the Investigating Officer and the submissions in response to the draft report must be submitted to the Board for a final determination.

8.6 Determination by the NEPCAM Board

The NEPCAM Board must consider the Complaint, the final report of the Investigating Officer, any submissions made in response to the draft report, and may consider any other information it considers relevant. The Board must make a determination (by simple majority of those present and eligible to vote) as to whether:
 
  1. the subject:

i. has not breached the Code, in which case the Complaint must be dismissed; or

ii. has breached the Code.

The Board is not bound to follow the recommendations made by the Investigating Officer or the laws of evidence.

  1. A member of the Board who:

i. is the Investigating Officer (or any member of the Investigating Officer, if a team has been appointed);

ii. is an employee or director (or equivalent) of either the Complainant or the subject; or

iii. for some other reason has a material personal interest in the outcome of the Complaint, must not be present at discussion regarding the Complaint or at any vote in relation to the Complaint.

8.7 Members of NEPCAM must co-operate

If the Investigating Officer or the Board requests information from any member of NEPCAM in relation to an investigation, the member must not without reasonable excuse fail to comply with the request. Without limiting what may be considered a reasonable excuse, the member is not required to comply with the request to the extent that:

  1. to do so would involve the member breaching a law or an obligation under a contract to which it is a party; or
  2. the request involves the disclosure of information which is subject to legal professional privilege or an obligation to keep the information confidential.

To avoid doubt, a breach of the obligation under this clause 8.7 is a breach of the Code.

8.8 If a breach is found

If the Board determines that the subject has breached the Code, it may attempt to negotiate (including through conciliation or mediation) a course of action with the subject. If the Board and subject are not able to reach an agreement within such time as the Board (in its absolute discretion) considers appropriate in the circumstances, the Board may take further action in accordance with clause 8.9

8.9 Further action

The Board may take any of the following actions (including any combination of them) as it considers appropriate:

  1. require the subject to provide information concerning the breach to NEPCAM's members;
  2. publish the name of the subject and the nature of the breach on the NEPCAM website.

No action may be taken until the expiry of the period within which an appeal may be requested in accordance with clause 8.13 a., or if an Appeal (as defined in clause 8.11) has been made, until the Appeal has been determined by the Appeals Officer.

The subject must comply with any action the Board determines in response to the breach. If the subject fails to do so, the Board may take any further action in accordance with this clause 8.9 as it considers appropriate.

8.10 Notification of outcome

The Board must notify the Complainant and the subject in writing:

  1. of its determination under clause 8.6 a.;
  2. of any action it has determined to take in accordance with clause 8.8 or clause 8.9 a.; and
  3. that the decision may be appealed in accordance with this clause 8.

A copy of the notices must be filed by the Board.

8.11 Appeal

An appeal from a determination of the Board may be made under clauses 8.6 to 8.9 (inclusive) (Appeal) may be made to the Appeals Officer in accordance with clause 8.13.

8.12 Appeals Officer

The Board must appoint an Appeals Officer, for a term of three years and on such other terms and conditions as the Board resolves. The Appeals Officer is to be selected from nominations made by the Board.

8.13 Review process

  1. An Appeal must be:

i. made in writing;

ii. sent to the Board Appeals Officer;

iii. received within 30 days after the date of the notice referred to in clause 8.10; and

iv. specify the grounds on which the Appeal is made.

An Appeal may be made on any grounds, and may relate to the whole or a part only of a determination.

  1. The Appeals Officer must:

i. consider the Appeal;

ii. give:

A. the Complainant, if the subject of the complaint has made the Appeal; or

B. the subject of the complaint, if the Complainant has made the Appeal, a copy of the Appeal and the opportunity to make written submissions in response to the Appeal within 21 days after the date of the notice;

iii. consider any submissions made in accordance with clause 8.13(c)(ii).

  1. The Appeals Officer must notify the Board and the Investigating Officer of the Appeal. The Board must give the Appeals Officer copies of:

i. the Complaint and all submissions received by the Investigating Officer in relation to the Complaint;

ii. the Investigating Officer’s draft report and a copy of any submission made by the subject in
relation to it;

iii. the Investigating Officer’s final report; and

iv. the Board's notices to the Complainant and the subject under clause 8.10.

  1. The Appeals Officer may:

i. uphold the determinations of the Board in whole or in part;

ii. overturn the determinations of the Board in whole or in part;

iii. make a new determination in relation to the Complaint; and

iv. if the Appeals Officer determines that there has been a breach of the Code, exercise the powers
of the Board set out in clauses 8.8 and 8.9.

  1. The Appeals Officer must notify the subject, the Complainant and the Board in writing of the determination made under clause 8.13(e).

8.14 No further appeal

A determination of the Appeals Officer may not be appealed.

8.15 Resignation of the subject of the complaint

If the subject ceases to be a member of NEPCAM at any time before any action that must be taken under this clause 8 is taken, the Board may resolve that any current procedures under this clause 8 in relation to the Complaint are to cease. If it does so, any action which may have been required to be taken under this clause 8 if the subject had continued to be a member of NEPCAM , is no longer required to be taken.

  1. However, the resignation of the subject does not prevent:
  2. the investigation of a Complaint concerning the subject;
  3. a determination being made in relation to the Complaint; or
  4. the taking of any action under clause 8.9, which is capable of being taken despite the subject ceasing to be a member of NEPCAM , in accordance with this clause 8.

8.16 The Board may publicise

The Board may, but is not required to, publicise at any time and by any method it considers appropriate:

  1. the fact that a Complaint has been made, including the names the Complainant and the name of the subject;
  2. the fact that a Complaint will be, is being or has been investigated; and
  3. the outcome of an investigation and any action taken.

 

9. Amending the NEPCAM Code of Conduct and the Guidance Document

9.1 The NEPCAM Code of Conduct may only be amended by the Board. The consent of non-members of NEPCAM to this Code is not required for amendment of the Code of Conduct.

 

10. Definitions

NEPCAM Code of Conduct: The standards and requirements set out in this Code to which members of NEPCAM are bound and against which complaints and compliance is assessed.

Member of NEPCAM : A member of NEPCAM is defined as a person who has, within the previous financial year, donated a sum of money to NEPCAM or who has donated funds during any past financial year for the express purpose of using it during the previous financial year (i.e. many sponsors pay their sponsorship fees many years in advance and while they are doing so they are considered to be a member of NEPCAM ).

Executive: A member of Nepcam elected/appointed by members from within the membership/supporters database to carry out a specific role on the Nepcam Executive Committee

Board:  A group of independents who may be, but do not have to be, sponsors of NEPCAM who oversee NEPCAM. Who have complete transparency of all finance and budget transactions and will report on the Executive outcomes in the NEPCAM Annual Report. The Board members will meet at least twice each financial year and provide advice and guidance to the Executives on its performance and overall efficiency and effectiveness where they feel it is necessary. Members of the NEPCAM Board include the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Finance Officer from the Executive.

Annual Report:  The annual report is one of the principal windows of Organisational performance, activity and accountability. It should be both reflective of the pursuits, issues and achievements for the period being reported and be predictive on future directions and activity. It shall contain, as a minimum:

  1. a statement of the Organisation's goals or purposes;
  2. a summary of overall program activities by country or region;
  3. the names, qualifications and experience of current members of the Executive Committee and Board as well as those who served at any time during the period being reported on;
  4. financial statements using a Summary Financial Report Format; and
  5. an audit opinion on the financial statements, clearly identifying the auditor (name, company, address and signature).

Code of Conduct Summary Financial Report:  Summary Financial Report derived from Full Financial Report

Full Financial Report:  NEPCAM's Full Financial Report (inclusive of statements, notes and auditor's report) as approved by the organisation's Executive Committee and presented to its Board and members.

The Governing Body: The Executive Committee is the authority ultimately responsible for governance over all aspects of the NEPCAM and the authority responsible for NEPCAM 's compliance with this Code of Conduct. The Executive Committee must be elected or appointed by members from within the membership or support base of NEPCAM .

This Code of Conduct sets out standards and requirements to which members of NEPCAM Trust Aid Fund (NEPCAM ) are bound and against which complaints and compliance is assessed. A member of NEPCAM is defined as a person who has, within the previous financial year, donated a sum of money to NEPCAM or who has donated funds during any past financial year for the express purpose of using it during the previous financial year (i.e. many sponsors pay their sponsorship fees many years in advance and while they are doing so they are considered to be a member of NEPCAM ).