When we measure, organisations improve. HQAI is an independent auditor for the humanitarian and development sector. Professional, not-for-profit and non-governmental.
Through a system of independent quality assurance (this means “audit by an external party”) HQAI assesses the performance of organisations. Our audits determine the degree to which the implementation of the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) - and therefore good practice and accountability to affected communities - has been successful. Our audits also identify areas where organisations can improve.
Our motivation: professional auditing brings added value to the entire sector, for organisations, donors and most importantly for vulnerable and at-risk people and communities.
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Organisations making use of our services are extremely diverse in terms of size (1 to 150 country programmes), types (UN agency, group, national, international) and mandates (humanitarian, development, advocacy).
This diversity demonstrates the flexibility of the CHS as a standard, and of HQAI’s methods to measure its application.
HQAI offers the following three auditing services for organisations, networks and initiatives working in the humanitarian and development sector.
We hold a mirror for organisations to see themselves. Our audit reports point out their strengths and areas where they should improve. Certification and independent verification are four-year cycles that lead to continuous improvement and learning.
As organisations improve in putting people at the centre of their work, vulnerable and at-risk people benefit from more accountable aid.
The CHS puts people at the centre. Accordingly, a key component of HQAI audits is the engagement with communities.
Auditors meet with community groups to gain an understanding of their opinions or the quality and appropriateness of the actions of humanitarian or development organisations. This includes their direct feedback about staff behaviour.
Feedback given by communities forms a crucial part of the audit process and directly informs the audit findings (= report).
We contribute to making aid better. Independent audits are considered the most robust and reliable means to demonstrate compliance with standards. It is also an acknowledged tool in many sectors for learning and continuous improvement.
Donors trust HQAI and the CHS. Some request organisations to be independently audited against the CHS to obtain funding, others allow CHS-verified organisations to fast-track when applying for funding. And some are in discussion with HQAI on how to recognise HQAI audit reports in their own due diligence requirements (more about this process here).
DFID is looking at the level of convergence between its due diligence requirements and HQAI’s CHS audits to explore the scope for economies of scale by avoiding duplication of assessments Mary THOMPSON, FCDO (at that time DFID), October 2019
Some useful shortcuts
"We are not in-and-out auditors, but we accompany the organisations
over a period of four years.
The HQAI audit is not about a particular country, project or context. It has a very systematic approach which allows us to assess the organisation from a higher level and feed this information back to the organisation."
Birgit SPIEWOK, HQAI senior auditor, October 2019
Certification of the certifying body
HQAI implements and complies with the international ground rules of auditing. We apply these principles in our engagement with all actors along the chain of quality and accountability, an engagement that is annually demonstrated through HQAI’s accreditation against ISO/IEC 17065:2012.
Accreditation? Accreditation is the “certification” of the certification body (HQAI) by an authoritative body (Accredia).
Our services have a cost
Please find out more about the cost of our services on the dedicated pages for Certification, Independent Verification and Benchmarking. The good news is that as a not-for-profit NGO, HQAI makes sure that the services it provides remain financially accessible.
Two mechanisms have been developed to support small organisations to access independent quality assurance, a Group scheme and an HQAI Facilitation Fund: