Governance of the Code 

Self Audits

The Volunteer Sending Agency carries out an annual self-audit, providing commentary and evidence of the organisation’s progress in implementing the values, principles and indicators of the Code. The organisation submits its first self-audit before becoming joining the Code. Self-audits are due by the 1st of December each year. Feedback by a Comhlámh staff member is provided on each self-audit.

download self audit document

External Audits

These are carried out by a contracted external consultant. An organisation undergoes its first external audit following the submission of its first self-audit at the end of which a detailed 3 year action plan will be developed for the organisation to progress to the next level of compliance. Thereafter a Volunteer Sending Agency will undergo an external audit every three years to review the action plan, identify progress made and which indicators have been met and to what extent. 

An external audit involves the consultant reviewing past audits of the Volunteer Sending Agency and meeting with representatives to discuss the organisation’s current implementation of the Code to verify documentation and to develop a dedicated action plan for progression. The external auditor then submits a report assessing the Volunteer Sending Agency’s current implementation of the Code and the agreed action plan. 

Recognition Panel

A Recognition Panel meets annually to review progression and to award an organisation if it has attained a higher level of compliance. An organisation is considered for submission to the Recognition Panel if an external audit indicates that it may have reached a higher level of compliance. The panel considers self-audits, Comhlámh’s feedback and any external audit completed. 

The Recognition Panel is comprised of an external expert from the development sector with a background in organisational development and knowledge of international volunteering, the external consultants who carried out the audits and Comhlámh’s Director. 

The Recognition Panel is also responsible for hearing appeals from Volunteer Sending Agencies on panel decisions based on new evidence submitted within one year. The panel also reviews an organisation being a party to the Code if they are failing to meet the Code’s requirements and to revoke a Volunteer Sending Agency’s status if it has been found that an organisation is failing to abide by its commitments under the Code terms. 

Guide to completing the self audit:

  • A key member of staff, member of board of management or an active volunteer with a thorough knowledge of the Volunteer Sending Agency should lead the self-audit process with support from other representatives from the organisation.
  • The self-audit should be completed by at least two individuals within the organisation. We encourage an organisational approach to both the implementation of the Code and evaluation of progress as this facilitates internal discussion and reflection, enables richer feedback and allows for the development of a realistic action plan for further progression.
  • Self-audits must be submitted by the 1st of December with the dedicated Code self-audit document along with all supporting evidence.
  • Each principle has a number of indicators. These indicators are marked as intermediate level compliance or advanced compliance with relevant Code award icons. There are 21 intermediate level indicators in the Code and 11 advanced compliance indicators.

 

An organisation is awarded this icon after having being assessed by the Recognition Panel that they have reached the intermediate level of compliance. Volunteer Sending Agencies are required to reach the intermediate level of compliance within 3 years of its first external audit. In order to reach this level an organisation is required to have 15 of the total of 21 intermediate compliance indicators fully in place, and 6 of the remaining intermediate compliance indicators substantially in place. 

 

An organisation is awarded this icon after having being assessed by the Recognition Panel that they have reached the intermediate level of compliance. Volunteer Sending Agencies are required to reach the intermediate level of compliance within 3 years of its first external audit. In order to reach this level an organisation is required to have 15 of the total of 21 intermediate compliance indicators fully in place, and 6 of the remaining intermediate compliance indicators substantially in place. 

  • Please provide a brief description of how you are currently working to meet this indicator. 
  • Please provide a list of evidence to reflect the above description. This evidence should be readily available by using the template and folders provided.
  • Please describe any specific plans for progressing this indicator next year. 
 
FULLY, SUBSTANTIALLY, PARTIALLY OR NOT ATTAINED:

 

FULLY ATTAINED: specific evidence is available to show that this indicator is fully operational within the organisation.

SUBSTANTIALLY ATTAINED: specific evidence is available to show that this indicator is operational within the organisation. Although the indicator is substantially in place, some (usually small) developments in policy and/or practice are required before the indicator is fully attained.

PARTIALLY ATTAINED: evidence is available to show that this indicator is partially operational within the organisation. This status is broad in range and could indicate significant progress towards fully attained status or that work has recently commenced in this area.

NOT ATTAINED: the organisation does not have specific evidence available to show that this indicator is operational within the organisation. 

  • EVIDENCE: In order to assist the self-auditing process a list of suggested evidence that may show that an indicator has been met is listed for each indicator. Except if stated otherwise, this list should be used as a guide only and is not expected to be an exhaustive list of the evidence available from each organisation. Some evidence is marked mandatory and so to fulfil this indicator the organisation must provide this material. 
  • Please contact the Volunteering Quality Project Officer if you have any questions or difficulties in completing the self-audit: info@comhlamh.org
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