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.
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.
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.