Transparency | ActionAid UK

Transparency

Transparency is a way of working and reporting financial activities that is open and honest.

For ActionAid, this means being open about our financial affairs and how we spend the money we raise, but it also means working in a way that clearly shows how we put our values into action.

It is not just about publishing lengthy and complex annual reports; it’s about providing short, clear summaries in easily accessible language for anyone to read and understand.

Why is transparency important?

As a leading UK charity, we are accountable to our staff, partners, donors, stakeholders, the UK government and, most importantly, to the women and children living in poverty who we support.

Transparency is important because it:

  • builds trust and means the people we help, our supporters and other stakeholders can make more meaningful choices
  • proves to our financial supporters how we’ve made a difference with their donations
  • shows the people we help what we are doing in their name and enables them to be actively involved and to hold us accountable.

 

Accountability: Community feedback on communications and fundraising products

 

After Typhoon Haiyan we shared samples of our fundraising and communications materials for our appeal with communities to ask for their feedback on how they are being presented externally and suggestions on the issues they wanted to highlight to the outside world. This photo shows a boy who was surprised and happy to recognise his father in a photo of a relief distribution tweeted by ActionAid staff.

Photo: Hawariat Petros/ ActionAid

How is ActionAid transparent?

We aim to be as transparent as possible in the following ways:

  • In every community we work in we use Transparency Boards to share information about our projects — like the programme objectives, who the funder is, and how much money will be spent on what. These boards are displayed in a public place and updated regularly as a way to improve our accountability to communities.
  • We communicate clearly about what we do to all our stakeholders in the UK.
  • We provide information about our impact and effectiveness in a clear, easily-accessible way through our website and supporter communications.
  • Our Open Information Statement shows you where you can access the information we will proactively publish, and the additional information you can request from us.
  • We publish our financial information through our annual accounts updated each year in May.
  • We publish financial information to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
  • We make public the ActionAid Articles of Association (download pdf).

Maintaining confidentiality and keeping people safe

There are some types of information that we may not be able to share, to respect confidentiality and the law, and to protect our staff in high-risk situations such as war or conflict.

Information we will protect includes:

  • personal information about our members of staff
  • intellectual property that is confidential or subject to restrictions
  • information about ongoing legal processes.

If you can’t find important information you’re looking for, please get in touch with us at transparency@actionaid.org.uk.

Our CEO’s salary

We believe it is important that our staff are not paid more than is necessary, while acknowledging their knowledge and expertise. We pride ourselves on having a pay and grading structure that is affordable, sustainable and in line with the sector. Our directors’ salaries are set so they never exceed the median salary for comparable roles in similar organisations within the charity sector.

In 2016, ActionAid’s Chief Executive salary was £106,743. Our Chief Executive’s pay remains well below the market rate for most UK charity directors (with the 2016 median salary range of other general charity chief executives being over £185,000) and well below most executive salaries in the public and private sector).1

ActionAid firmly believes that’s as it should be – people work for a charity because they are committed to building a better world. But for a job that demands responsibility, our chief executive’s salary reflects his knowledge, skills and detailed experience of development, whilst offering real value for money.

For more information related to ActionAid Director’s salary and expenses, please refer to our annual Trustee Reports and Accounts.

Ensuring your money is spent responsibly

With over 40 years’ experience in international development, ActionAid has a long history of building effective partnerships with local organisations and running our projects in the most responsible and financially secure way. Our child sponsorship programme also keeps our work routed in the same communities, meaning we build long term relationships based on trust.

That said, no organisation is immune to fraud. ActionAid has a zero tolerance policy on fraud and corruption and are proactive in trying to minimise opportunities in which fraud can occur.  We have policies, procedures, controls and assurance in place, both internationally and nationally, with oversight by the ActionAid International Board and through country level boards. Relevant policies include bribery and corruption, financial management, and delegation schemes.

All allegations made through our whistleblowing or complaints are investigated immediately. Any staff found to have engaged in such activities will be subject to disciplinary procedures and we always take legal action to recover funds. We also provide training on bribery and corruption for finance staff and treasurers throughout the federation.

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Footnotes

Photo credit: Esben Salling/ActionAid. Main photo: Mwanajuma Hiribae, a Programme Coordinator, updates the ActionAid transparency board in Wenje, Kenya, with information about the budgets of the initiatives being carried out.