Core Humanitarian Standard

Accountability is at the very core of everything we do in Concern – at all levels, across our 25 countries of operation. This is why, in October 2017, we became the first Irish organisation to be certified against the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS).

What is the Core Humanitarian Standard?

The CHS is an internationally recognised standard which outlines nine commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.

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Concern's path to certification

As a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), Concern continuously strengthens and expands systems and processes to ensure accountability across its development and humanitarian programmes. In late 2017, Concern was the first Irish agency to be accredited with CHS certification based on a rigorous external process including country visits to Liberia and Burundi. This audit process was conducted by the Geneva-based Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) The HQAI certificate is valid for four years, until October 2021.

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Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Irish humanitarian charity Concern Worldwide
"Everywhere I go in Concern - whether it’s a refugee camp, whether it is an internally displaced camp or whether it is a remote village on top of a mountain – I know there will be a mechanism so that the community can either make a phone call or put something in a suggestion box and it will be acted upon."
Dominic MacSorley, Concern CEO

In 2018, Concern went through a maintenance audit and this was followed in 2019 by a more rigorous mid-term audit. This involved a visit by an HQAI team to Concern Bangladesh for eight days, interviews and document review with Concern Somalia and a document review for Concern Lebanon. The mid-term audit confirmed Concern’s ongoing compliance with the CHS and highlighted four areas (non-conformities) that will require attention. 

A CHS Steering Committee at the Concern HQ level provides oversight and technical advice on the ongoing rollout of, and adherence to the CHS. Specific working groups have been established and these work on the non-conformities identified by HQAI. Concern has such working groups on ‘Unintended Consequences’ and also one on ‘Complaints Response Mechanisms’.

A second Maintenance Audit was completed in October 2020. This checked on progress with the four non-conformities that Concern is currently working to address. The recertification audit is planned for October 2021.

Each Country Programme has a CHS accountability improvement plan and they report against this each year.         

Details of Concern's HQAI audits (Initial audit, maintenance audit, and mid-term audit) can be found in the below reports.

HQAI Audits

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Our impact in 2019

11.5 M icon
11.5 M

people reached through our emergency response

10.1 M icon
10.1 M

people reached through our health interventions

15.1 M icon
15.1 M

people reached through our long term development programmes

Aline Joyce Berabose and her mother Marie Ange Berabose at the Resurge Conference, 2018. Photo: Photocall Ireland.

Read our annual report

  • Our accounts are prepared in accordance with the Charities SORP.

  • Our annual report has won Published Accounts Awards 22 times since 1988.

  • We have been awarded 'Triple Lock' membership by Charities Institute Ireland.

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