B. Programme Principles

This part of the Code covers the programme Principles which underpin the aid and development activity of signatory organisations. Aid and development refer to activities undertaken in order to reduce poverty and address global justice issues that influence sustainable development. This may be via direct engagement through community projects, emergency management, community education, advocacy, volunteer sending, provision of technical and professional services and resources, environmental protection and restoration, and promotion and protection of human rights.

Not all of these aid and development activities are undertaken by signatory organisations; however these Principles form the basis of effective work in all of these areas. This group of Principles is perhaps the most critical to the credibility of the sector and must respond to international criticism of the effectiveness of aid and development.

The language of this section speaks to that external audience of donors, funding agencies, regulators, politicians and others - yet remains relevant to each CID signatory organisation’s unique combination of purpose, values and approach to doing its work. Most of the Principles within this Accountability will apply to all signatory organisations, however because of the range of work undertaken and the diversity of approach, this Accountability allows two dimensions of flexibility:

  • Signatory organisations are not required to comply with those Code Principles which do not apply to their work; and

  • Where their approach legitimately differs from that envisaged by the Code Obligations, a signatory organisation may apply an ‘if not, why not’ approach. That is, when completing the Compliance Self-Assessment (CSA), they may explain why they do not meet the Code Obligations and indicate how they comply with the relevant Principle by some other means. 

The Code also recognises that although some signatory organisations will have already incorporated the Programme Principles into their aid and development activity and are meeting the Obligations, other organisations will be working progressively toward achieving these.

The key compliance issue for the progressive Obligations in the Programme Principles Accountability is that signatory organisations prioritise working towards meeting the Code Principles and Obligation which are relevant to them, have a plan to phase in their introduction over time, and that the plan is actively monitored by the organisation.

In a few instances, this flexibility does not apply. Non-development activity (B.1.5); Control of funds and resources (B.2.3) and Child protection (B.3.4) are applicable to all signatory organisations of the Code and the Obligations of these principles are mandatory. This also applies to Emergency management, International standards (B.5.1), if undertaken by the signatory organisation.

For the smallest signatory organisations, formal adoption of the Code Obligations as a working guide to their aid and development work will be sufficient. For medium to large sized signatory organisations, with larger numbers of people involved, systems and processes would be expected to be sufficient to ensure consistent performance across the organisation. Organisations are expected to explain in their CSA how the Obligations are applied in day-to-day operations. For the smallest organisations, this may simply be a brief description (2-3 paragraphs) of how their development work is conceived and managed to meet these Obligations. 


B.1 Effective aid and development

B.1.1 Accountability to primary stakeholders

B.1.2 Quality approach

B.1.3 Consistency with vision, purpose and values

B.1.4 Addressing gender

B.1.5 Non-development activity

B.1.6 Environmental sustainability

B.2 Relationships with partners

B.2.1 Mutual respect and support

B.2.2 Clarity in roles and responsibilities

B.2.3 Control of funds and resources

B.3 Human Rights

B.3.1 Human rights in aid and development

B.3.2 Rights of vulnerable and marginalised people

B.3.3 Working with people with a disability

B.3.4 Protection of children

B.4 Advocacy

B.4.1 Speaking from evidence

B.5 Emergency management

B.5.1 International standards

B.5.2 Coordination with other actors

Disability inclusion Photo 31 TearFund

Photo credit: Tearfund