U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please identify the good governance characteristics for running a civil society organisation with strong internal accountability measures (i.e., managing complaints, conflicts of interest, official travel, financial management, record keeping, election and accountability of the Board, etc). Where possible, please identify organisations with best practise examples.


Anti-Corruption civil society organisations are integral to helping prevent and raise awareness about corruption, and as a result, need to maintain public and donor confidence that they themselves are preventing corruption and promoting accountability standards within their own organisations. I am trying to identify potential anti-corruption and civil society partners in a corruption-prone environment and want to ensure their own organisations have strong internal accountability measures.


1. NGO accountability and donor relations
2. NGO standards and systems of accountability
3. Examples of NGO accountability initiatives
4. References
5. Appendix: List of potential indicators


As NGOs take on an increasingly prominent role as development assistance implementers and political counter-power, they are under greater scrutiny and pressure to demonstrate that they are using their resources in an efficient, accountable and transparent manner. Their legitimacy in managing aid resources is closely tied to their accountability to their constituency (and the public at large), their adherence to their mission, the transparency of their processes, and their effectiveness in fulfilling their mandate.

As, in most countries, only rather basic legal requirements for the set up and running of NGOs exist, NGO accountability is primarily enforced through selfregulatory mechanisms and internal rules and procedures, which therefore need to be carefully, assessed in terms of their effectiveness in managing corruption risks. This includes looking at the organisation’s governance structure and standards, independence, integrity policies/codes of conduct, transparency standards, human resource management policies, financial management standards and downward accountability measures.


Marie Chene, Transparency International, [email protected]


Dr. Finn Heinrich, Transparency International, [email protected]




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