Monday, 22 October 2007

Nestle v Oxfam

In March the One World Trust published its Global Accountability Report, which compares various measures of accountability between 30 intergovernmental, non-governmental and corporate bodies.

It scores each organisation in various ways – and one of the indicators is transparency.

This indicator is formed of six ‘components’ which focus on whether the organisation has a “policy on information disclosure” and “systems to support transparent practices”.

This is how well they did on that measure (p.26):

That is, international NGOs were the least likely of the three groups to have a transparency policy and commitment to transparency. Both Nestle and the World Bank, frequently on the wrong side of INGO criticism, scored more highly than all the NGOs, including Oxfam, IFRC and World Vision. Only ActionAid bucked the trend.

This is what these organisations should do:

  • Introduce a policy that guides its disclosure of information and ensure it includes:
    • A commitment to respond to all information requests
    • A timeframe for responding to information requests
    • Narrowly defined conditions for nondisclosure
    • An appeals process for denial of information
  • Ensure the organisation’s leaders assume responsibility for oversight of transparent practices and compliance with information disclosure policy
  • Develop training on the information disclosure policy
  • Disseminate the information disclosure policy to external stakeholders and translate it appropriately
  • Include a ‘contact us’ function on the website

The 2007 Global Accountability Report will be launched on 3 December 2007 - so stay tuned!

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