Civil society movements and organisations work towards positive change and justice at local, national, regional and global levels. They deliver services such as education, health or humanitarian aid.
They organise and support empowerment and emancipation initiatives: for women, LGBTI, youth, the elderly, migrants. They advocate to hold governments and businesses to account. They work for just laws, human rights, gender-, diversity and migrant justice, living wage, social and environmental responsibility etc.
Civil Society actors exist in all shapes and sizes, from small voluntary local initiatives to global movements. From trade unions to environmental, anti-poverty, human rights and peace movements. There are International non-governmental organisations and UN agencies.
G&I sees it as an obligation, in keeping with our mission, to support civil society actors in their work in the service of justice.
Integrity within civil society
Civil society organisations are value driven. They face complex moral decisions with big consequences for employees, volunteers, program-participants and communities. Decisions are often taken with urgency. The pressure can lead to mission overdrive and to moral injury. Time for moral deliberations and learning is too often not taken.
And like any organisation, civil society is not immune to violations. Just as in business and in government, there are risks of professional mistakes, interpersonal violations (sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying) corruption and vested interests, and fraud or theft. The work of humanitarian and development agencies, often in vulnerable and dangerous contexts, exposes them to a multitude of integrity risks.
Recent history has shown that the sector needs assistance. The media attention on the handling of several cases in the wake of #metoo means that the entire sector is now facing scrutiny. The failure to handle such crises makes the sector vulnerable to attacks by those who wish to see it curtailed.
G&I has experience of supporting its clients through crises around integrity for more than 25 years.
After the crisis has passed, G&I will work with the client organisation to build and strengthen its integrity system. That system will, in future, enhance moral judgement within the organisation and lower the occurrence of violations, preventing most crises.
G&I has developed a consistent, coherent and systematic approach to managing integrity in organisations. That approach has been adopted by the whole of the Dutch Civil society sector and can be replicated in civil society organisations around the globe.
G&I works with organisations of all sizes, from small teams of 20 people to a staff of 130,000. Our advice is always made to measure.
Often G&I is invited into an organisation at the point of crisis. The first step is to help clients to analyse and manage the crisis, to react and communicate carefully and effectively.
Once the immediate crisis is resolved, G&I helps clients to develop their integrity system. Usually that starts with a review of the existing integrity system. That is often followed by recommendations for an upgrade or redesign of the system. G&I then helps the organisation to implement those changes.
Integrity systems of organisations have two pillars: a moral learning process and a compliance practice. The moral learning process delivers better decision making and the creation of internal morespudence. The compliance practice lowers the number of violations through prevention and handles the violations which still occur in an appropriate manner.
G&I installs moral learning processes, and develops a compliance practice that both prevents integrity violations from taking place as far as possible, and allows them to be carefully handled when they nevertheless inevitably do.
G&I establishes and supports learning communities within civil society organisations, in which integrity is professionalised and cross-organisational learning is paramount.
In 2022, together with our partners Partos and Goede Doelen Nederland (two membership associations of civil society organisations in the Netherlands) , we launched the second version of the Integrity System Guide. This guide was first produced in 2018,and encapsulated a best practice approach to working on integrity within civil society organisations. It was embraced by the sector to address the need for better systems and structures to tackle sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, besides better-known systems to prevent financial misdemeanors, corruption, and conflict of interests.
The Integrity System Guide is written primarily for integrity professionals and for management. It describes the core components of a well-functioning integrity system and gives advice and tips about how to implement these. As far as possible it gives advice for organisations of different sizes, types and orientations.
This second iteration of the Integrity System Guide includes some key changes and improvements as well as smaller text adjustments:
- A structural shift which places other parts of the integrity system in the spotlight, including prevention and moral learning, as well as repression (responding to incidents and integrity violations).
- A deepening of the explanations around prevention, and specifically risk analysis and risk management.
- More attention to working on integrity within partnerships, coalitions and chains of responsibility
- More consideration about how the integrity system works in organisations where volunteers play an important role.
These changes reflect the issues that the sector has faced over the last four years in implementing integrity systems in their own organisations.
At present, the Dutch version is available for download. The English translation will follow shortly.
G&I works with civil society organisations on a broad and international scale. Both in the Netherlands, and in the international development, environmental and humanitarian sector.
In the Netherlands G&I has partnered with Partos, Goede Doelen Nederland and the Central Bureau on Fundraising on the Joint Action Plan on Integrity. This was drafted in 2018, which resulted in the creation of new accreditation standards on integrity for Civil Society members. G&I continues to support members of these branch organisations individually in developing their integrity systems in numerous ways.
Title: Integrity Officer Education Programme/Opleidingsprogramma voor integriteitsfunctionarissen
Start date: 2023 TBC
The individuals who function as integrity officers require specific knowledge and expertise in order to be able to fulfil their role. To support those integrity officers, G&I offers a modular, practice-oriented education programme that will allow Integrity Officers to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to meet their responsibilities, whilst learing on-the-job. Read more (Dutch version)
Registration: Click here to register
Sylvia is a Senior Advisor for G&I. Among her many previous roles, including in the international women’s and LGBTI movements, Sylvia was the Director of Greenpeace Netherlands.
Sylvia has vast experience working in the civil society sector, and specialist knowledge of management and governance structures.
Trainer and advisor
Emily Marr has worked for G&I since 2014 as an adviser and a trainer, focussing primarily on our work with the civil society sector. Prior to joining G&I, Emily worked in the international development sector in a variety of roles.
She has lived and worked in several countries around the world including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq and Nepal, and understands the reality and challenges faced by organisations who work internationally and in complex environments.
Advisor and trainer
Frans studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Groningen. He advises a large number of municipalities and government bodies on the development of their integrity policy.
As a trainer, he mainly focuses on the governance and management of organizations, and gives the basic course on compliance to higher management.
Trainer and advisor
Mira Krozer has joined G&I since 2015 as both an advisor and trainer for the civil society sector. Her passion lies with integrity and anti-corruption in Ukraine and other countries in the former Soviet Union.
She holds a BA in International Communication and an MA in Humanistic Studies. Mira is experienced in analysing and (re)desiging integrity systems and in performing risk analyses.
Rachel Ploem is senior specialist in gender, sexual and reproductive health and prevention of gender based violence in the international field. She joined G&I in 2019 and applies her extensive knowledge of gender, SRHR, diversity and inclusion to our work on interpersonal and other integrity issues.
Trainer and advisor
In 2003, Marija completed her International Law studies with a specialization in liability for human rights enforcement by the UN and member states under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. After this she worked for some time at the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the UN in New York and the OSCE in Bosnia.
Marija has extensive experience in training and advising the police, municipalities and educational institutions and bringing them together precisely where interests seem to diverge.