Governance & Assurance
Management & Administration
The Start Network recognises that the humanitarian sector has fallen short in terms of safeguarding vulnerable people with which it has been committed to serve. In 2018, our members, NGOs, safeguarding experts, DFID, and the Charity Commission pledged to improve safeguarding standards across the international humanitarian sector at a Safeguarding Summit. The joint pledge to ensure all people are safe from sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment was signed by 32 organisations and government, including the Start Network. Since then, the Start Network has worked to improve its own safeguarding policies and practices, building on best practice. In 2019, as the Start Network becomes an independent organisation, an internal standard for safeguarding practice will be set.
Anti-Fraud, bribery and corruption
We have ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards fraud, bribery and corruption, and require all member organisations to immediately report any incidents or suspicions of fraud, bribery or corruption within their activities funded by Start Network.
Start Network has robust measures in place for managing risk in the Network, including a risk register is maintained and reviewed regularly by the leadership, Finance & Audit Committee and the Board of Trustees. The Network Membership Agreement and the Membership Policy outline the expectations, rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Start Network and its member organisations. This includes ownership of risk for downstream partners, a process for reporting fraud in programme implementation, and a robust due diligence process for members, which is renewed every three years. Our Finance & Audit Committee also advises on financial risk and compliance.
Prior to independence the Start Network produced a Business Case which included a four-year financial plan which confirms our financial viability for the future years. This financial plan was pivotal in the approval of spin off by SCUK.
The annual financial management of Start Network includes budgets, forecasts and a business plan. From this year, we will also produce annual statutory financial statements as part of our annual report.
One of the main responsibilities of the Finance & Audit Committee is overseeing the proper management of the charity’s finances, reviewing management accounts, budgets, budgeting processes and forecasts. Reviewing the annual budget of the charity and recommending, as appropriate, the approval of the budget to the Board.