Sound governance for us and for all
NHS members know that enjoying human dignity and accomplishing goals depends on integrity in all aspects of our work. Integrity can be lacking in public service and civil society in Cambodia. Corruption, nepotism, cronyism and self-interest, etc., harm everyone but none more so than our vulnerable members. If we let them creep in, there is a risk that the gains we make will soon be lost. Therefore, to be credible, we are committed to "Good Governance" in its widest definition:
"Governance describes the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Hereby, public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources, and guarantee the realization of human rights. Good governance accomplishes this in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law." (Wikipedia)
We preach and teach good governance. We practice good governance internally.We advocate it externally. We believe in its universality as for human rights, so that principles are applied fairly without fear or favour. We demonstrate our absolute commitment by being open for any questions, suggestions, and inspections.
NHS members have been and are devoting considerable effort towards its governance commitment with:
- A clear managing structure with the right balance of skills and experience, of members and external experts, to run our affairs effectively.
- Binding personal commitments; good systems; extra checks and balances, and fully open-working to demonstrate that we always act in the best interests of and all our beneficiaries.
- Special induction and briefing sessions, designed for all our members at every level to understand equally, so that everyone knows their rights and responsibilities and can take full part regardless of disability or disadvantage.
- Charter and Bye-Laws
NHS members have formulated one of the most advanced NGO constitutions in Cambodia which you can read here. It was promulgated at the Annual Conference in February 2009 when the new structure became fully operational. (Please refer to "Latest News") A Steering Committee worked throughout 2008 on the Charter and Bye-laws with advice from supporters and trustees and exchanging ideas with them. NHS provisions are rare, as they genuinely reflect ownership and control by members from village-level upwards, not the usual top-down model of leadership. Minutes of meetings show that it is the NHS senior beneficiaries making all key decisions.
- Tripartite Organisation Structure and Operations
NHS has extended the standard NGO structure of a Board of Directors and Management Team in order to serve its governance aim best. The board level consists of both a Governing Council (GC) which has overall control of policies and direction, and a Board of Trustees (BT) with the primary role of assisting the Governing Council to be effective. A Secretariat serves both bodies in day-to-day management and implementation of activities with beneficiaries. This power dimension is firm.
- Stated Positions on Policies, Principles, and Standards
NHS makes available its instruments of governance and vital policy documents. They include client-care protection with also special measures for women and children; staff codes of conduct, trainee apprenticeship scheme, etc. We request that organizations making use of them give due attribution.
- Open standing invitations to external inspections, evaluations, and audits
Although NHS has tried very hard to ensure that its internal governance and efficiency are exemplary, we recognize and value that external input will always help us to improve further. Those of you willing to do this will be assured of genuine co-operation, full respect for your contribution, and feedback on how we apply it.
NHS Annual Conference
Representatives of all Self-Help Groups and their federated network branches attend to ratify Governing Council and Board of Trustee appointments and decisions.
We were told "It cannot be done!" How can people with speech and hearing difficulties convey their message to senior officials? The answer? Drama acted out by the Child Advocacy Group and an MC who can use "sign" language!