Rapid Action For Human Advancement Tradition(RAHAT) aims to ensure high ethical standards and maintenance of integrity of our work and allocation of resources. The principles of transparency and disclosure are essential to achieving these objectives.RAHATin its Governing Board Meeting held on 25.3.2014 approved 3 polices for RAHAT namely - the Conflict of Interest Policy, Dealing “With Fraud & Irregularities Policy & Anti-Bribery Policy. These policies are described below one by one.
By disclosing relevant personal, occupational, or financial connections or interests, RAHATwill ensure that conflicts of interest are identified and resolved, thereby preserving the objectivity and credibility of its programmes and decision-making processes.
A conflict of interest refers to situations in which personal, occupational, or financial considerations, either direct or indirect, may affect, or could appear to others to affect, the objectivity or fairness of Staff members or Board Members participating in aRAHATactivity. A conflict of interest may be real, potential, or perceived in nature.
As a guide only (and not an exhaustive list) real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could include:
If in doubt Staff members and Board Members should declare their situation on the Declaration of Interests Form and there’s a sample in the appendix.
Any potential conflict of interest for Staff members will be referred to an objective body within RAHATAs a guide this body will consider the following when assessing whether a conflict of interest does in fact exist:
The objective body will set out both recommendations and required actions needed to either:
Definition of Fraud
Fraud is defined as the National &International distortion of financial statements or other records by persons internal or external to the organisation which is carried out to conceal the misappropriation of assets or otherwise for personal gain.
Examples of Fraud
The following list is not intended to be exhaustive but gives examples of matters which are likely to be classed as fraudulent:
Fraud is an offense that will result in immediate dismissal. It should be noted that RAHAT will use all means possible to recuperate funds and notify partner NGOs of an individual’s fraudulent activity.
These include unauthorized activities for private gain e.g. “borrowing” from petty cash, personal use of vehicles, abuse of telephones and other equipment.
Protection of Staff
RAHATwill at all times protect its Staff members from any negative personal consequences arising from the reporting, in good faith, of any fraud and irregularities. To the extent possible, without negative impact on the course of the investigation, the source of reported information will be kept confidential and limited in circulation.
Matters Which Do Not Require Reporting
Generally, genuine errors which are picked up as a result of existing controls before a payment is made do not require reporting. Where, however, this is a persistent problem, e.g. recurrent misinterpretation of policies/procedures, these matters should be reported in order that consideration can be given to changing the wording of those policies/procedures to provide greater clarity.
RAHATadopts a zero-tolerance approach to incidences where Staff, Volunteers, partners, agents or contractors are involved in bribery or corruption and seeks to work with organisations having a similar approach. RAHATrecognises that it works in some very challenging, insecure environments and would not expect its Staff to risk life, limb or freedom to uphold this policy.
The anti-bribery legislations in force in India are the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which expressly prohibit and penalise the acceptance, facilitation and giving of any illegal gratification in respect of official act of a public servant.
Bribery is defined as the offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of money, a gift or other advantage as an inducement to do something that is illegal or a breach of trust in the course of carrying out an organization’s activities.
Examples of bribery may include:
Facilitation payments are payments which induce officials to perform routine functions they are otherwise obligated to perform. Facilitation payments still constitute bribes and are unacceptable under this. Facilitation payments do not include legally required administrative fees and legitimate fast-track services.
Gifts and hospitality
These can range from small gifts (such as diaries) to expensive hospitality (tickets for/invitations to major events, holidays etc.). Hospitality or promotional expenditure which is proportionate and reasonable to demonstrating the work of RAHATor reflecting good relations is unlikely to qualify as a bribe. However, extravagant gifts and hospitality may be used to disguise bribes that are intended to induce improper behavior (e.g. to fix the outcome of a tendering process).
Similarly, where employees of RAHATare offered gifts or hospitality that seems excessive, they should be aware that this may constitute a bribe or at least present a conflict of interests. No gift or hospitality that is blatantly excessive should be accepted, and senior management should be notified of any gift received.
The principle that hospitality and gifts should be proportional, that is, of negligible value, should be adhered to in all circumstances. This is appropriate not only in the context of this anti-bribery policy, but also in respect of the efficient and effective use of organizational resources.
RAHATexpects all individuals across the organization to take a proactive role in improving the organization’s anti-bribery policy and practice.
Members & Board Members
Governing Board Members will provide leadership, resources and active support for the implementation of this policy. They are responsible for ensuring that this policy and any associated policies are fit for purpose and complied with.
The Secretary is responsible for proper implementation of the policy.He/she is also responsible, along with theother authorized person for ensuring all appropriate information is supplied to internal and external auditors, and that any recommendations of the auditors in relation to fraud, corruption or bribery are followed up.
Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that the spirit of this policy is incorporated into all aspects of RAHATpeople management including recruitment, promotion, training, performance evaluation, remuneration and reward – and that these policies are continually improved in consultation with Staff.
Finance is responsible for ensuring that the spirit of this policy is incorporated into all aspects of RAHATfinance management including accounting for gifts, Staff expenses and donations – and that these policies are continually improved in consultation with staff.
The Fundraising Unit and RAHAT are responsible for ensuring that the spirit of this policy is incorporated into all aspects of RAHATfundraising activities and relationships with donor-organizations.
Staff and Volunteers
Individuals are responsible for not giving or receiving bribes and challenging instances where bribery may occur. They are also responsible for reporting all bribery that they are aware of via the procedures laid out in this policy.
Where individuals fail to meet this responsibility disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including dismissal, with the usual recourse to processes of appeal available.
Volunteers are responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of all RAHATfunds issued to them, be they allowances or funds issued for events/programmes, as well as the appropriate use of their own funds while volunteering with RAHAT. They will also be required to sign and adhere to the RAHATCode of Conduct Personal Policy. Should volunteers fail to meet their responsibilities under this policy, they will be asked to leave the programme immediately.
All Staff and Volunteers are responsible for adhering to the standards of recording financial transactions required by the Finance Policies.
Top level commitment
RAHATis committed to tackling bribery at the highest level.
The action that will be taken with regard to those found to be engaging in bribery is articulated in personal policy, under the disciplinary procedures.
It is the responsibility of the Secretary of the organization, Finance and Administration authority to consider the risks of specific programmes, partnerships/donor-relationships/grants and supplier relationships in relation to bribery and corruption.
Rahat recognizes that good anti-bribery practice starts from the outset of employing an individual. It therefore requires all Staff to sign the personal policy which sets out appropriate Staff behaviors and disciplinary procedures. In addition, a thorough programme of Staff communication and training is provided.
Working with Service Suppliers and in Partnerships.
RAHATis liable under the Indian Bribery Act ofPrevention of Corruption Act (“PC Act) 1988,if a person “associated” with it, either in a Country Programme or the Indian Bribery Act another, intending to obtain or retain business/grants/donations or an operational or business advantage for RAHAT.
RAHATrequires all individuals engaging suppliers of services and working with partners of behalf of RAHATto ensure that:
Charitable and political donations
A political contribution is a donation made to a politician, a political party or a political campaign. Charities are not permitted to make political donations and therefore political donations are not permitted on behalf of RAHAT.
Staff should ensure that any donation received or made by RAHAT is not an incentive to conduct its business improperly. All donations must be approved in line with RAHATprocedures.
All Staff and suppliers must understand and comply with RAHATanti-bribery policy. To ensure that this is communicated, RAHATwill:
What Staff should do if they are offered or asked for a bribe
Individuals should reject demands for or offers of bribes and RAHATanti-bribery stance should be made clear.
The only circumstance where payment might not necessarily be avoided is when health and security is seriously at risk. Manager’s concerned officers should plan their operations and have security procedures to reduce the risk of payments being requested under compulsion.
Where bribery is suspected or where it occurs
To enable proper investigation, Staff should record the details of any bribery or requested or attempted bribery, as soon as possible after the event. Any instances of actual or potential bribery should be reported to the RAHAT through Director - Admin.
Monitoring and Review
This policy will be reviewed annually or after a significant change in operations or a significant incident. This will be in consultation with RAHAT Staff.
Board members and directors have an obligation, and often a legal duty, to demonstrate that they have operated in the best interests of RAHAT. This includes taking appropriate steps to protect against fraud.
What constitutes appropriate action will depend on the context and circumstances. It is important that any actions taken are consistent with policy and proportionate to the incident.
Responding to instances of fraud
RAHAT has taken steps to mitigate the risk of fraud by creating a strong control environment and a culture built on values. Even with these measures in place however, the complexity and nature of our work makes it likely that some fraudulent activity, either within or outside of the organisation is likely to occur.
Each incident will be different and the way that we respond will depend upon the context and specific circumstances. There are however three overarching core principles that inform the way that we respond to any incident. These principles are.
Outside of these core principles the Secretary has some flexibility in how to respond, depending upon the nature of the incident and the context. The table below outlines the possible steps that theSecretarymay take in response to an incident.
Report the fraud
Responding to a confirmed fraud
Dealing with a loss of funds