3.3.1 Accountability monitoring

Accountability Monitoring: a continuous task

While Accountability Monitoring is important during a specific crisis response, it is possible and advisable to review accountability mechanisms also before, after or in between acute crisis - especially in the context of protracted crisis. Rapid Accountability Reviews (RAR), as described here, are the core method on which a continuous process of monitoring, adapting and improving accountability mechanisms can and should be build on.

The term ‘accountability monitoring’ is used to mean the monitoring of our performance on accountability as described by the thrid pillar of the CARE Humanitarian Accountability Framework (HAF). In Chapter 32 of the CET you’ll find a more detailed description of CARE’s Quality and Accountability commitments for humanitarian programming.

Accountability monitoring can help CARE to:

  • Check that the accountability systems that have been set up are working effectively.
  • Focus our monitoring on approach, processes, relationships and behaviours, quality of work, satisfaction as well as outputs and activities.
  • Priortise listening to the views of disaster affected people to assess our impact and identify improvements.
  • Provide a feedback opportunity for staff, communities and other key stakeholders to comment on our response and how we are complying with our standards and benchmarks.

Accountability monitoring contributes to CARE’s overall monitoring and evaluation activities. Aspects can be integrated into other project monitoring tools, or carried out as a specific activity e.g. a beneficiary satisfaction survey or FGD (Focus Group Discussion) to solicit feedback and complaints from specific groups amongst the crisis affected population, with specific vulnerabilities or in isolated communities as part of a formal complaints mechanism. Ideally, accountability mechanisms and the monitoring of their effectiveness should be built into project proposals from the outset.

Accountability data (including complaints data) needs to be incorporated into monitoring reporting, alongside monitoring of project progress.

Rapid Accountability Review (RAR)

The Rapid Accountability Review (RAR) is the central tool for accountability monitoring in CARE’s humanitarian programmes.

What is a Rapid Accountability Review?

A RAR is a rapid performance assessment of emergency response against CARE’s HAF that takes place within the first few months of an emergency response. It generates findings and recommendations that are used to make immediate adjustments to the response. It is also a key source for any response review and performance management process.  It usually entails interviews with CARE management, staff, communities and other key external stakeholders, and is led by an independent team leader.

What is the purpose of a RAR?

The overall goal of the RAR is to improve the quality of CARE’s response by assessing its compliance with established good accountability practice. More specifically, the RAR:

  • Provides a real time assessment of HAF compliance early during a humanitarian response
  • Ensures that the views of our key stakeholders are taken into account in making adjustments to our response and in drawing lessons learned.
  • Identifies good practices, highlight gaps (including gaps in capacity)  gaps and areas for improvement
  • Makes recommendations to CARE management (CO, CI and CARE Members) for immediate action related to the ongoing response

When does it take place?

  • Ideally, a RAR is conducted within 2 months of the start of an emergency event, and feeds into the general response review and performance management process
  • A similar process can also be repeated at later stages of response in order to take stock of HAF compliance and improvements made, or to feed into a particular event such as a response evaluation, an emergency strategy review, or EPP event

How to conduct a RAR?

Detailed  information about how to conduct a RAR can be found in the Annex 9.6  RAR-Guidance. 

In summary a Rapid Accountability Review should ideally include:

  • A self-assessment by CARE staff and partners against relevant indicators (see Annex 9.7: staff engagement)
  • Focus group discussions with affected populations (see annexes 9.8a, 9.8b, 9.9,)
  • key informant interviews
  • an synthesis and analysis meeting / workshop to review results of the above and prepare lessons and recommendations for the ongoing response and for an After Action Review (AAR – see section 8. Learning and Evaluation activities) below

Other examples for accountability monitoring can be found at Annex 9.9a Sample of accountability monitoring tools, including:

  • Checklists.
  • Simple questionnaires.
  • Focus group discussion tools.
  • Staff review tools.
  • Monitoring tool to help research into local communities’ views.

The RAR Summary (annex 9.6a) provides a tool that facilitates the synthesis of information collected during the accountability monitoring in an organised way against the 9 commitments of the HAF. It also identifies which key performance criteria are relevant at what stage of the response or for what level of accountability review (light, basic, comprehensive).

Depending on the methodology and format of the RAR there can be different reporting formats. Here are few examples: