CDF STORIES: ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN CARITAS SLOVENIA

At Caritas Slovenia, we started our organisational development (OD) process in December 2014 with a targeted workshop for members of the national office. During this workshop, we also introduced the Board of Directors to the Caritas Internationalis Management Standards (CI MS). Subsequently, Caritas Slovenia ratified the CI MS on 8 June 2015. We also completed our CI MS self-assessment.

In January 2016, we started with the implementation of the three-year (2016-2018) OD plan, supported by the Caritas Development Fund (CDF).    

Our project goal is: Caritas Slovenia is seen as a transparent and accountable humanitarian organisation in comparison to other humanitarian organisations in Slovenia and in Caritas Europa network.

Objective 1: By December 2018, Caritas Slovenia will improve its position internally and externally and will be stronger in accordance with national law and in line with CI Statute and CIMS.

Objective 2: By December 2018, Caritas Slovenia has a clear financial policy and good understanding of its responsibility for being a transparent and accountable organisation.

Objective 3: By December 2018, Caritas Slovenia has appropriate methods and mechanisms for effective monitoring and evaluation of all implemented programs and projects in place.

During 2016, we invested most of our efforts into preparing the missing documents and completing the existing ones, in compliance with Slovenian law and the CI MS. This was done so that we could prepare our financial reports and contracts with diocesan Caritas, in view of the annual financial audit.

We are proud and happy that these documents were prepared in working groups and also in collaboration with external experts. The whole Caritas Slovenia national team and its Executive Board (composed of the Secretary Generals from all six diocesan Caritas) were also involved in this discussion. On 6 December 2016, the National Board discussed and adopted four new bylaws (Bylaw of complaints handling procedure; Bylaw for the protection of confidential and personal data in Caritas Slovenia; Bylaw on the prohibition of work under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other prohibited substances; Bylaw on the prohibition of sexual and other harassment or workplace bullying in Caritas Slovenia) and amended four different existing documents (Bylaw on fundraising actions, Bylaw on disaster response; Bylaw on seals and logo of Caritas Slovenia; Bylaw on accounting with annexes).

Since January 2016, we have held weekly team meetings on OD for the national office. During these meetings, we discuss and evaluate internal procedures and proposals of bylaws and exchange about new ideas and current problems. In addition, the Secretary General of Caritas Slovenia, together with the OD coordinator, reports about development (monitoring).

In January 2016, we also carried out trainings on financial matters and project management (clarification on financial project application, division of different costs, etc.).

In April 2016, the teams of the national office and of the Caritas Institute, along with some volunteers, passed the training and knowledge test for safety at work and fire protection. The following month we completed the fire regulations as well as the minutes and report on the investigations of the working environment (the thermal environment and lighting conditions). In June 2016, we completed the Declaration on Safety and Risk Assessment. These documentations are required by Slovenian law and were prepared by an external company in cooperation with Caritas Slovenia.

Since June 2016, external stakeholders have access to a book of comments (complaints) and compliments at the reception of Caritas Slovenia’s office. This is the result of a bylaw on complaints handling procedure for beneficiaries (recipients) of Caritas services and material aid, which we prepared in cooperation with the Secretary Generals of diocesan Caritas.

In June 2016, we finalised two main documents:

  • corporate image manuals for national Caritas and the six Diocesans Caritas (physical & e-version); and

  • templates (proposals) for parish Caritas.

Staff from the national office and also from diocesan Caritas was involved in the process.

In March 2016, we started to complete the methodology for financial and narrative reporting (MoU). In cooperation with the Secretary Generals of the diocesan Caritas, we prepared forms for the diocesans Caritas to use when reporting on funds transferred by Caritas Slovenia. The Executive Board, the Secretary Generals of the Diocesan Caritas and the Secretary General of Caritas Slovenia decided that they will prepare in the course of 2016 and 2017 forms for reporting on all fundraising actions in which Caritas Slovenia transfers funds to diocesan Caritas.

In November 2016, Caritas Slovenia successfully passed its financial audit for the year 2015.

In October and November 2016, the Working group for Ethic and Caritas Slovenia’s national team prepared a proposal on ethical values and principles for Caritas Slovenia, in line with Caritas Internationalis’ standards. We also prepared a Code of Conduct for Staff on the basis of Caritas Internationalis’ code. These two documents have not yet been adopted by the Executive Board, so we will continue working on them in 2017.

In December 2016, we had the chance to participate in a Study visit to Caritas Austria’s national office, during which we got a lot of new knowledge, energy and ideas for future work.

We always try to remember that “An organisation is never perfect because it constantly changes and develops according to the context in which it operates.” We have many plans for 2017 and look forward to continuing our OD work.