human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

CI Management Standards

The poor deserve the best


The Caritas Internationalis Management Standards (CIMS) are a set of standards that apply to the global Caritas confederation and that help each organisation improve its way of working and become more sustainable.

The management standards help Caritas improve its work to alleviate suffering and restore hope for our brothers and sisters in need.

Caritas organisations work together to strengthen themselves, each other and the confederation through these standards.

Why do we need this?

The CIMS help each Caritas organisation measure its own “well-being” and identify areas for improvement.

They also aim at helping Caritas organisations with their institutional development.

In addition, they serve as a point of reference for strengthening the Caritas confederation as a whole.

These instruments must now be applied to strengthen the transparency and credibility of Caritas. Let us remember that we are accountable to God, to the Church, to the donors and in particular, to the poor with whom the Lord identifies Himself. By serving them with humility, dedication, self-denial and professionalism, we promote the Church’s mission of forming one human family, caring for creation.

Pope Francis,
19 October 2015

How does it work?

The CIMS are based on existing good practices and accepted global principles within the humanitarian and international development community, and safeguard our professional competence and efficacy in serving our neighbours.

The four Management Standards, each consisting of eight articles, cover:

  • Laws and ethical codes;
  • Governance and organisation;
  • Finance and accountability;
  • Stakeholder involvement.

A fifth Management Standard on safeguarding is currently being finalised and will be rolled out early 2021.

The implementation of the CIMS consists of different steps:

1. Self-assessment

This is to check the extent to which the organisation is already meeting CIMS standards, to measure its performance level and thereby identify strengths and weaknesses.

For all the articles under the four standards, the self-assessment tool contains a number of questions, worded as good practices. Five scores can be given:

  • Not existing = 1;
  • Insufficient = 2;
  • Sufficient = 3;
  • Good = 4;
  • Exemplary = 5.
2. Data analysis and prioritisation

On the basis of the self-assessment results, the organisation undertakes an analysis to identify the underlying causes of the weak areas identified, the areas that are assigned “low scores”. During this analysis, the organisation prioritises the capacity weaknesses to be addressed in the improvement plan and the capacity strengths that need to be sustained.

3. Improvement plan

The purpose of this step is to ensure that each organisation changes its plans to reflect the prioritised areas for improvement.

It is the task of the Director and the management team to initiate the development of the improvement plan, based on the identified organisational core strengths and weaknesses.

The improvement plan should mention all the activities necessary for improvement, identify the person(s) within the organisation responsible for the improvement and plan the time frame within which the improvement is to be realised.

4. Monitoring and learning

Monitoring is crucial and should be consistently applied over the life of an activity or project to ensure whether or not an organisation has achieved set objectives.

When implementing the CIMS, organisations are in a constant learning curve, whereby set activities are dropped or sustained and new and improved ones developed based on the close monitoring of results and targets.

The aim of a monitoring and learning process is to track the performance against targets, ensuring that activities are relevant and fit for purpose and that indicators are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related).

5. External assessment

The CI General Secretariat coordinates these assessments. It does this by working with a pool of assessors, most of whom are made available by the Caritas organisations.

The CIMS Programme Manager gives the assessment to one or more assessors from the pool. The assessor(s) then carry out the assessment.

The CI Secretary General communicates the final conclusions of the assessment to the Board and Director of the Caritas organisation in question. After receiving their response, the CI Secretary General presents the assessment report and the organisation’s response to the Review Committee.

The Review Committee meets at least twice a year to discuss the assessments and follow the implementation of the improvement plans.

ask an expert

Marc Somers
Institutional Development Director
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 26 57
Mob: +32 (0)478 44 09 61