Declaration of Accountability

Simavi operates and reports in accordance with standard guidelines and rules specified by recognised authorities, covering accounting standards, fundraising and governance. Standards issued by the Dutch Accounting Standards Board (RJ650), the Central Bureau for Fundraising (CBF), the Dutch Fundraising Institutions Association (VFI),  ISO 9001:2008 and Code Wijffels, are of particular importance. Simavi operates in accordance with these rules.

Supervisory board, management and management team

The management of Simavi is in hands of the managing director. The board supervises the functioning of the managing director and the general state of affairs. The management team consists of the managing director and the four heads of departments. The supervisory board consists of six members.

Separation of boards, performance and supervising the Code of Good Governance

In the governance model, a clear distinction is made between the functions of management, performance and supervision. This is laid down in the articles of association, management articles and the regulations for the supervisory board, the audit commission, the management and the management team. These (available upon request) were determined by the supervisory board in 2007; they determine the composition, functioning, appointment and evaluation of the various levels of the organisation. The articles of association and the regulations are assessed regularly.

The organisation consists of three levels. The managing director manages the foundation and is ultimately responsible for decisions made, the functioning of the organisation and the results achieved.

The supervisory board supervises the functioning of the managing director and the foundation. Apart from this supervisory task, the board also serves as a sounding board and advisor on strategic topics. The managing director delegates the implementation to the heads of departments, who make up the management team together with the managing director. The management team develops the policy together with the managing director; policy is determined by the managing director. The managing director supervises good implementation of the policy.

Organisational structure

Simavi is a small, flat organisation with an open and dynamic working culture. Apart from the managing director and director’s secretary, the organisation also consists of four departments and the management unit of the WASH Alliance.

  • The Programmes department is responsible for programmes and relations in developing countries. Field offices in Indonesia and Tanzania are also part of this department. The department has a WASH-team, an SRHR-team, a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation officer and a secretariat. The two teams are led operationally by a Director.
  • The department of Communication & Fundraising is responsible for communication and mobilisation in the Netherlands, as well as for corporate and private fund raising.
  • The Partnership Development department is responsible for institutional fundraising, advocacy towards governments and policy makers, and for strategic advice to the management team about external developments that influence the organisation.
  • The Finance & Operations department is responsible for the accounts, the quality system, ICT, office management and human resources.
  • The management unit of the Dutch WASH Alliance (DWA) is responsible for the management of the MFS-II WASH programme. The unit is the direct responsibility of the managing director of Simavi, but its content-related control is performed by the steering committee of the alliance. The programme management takes place in close collaboration with the six alliance partners.

Administration and supervision on partnerships of Simavi

Simavi is the direct administrator of two other foundations. Since 1995, the Zien Foundation and since 2008 the Netherlands Foundation for International Child Health. This means that the management is also the administrator of these foundations, and the Supervisory Board is also a supervisory organ for these foundations. The activities of both foundations are fully integrated in the activities of Simavi and are performed by the Simavi office. It is ensured that earmarked funds of these foundations is spent on the goals of these foundations.

Starting from 2010, Simavi is coordinator of the WASH Alliance, a partnership between six organisations: Simavi, Akvo, Amref Flying Doctors, ICCO, RAIN Foundation and WASTE). This means the managing director of Simavi is ultimately responsible for the alliance and for the MFS-II grant that has been awarded to this alliance. She is supported in this by a steering committee, which consists of representatives of the alliance members, and a management unit which is hosted by Simavi. The Supervisory Board of Simavi also functions as the Supervisory Board of the WASH Alliance. Simavi is also a member of the SRHR Alliance, which has also been awarded an MSF-II grant. RutgersWPF is ultimately responsible for this, and Simavi is accountable to RutgersWPF. Simavi is represented at the steering committee of the SRHR Alliance. Starting from 2014 Simavi is coordinator of the Unite Against Child Marriage programme, from the SRHR alliance with Edukans as extra partner.

Appointment, functioning and salary of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board consists of at least three and at most seven members. Board members are appointed by the board itself, based on profiles which are determined by the board and management. These contain the competences and relevant expertise and networks required, which must be represented in the Supervisory Board. Vacancies are published online in networks that are relevant to the profile. There is a time sheet for resignation, in which re-appointments are also determined (see part II of the annual report). Members of the board are connected to Simavi on a voluntary basis and do not receive any remuneration. They may claim expenses based on actual costs incurred, in conformance with Simavi claims policy.

Within the board, a portfolio assignment is made based on the various fields of expertise of the board members. There is a chairman and a vice-chairman. Two members form the audit commission, which specifically supervises finance and internal quality control. One board member functions as the counsellor for Simavi employees and meets with the Employee Representation once a year, independent of the managing director.

The Supervisory Board convenes at least four times a year; in practice mostly five or six times a year. The meeting is held according to an agenda and minutes are kept of the meeting, with an action list. The chairman supervises compliance with this list. The meeting is prepared by the chairman and the director. The director and the management team members relevant to the agenda are invited to attend the meetings of the board, unless the board wishes to convene behind closed doors. This happens, for example when the functioning of the director or the functioning of the board is on the agenda. The audit commission convenes at least twice a year, to discuss financial progress, administrative organisation and internal quality control within Simavi.

The Supervisory Board appoints the managing director and assesses his/her functioning at least once a year. Report of this is discussed by the Supervisory Board. The Board decides on the remuneration of the managing director.

The Supervisory Board evaluates its own functioning annually, with external support. The managing director is involved in this and some external stakeholders can give input beforehand. The chairman ensures that agreements from the evaluation are executed.

Appointment and functioning of the management team

The management team consists of the heads of the departments which are appointed by the managing director, in conformance with Simavi recruitment and selection policy. The managing director is always supported in this by the selection commission. The functioning of the members of the management team is assessed annually by the managing director, in conformance with the Simavi assessment system. All members of the management team and the managing director are paid employees of Simavi.

In principle, the management team convenes monthly, based on the agenda, which is determined previously. In the meetings, topics are discussed that have organisation-wide or strategic importance, such as: strategic plan, annual plan, budget estimate and budget, progress of the organisation, annual report, human resources, large activities and new initiatives, progress of the alliances, developments in the context of the organisation, specific risks, external and internal audits and inspections, the quality system, etc. The meetings of the Supervisory Board and plenary meetings are prepared in the management team. Minutes are kept of the meetings, with an action list attached, as well as a list of decisions and a list of points of improvements. The managing director supervises the follow-up of these points. The agenda and list of decisions is shared with the workers’ representation.

They daily management of each department is the responsibility of the head of department. Within the departments, all members of staff report directly to the head of the department. Each department holds a consultation at least every six weeks, usually more often. Members of staff have regular bilateral consultation with their superior. There is a consultation with all Simavi members of staff four times a year. Minutes are kept of all meetings.

The quality system, quality symbols and the checking of the functioning of the organisation

The quality of the organisation of Simavi is safeguarded by a quality system. The head Finance & Operations is the quality manager. The quality system is anchored in six internal manuals, in which the processes, procedures and policies are determined: internal organisation, communication & fundraising, programmes, partnership development, human resources and administration. These are updated throughout the year; adjustments are discussed by the management team and approved by the managing director.

Internal audits take place on the processes annually according to a three year-scheme. The primary processes are audited biannually. Secondary processes are assessed once in three years. The management team sticks to a list of points for improvement. Points for improvement from audits, checks or meetings are included. The list of points for improvements is on the agenda of the management team once a month; the management team supervises correct compliance. The managing director is ultimately responsible in this.

The quality of the internal organisation of Simavi is assessed externally regularly.

  • Since 1 January 1998, Simavi has the CBF quality symbol (Centraal Bureau Fondsenwerving). This assesses the quality of the organisation, the Code of Good Administration, the costs of the own fundraising activities and the Collection protocol of Stichting Collecte Plan (SCP). In 2013, the CBF quality symbol was extended by three years again, after assessment. In the meantime, a light assessment is performed annually.
  • The quality system of Simavi is tested externally by the company Certiked annually. Simavi holds the ISO-quality symbol according to ISO-norm 9001:2008 since 2009. This was extended again in 2012 for three years. In 2014, Simavi also gained the Partos 9001 certificate, which focuses on organisations that operate in the development sector.
  • External KPMG accountants perform an audit of the financial system and the annual accounts of Simavi annually. The annual accounts always gain approval and are provided with a declaration of approval.
  • Simavi was assessed positively by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2010, by means of the O-test (Organisation test) for coordinators of MFS-II alliances and the COCA-test (Checklist for Organisational Capacity Assessment) for other grant requesters.
  • Simavi complies to the target values of branch organisation Partos.

In the external assessment reports, recommendations are made, which are assessed again during the following audit. The Supervisory Board receives a transcript of these reports and they are discussed by the audit commission, which is also present at the annual final discussion with the external accountant.

Policy cycle of Simavi

The statutory objective and mission of Simavi are anchored in the articles of association of the organisation. Based on the statutory objective, Simavi determines a multi-annual plan with a multi-annual budget estimate in which strategic choices are developed and motivated, including the results expected. The latest plan approved dates from 2014. At the end of 2014, a new strategic plan has been drafted for 2015-2016. Based on this plan, and new insights from the current year, the organisation drafts a year plan and budget estimate, with a detailed activity plan. In this, the activities (on departmental level) are connected directly to the objectives and targets from the strategic plan. These are supplied with measurable indicators on the output and outcome level. The management team drafts the strategic plan and year plan, in collaboration with the members of staff. The managing director determines it and the Supervisory Board approves it.

The strategic plan is elaborated per department in policy plans. Apart from that, a strategy is drafted per country, in which choices are made with regard to partners, themes and regional priorities. Simavi involves executing partners and other relations in the countries in the drafting of these plans.

The year plan and activity plan are also operationalised further on the departmental level. Simavi works on a project by project basis, which means that for all specific activities a project plan is drafted with results that are expected, activities, a time path and a budget. These are approved at the departmental level based on procedures that have been agreed upon (see below). The head of the department supervises correct execution.

Based on the year plan, a personal plan is drafted with each individual member of staff, which forms the basis of the end of year evaluation. Halfway through the year, progress interviews take place. The plan deals with tasks, results, competences, training and wellbeing. The assessment system of Simavi is connected directly to remuneration. Reports are made of the interviews.

Monitoring of the organisation and management review

Each quarter, the management team assesses the progress and the prognosis of the year plan and the budget estimate based on the quarterly report. This is shared with the Supervisory Board and the members of staff. The Finance & Operations department provides an overview of the financial status of their budget for budget holders each month. They sign this for approval. The members of staff monitor the progress of the projects that they manage or perform themselves.

Halfway through each year, each department assesses the progress on the year plan and strategic plan in a mid-term review, so as to make adaptations where necessary as a start for the planning cycle for the following year. Subsequently, the management team performs a more extensive management review, in which the results from this mid-term review and all learning points from the previous year are analysed (based on audits and evaluations). Where necessary, points of improvement are formulated and adaptations are made to the plans. A framework is also determined for the new year plan.

Approval and evaluation of programmes and projects

Programme officers and the head of the Programme Department approve projects. If a project exceeds € 200,000 in size, approval of the management team is also requested. The management team works with a checklist. Proposals for new programmes are approved based on the criteria in the checklist. Assessment of the programmes takes place in the field of FIETS, our Theory of Change, finance and an analysis of the risks.

After approval, a contract is drafted with the implementing partner in the project country, with agreements for follow-up. The managing director signs for approval. The member of staff involved follows the progress of the programme based on reports and field visits. As a rule, each programme is evaluated externally after it has been completed (sometimes halfway through execution as well). Of all evaluation reports, a meta-evaluation is performed annually, in order to summarize the common theme, learning points and results for Simavi. The head of Programmes supervises good selection, support and completion of the programmes by the members of staff.

Activities in the field of communication, policy influencing, sharing of knowledge and evaluation, fundraising and business management are performed by Simavi staff (internally). This is done on a project by project basis, according to an (internal) project plan. In order to carry out certain tasks, external parties are sometimes contracted. For the Programme, Partnership Development, Communication & Fundraising departments, these projects must fit in the approved activity plan and the yearly budget. In case the budget is exceeded, or if new, politically sensitive or potentially controversial activities are involved, the managing director decides. For the Finance & Operations department, plans for up to 5,000 euro are approved by the head of department, and plans in excess of this amount are approved by the managing director.

Subsequently, all projects and activities are evaluated with (internal and external) stakeholders involved. This is documented and serves as input for the annual meta-evaluation.

Optimal allocation of funds

Simavi pursues optimal allocation of funds, in which as many financial means as possible are spent on the primary objectives of the organisation. The internal decision-making process and planning and control systems see to this. Besides, Simavi applies a number of cost norms, which control our budget estimate and prognoses.

  • The CBF stipulates that the percentage of costs of the own fundraising may not exceed 25 per cent of the direct earnings.
  • Simavi has decided that the total costs of the own organisation may not exceed 25 per cent of the total budget either. This norm is derived from the CBF norm, because a substantial part of the Dutch public interprets the CBF-norm in this way.
  • Internally, Simavi has set the additional norm that a maximum of 6,8 per cent of the budget estimate may be spent on administration and management. This is the average that Dutch good causes spent on administration and management in the first year that this was measured (source: Transparant Prijs 2010).

 Satisfaction studies

Simavi performs independent satisfaction studies among all of the most important external stakeholders biannually. The results of these evaluations forms the input for a management review every year.

Accountability to the Supervisory Board

Every quarter, the management team reports to the Supervisory Board on the progress of the organisation by means of the quarterly reports. These reports also contain a financial report on the realisation and the prognosis in comparison to the budget estimate. The management drafts an annual report and annual accounts annually. These are submitted to the Supervisory Board for approval. In this, reporting is done based on the objectives and indicators in the year plan and the budget estimate. The Supervisory Board also receives a transcript of the audit reports and the management review. In separate memo’s, the board is also informed of topics that are of special import in a certain period.

External accountability

Simavi pursues an open dialogue with all stakeholders, such as volunteers, professional employees, donors, donators, corporate and institutional donors, subsidy providers, executing partner organisations, collaborating organisations, networks, embassies, colleague-organisations and politicians. They are, as much as is relevant, informed about operational matters, programme results, management and policy, fundraising and financial matters. Our Dutch relations receive a newsletter at least twice a year. The content of this newsletter is adapted to the target audience. They also receive a summary of the annual report. Relations can indicate if they are not interested. Besides, Simavi takes care of an informative and transparent website (Dutch and English) and we communicate about our work regularly.

The annual report and the annual accounts are published in English and can be viewed or downloaded on the Simavi website. The summary is published also in Dutch. We inform our relations of the publication in a yearly (digital) newsletter. Financiers of specific programmes and projects, and subsidy providers receive a report of the programmes they support at least once a year, depending on the agreements that have been made with them. We also give presentations about our projects regularly. In exceptional cases, financiers can visit projects that they support, at their own expense; they are accompanied when doing this.

Simavi has an internal code of conduct and a complaints procedure. These are public.

The functioning of the MSF-II alliances

Simavi participates in two MSF-II alliances (WASH and SRGR Alliance). We are coordinator of the WASH Alliance. Both alliances are organised in roughly the same way. Alliance partners have come to cooperation agreements, in which administration of the alliance is regulated. The alliances are controlled by a steering committee, which consists of the directors of the participating organisations. A programme manager performs the daily management. He is contracted by the coordinator and operates under the direct supervision of the director. The programme manager is supported by a programme team, which consists of members of staff and the various alliance members. A programme officer of the alliance partners functions as the ‘country leader’ for each country. This leader coordinates the work of the alliance partners in that country, together with a ‘country coordinator’ in the country itself. This is a local co-worker who facilitates the processes in the country for the alliance. In the country, the executing partners of alliance members execute the programmes, in mutual consultation. They also form an alliance in the country, draft annual plans and exchange knowledge and information. The alliance also contains a number of working groups: finance, PME, advocacy, communication and linking & learning group (WASH Alliance). These consist of experts of the alliance partners and convene according to requirements.

Employees’ representation

Simavi is not obliged to instate a works council based on the number of employees. In consultation with the staff, it was decided to instate a employees’ representation in 2005. It consists of three chosen members who are Simavi employees.


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