Ethical standards of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

Ensuring compliance is a strategic priority of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe. To fulfil our responsibility towards marginalised people throughout the world, our work is based on strict ethical standards. A working culture that is deeply rooted in compliance is indispensable for Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe.

Compliance as the basis of our day-to-day work

The strategic focus on ensuring compliance is firmly anchored in the Diaconal Corporate Governance Code and has been expanded to include the establishment of a Compliance Management System. This preventive approach demonstrates the importance we attach to compliance. Compliance is a responsibility of management, to be embodied, supported and practised by the Executive Board and the management team. This is the only way to ensure that compliance becomes the basis of the day-to-day work of all staff. The success or failure of the work of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe relies on the trust of donors, member and partner organisations and the public. If this trust is to be safeguarded, the everyday tasks and challenges must be implemented in compliance with the rules. Over and above this, all rules and processes are continuously reviewed and, where necessary, improved. This is the only way to ensure that risks are identified, reduced or avoided in good time.

Mandatory Code of Conduct introduced

Internalising the values of, and embodying, a robust compliance culture is an indispensable feature of our work. That is why all Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe staff are bound by, and committed to, compliance with the corresponding Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct, adopted in November 2019, is also intended for our members, partner organisations and business partners – who, in the event of reasonable suspicion of violations of the Code of Conduct, also have the opportunity to use the whistleblower portal, which is also available to EWDE staff as an additional option. The whistleblower portal can, of course, be used anonymously. The Integrity Team and external ombudsperson are available as points of contact through the whistleblower portal. Further information on the portal is available here.

Submitting information and complaints

Responsibility in exercising power, respect, compliance with law, order and internal regulations, accountability and transparency - these are the working principles of the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V. (EWDE – Protestant Agency for Diakonie and Development). These principles are specified in the Code of Conduct and apply to the management teams and all staff, all other employees on local employment contracts, consultants, specialist staff and volunteers. We expect our partner organisations to act in accordance with these principles at all times.

Our ombudsperson

In addition to defining ethical standards, we have initiated a range of comprehensive measures to prevent misconduct. Should violations, nevertheless, occur, intervention measures, including case management, come into effect. Diverse communication channels are in place to facilitate the low-threshold, comprehensive disclosure of illegal or unethical conduct.

One such channel, which provides special protection for whistleblowers, is our ombudsperson. The ombudsperson is a freelance lawyer, working outside of the organisation and, thus, independently of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe. His/her central task is to receive and deal with submitted information and complaints in confidence and to protect those providing information. This is guaranteed by the lawyer's professional obligation to maintain confidentiality and the right of the ombudsperson to refuse to give evidence. The organisation has also waived all rights to receive information from the ombudsperson as a further means of providing whistleblower protection.

If the ombudsperson receives information relating to possible misconduct, he/she will determine any further action in consultation with the whistleblower. Information is passed on to the Integrity Team, which, on request, will investigate the case, but only after receiving the express consent of the whistleblower and, where desired, will protect his/her anonymity. The ombudsperson provides regular progress reports on the case to the whistleblowers.

Your ombudsperson for further questions