Consultancy: Development of Complaints Handling Guidance, Toolkit and E-learning

Consultancy: Development of Complaints Handling Guidance, Toolkit and E-learning

La date limite pour postuler est passée.


CHS Alliance

  • Start date: As soon as possible
  • Duration: 60 working days based on an agreed work plan
  • Location: Remotely, home-based


Complaints mechanisms can play an essential role in helping organisations be (more) accountable to the populations with whom – and for whom – they work. They play an important role in surfacing suggestions, ideas, concerns, as well as (potential) cases of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), fraud, or corruption. Effective and accessible complaint mechanisms need to be seen as part of broader discussions around quality and accountability in humanitarian response.

References to complaints mechanisms appear in various elements related to the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) on Quality and Accountability. Verification data collected by the CHS Alliance shows that Commitment 5 of the CHS, related to complaints being welcomed and addressed, scores the lowest in terms of implementation of the nine CHS Commitments. Many organisations have policies in place related to complaints but putting those policies into practice often proves challenging.

As a result of the importance of this area to broader quality and accountability for organisations and the challenge of making progress in this area, a public-facing complaint mechanism is a core requirement for all CHS Alliance members.

In order to support organisations to make progress in this area, CHS Alliance is commissioning the production of CHS Good Practice Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit and associated e-learning training package, intended for aid organisations to strengthen their complaints mechanisms. The Guidance, Toolkit and e-learning training will focus on the organisational aspects of complaints handling that comprise a Complaints Policy. It is intended to support all organisations, regardless of size or location to have consistent practice across locations, over time and with diverse staff and communities.

A key component of this project will be identifying good practices from within the CHS Alliance membership and the sector at large that supports the needs of individual organizations to meet their Commitment that “complaints are welcomed and addressed”.

The CHS Good Practice Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit will complement the work CHS Alliance has developed on SEA Investigations handling, as well as other guidance to support accountable organisations, including the Code of Conduct, the Whistleblowing Guidance, the Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (SEAH) Investigation Guide and Toolkit and the PSEAH Index.

The CHS Good Practice Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit will be publicly accessible to all organisations through the CHS Website, the IASC Accountability and Inclusion Portal and will be promoted through CHS Alliance communication channels.

To support the implementation and uptake of the CHS Good Practice Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit, an e-learning training package will be developed that is accessible to all. The training package should support staff, in particular in remote locations, to practically implement the Guidance and Toolkit in their own organisation. The e-learning training package will be translated into multiple languages to maximize the number of staff using it.

Specific Activities and Deliverables

The Consultant/s/s will be expected to be available for approximately 60 days, starting as soon as possible.

The Consultant/s will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Review Complaints Guidelines and toolkits from across the sector. It is anticipated that the scoping exercise for this project will entail a review of members, and other organisations, Complaints Handling Policies, procedures, guidelines and toolkits this will provide the evidence base for the best practice review.
  2. Develop a CHS Good Practice Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit to cover the following: (not an exhaustive list, list and headings to be defined based on the best practice review and interviews with key stakeholders):
  • Definitions and key terminology
  • Principles of effective complaints handling
  • Challenges related to effective complaints handling
  • Scope of Complaints, including who can complain and how
  • Defining different types of complaints e.g. PSEAH and safeguarding, fraud and Corruption and other financial complaints, racism, discrimination and other staff behaviour and ‘non-sensitive’ complaints
  • Process for how different types of complaints are handled
  • Process including timelines for response and investigations
  • Mandatory reporting
  • Complaints records and database, including digital case management solutions
  • Management of personal data (GDPR and non-GDPR)
  • Sharing personal data with national and international authorities
  • Budgeting for effective Complaints Handling.
  • Appeals process
  • Complaints reporting: internally (Board) and external (Charity regulators, donors)
  • Complaints as a source of organisational learning
  • Links to other supporting and enabling policies (including other CHS guidelines)


3. Develop an e-learning training package to support the implementation of the Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit

4. Liaise with stakeholder group to gather and rationalise feedback on both the Guidance, Toolkit and e-learning training package, ensuring that feedback is taken on board and integrated into the revised tools

5. Support testing of the e-learning training package with a group of key stakeholders, ensuring that feedback is taken on board and the training adapted based on feedback received.

Key Contacts

Internal: Collective Accountability Manager (supervision) Executive Director, Director of Programmes, Director of Policy and Impact, CHS Training Lead, Investigations Manager, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Manager, Closing the Accountability Gap Project Manager

External: CHS Membership, especially CHS Alliance Accountability to Affected People Community of Practice

Consultant profile:

Ideally, the e-learning training package will be developed alongside the Complaints Handling Guidance and Toolkit. This can be done either by a single Consultant or a small team of Consultants to shorten the overall development time and ensure maximum cohesion of the final package.

The person(s) shall be registered as a Consultant/s in their country or work for a consulting firm. The consultancy will be remote and home-based, located in Europe, UK or Switzerland, with possible travel to Geneva or London, as required.

Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrated understanding and experience of Complaints Handling at an organisational and operational level;
  • Demonstrated understanding of internal politics, power and decision-making within the aid sector, and how they impact on effective implementation of Complaints Handling;
  • Good understanding of the aid sector’s architecture and the stakeholders therein, and their role in Complaints Handling;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the management of Complaints Handling within the humanitarian/development sector and knowledge of donors, NGOs and UN’s complaints handling process (processes involved in Complaints Handling, the realities of field work in conflict and disaster situations, etc.).
  • Demonstrated experience in developing e-learning training packages
  • Good understanding of past and developing trends and issues related to Complaints Handlings and barriers to effective complaints handling practice

Person Specification

  • Dynamic, flexible and able to deliver results;
  • Ability to work independently while liaising with colleagues when required;
  • Familiarity with learning/training platforms and tools for organizing e-learning training events;
  • Ability to respectfully listen to and respond to queries, adapting to culture and context of the interlocutor, both orally and in writing;
  • Excellent communication skills both in writing and orally
  • Demonstrating understanding of gender, diversity and inclusion;
  • Problem solver and able to demonstrate creative thinking;
  • Proven ability to prioritise and time manage effectively, working in a structured manner and to deadlines;
  • Fluent in English

When contracted by CHS Alliance, the Consultant/s commits to the CHS Alliance vision, mission, and values and commits to being personally and collectively responsible for upholding and promoting the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.  This includes refraining from acts of misconduct, respecting the CHS Alliance’s Code of Conduct and the dignity of those whom the Alliance pledges to assist and with whom they have contact.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit their applications by email to:

Applications shall include in one PDF document (mandatory, since otherwise the application will not be considered) a CV + a motivation letter detailing the daily amount of your fees.

Please mention your name and the title of the consultancy in the subject line.

Deadline for applications: 

  • Sunday, 4th December 2022

Important information: 

  • The person shall be registered as a Consultant/s in their country or work for a consulting firm.
  • Please note that we will require two references from Consultant/s.
  • Our complaints mechanism can be used by our Consultant/s or to report complaints about our Consultant/s.