General’s Consultative Council affirms Accountability Movement progress
Progress seen in the Accountability Movement could help all territories and commands in The Salvation Army.
By IHQ Communications –
The leaders of every Salvation Army territory and command met in New Jersey for a General’s Consultative Council (GCC) on Dec. 15, 2016. The meeting was specifically arranged to look at the Army’s Accountability Movement to continue the work that began at the International Conference of Leaders in Singapore in 2014.
The theology and thinking behind the Accountability Movement can be found at accountability.salvationarmy.org, where the booklet, “Journey of Renewal” gives a full explanation of the movement. Originally produced in English, “Journey of Renewal” has been translated into Korean and Mizo, and will soon be available in French, Spanish and Portuguese with other translations on the way.
The GCC provides an opportunity to celebrate the work that has already been accomplished and enables territories and commands to consider how they implement new ways of working within their context and legal constitution. The Governance, Child Protection, and Finance workstreams of the Accountability Movement have all made significant progress.
All four workstreams of the Accountability Movement are connected by three key principles: leadership development, capacity building and communication.
The Finance workstream implemented the International Finance and Accounting Standard (IFAS), which is a third edition manual of accounting practices within The Salvation Army. The IFAS will allow The Salvation Army to provide real-time information to territories and commands and provide cloud-based systems and storage. Reporting systems will also be brought up to date along with technical support to be available if needed. The team will be led by Dr. Matthew Carpenter, Head of Finance for the International Headquarters (IHQ).
Jande Dodds, International Director for Child Protection, will lead The Salvation Army in developing strategic and robust safeguarding policies in each territory and command.
With many organization coming under the spotlight, the Governance workstream recognizes the call for a greater level of accountability and transparency. To this end, much work has been done on the difference between management and governance in order to enhance internal and external accountability and transparency.
The New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory has pioneered this work, learning valuable lessons for how principles and standards can be translated into cultures and legal frameworks. IHQ has demonstrated its commitment to this area of work in the appointment of an International Secretary for Accountability and Governance, with Commissioner Robert Donaldson taking up this appointment on Jan. 1, 2017.
After a few days of dialogue and participatory workshops, the group of international leaders agreed on the following statement:
- We affirm that governance which includes accountability and transparency is a desired outcome and that in our ongoing journey we must ensure that we do not separate mission and governance.
- We will proactively protect all vulnerable individuals in our congregations and programmes.
- In accordance with the principle of good stewardship we will strengthen our financial and accounting processes.
- During the implementation process we must build capacity and empower leadership.
- There must be an intentional coordination of the streams of work so that we build an Army for the 21st century.
“We celebrate the unity within this group of international leaders as we grapple with significant cultural and organisational change, seeking to be fit for purpose in a new and changing world,” General André Cox said.