It is more important than ever for NGOs to be transparent about their finances and results.

Photo: Rasmus Andersson/CC BY-NC 2.0

Oxfam, Fairtrade International and BBC Media Action on top in Transparency Review

1 December 2015

Oxfam, Fairtrade International and BBC Media Action were the top performers in the 2015 Transparency Review of 48 organisations. ChildHope came out top among mid-sized NGOs, and Population Matters was the best performing small NGO.

The Transparency Review 2015 report, published by Bond and NIDOS, reveals that on average the larger organisations out-performed the smaller organisations. However, some small NGOs scored higher than large organisations, which suggests that transparency is as much about commitment as resources.

Organisations receiving support from the Department for International Development (DFID) under the current Programme Partnership Arrangements (PPA) scheme also generally performed well.

The review examines the websites of international development NGOs to assess how open they are about their finances, activities and results.

In the context of declining UK public trust in NGOs and increased media appetite to "expose" failings by NGOs, transparency is more important than ever. "As well as informing people about our work, it can aid learning for better coordination and improved effectiveness, and make us more accountable," said Michael O'Donnell, Head of Effectiveness and Learning at Bond and one of the authors of the report.

"The review shows that there's still a lot of room for improvement, particularly in terms of going public with results and evaluations, and indicating all sources of funding. And too few organisations have a systematic approach to transparency, encapsulated in an Open Information Policy."

The report recommends a sea-change in NGO attitudes to publishing results, and a number of quick wins around publishing information that NGOs already have to hand. All organisations that took part also received bespoke recommendations.

The next round of the Transparency Review will run from January to March 2016. Sign up to see how your organisation compares, or whether it's improved.