Strategy 2015 has determined the framework and path forward for Red Cross since 2010, setting out seven priority areas for our work in addition to running the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Effectiveness, accountability and transparency are the core commitments set by our strategic plan.
Our ways of working
We strongly believe that how we work is as important as what we do. Our ways of working set out the core values and methodologies that guide how we work to address disadvantage and vulnerability in Australia and overseas.
Michelle, her three young boys and partner were homeless for three months before Red Cross worked with them addressing the causes of their homelessness and finding them stable housing. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Cathy Friel
Applying the Fundamental Principles
All Red Cross work is guided by the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement - Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.
We promote diversity in all its forms and, in particular, we actively seek to combat racism and intolerance. We foster a diverse and culturally aware workforce and strive to understand and respond to the needs of the diverse individuals and communities with whom we work.
Working as auxiliary to government and public authorities
As auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field, Red Cross is afforded a unique position in the humanitarian sector which includes a specific mandate in times of war but extends to many other humanitarian situations such as disasters and emergencies.
Embracing community development approaches
We use community development approaches and principles in our work. Through these, we work to empower and support communities to create their own solutions which improve overall social cohesion and achieve sustainable long term change.
Building on strengths
Recognising and focusing on the inherent strengths of all people, we actively work to ensure that individuals and communities are empowered to have a voice and to be more able to take control of their own lives and environments. This includes providing support to develop their own goals and to access necessary resources, skills development, social connections and services to achieve those goals.
Focusing on prevention through early intervention
While we continue to support and respond to crises as they emerge, we also focus on the early identification of and response to issues that prevent further vulnerability and help to break cycles of disadvantage, wherever possible.
Ensuring gender is a key consideration in everything we do
We acknowledge that there is a gender dimension in everything we do and in every program we operate and we therefore seek to identify and respond to the differing needs of men and women. We are committed to achieving gender equality and to addressing gender discrimination through our programs and at all levels of our organisation.
Acting on evidence
Our work is informed by, and contributes to, empirical evidence of what works. We draw on international and local research and experience to deliver well planned, measured, and evaluated programs and services.
Advocating for vulnerable people
Red Cross advocacy (or humanitarian diplomacy), is aimed at persuading and influencing decision makers and opinion leaders to act at all times in the interests of vulnerable people, and with full respect for fundamental humanitarian principles.
Valuing voluntary service
We invest in communities and volunteers by increasing voluntary service in communities as a vital enabler of personal growth, community strengthening and social cohesion.
Focusing on areas of locational disadvantage to help build stronger communities
We are committed to a place-based, collaborative and joined-up approach – working in disadvantaged areas with people in greatest need. This is done through adopting a community development approach, working closely with other agencies and applying rigorous analysis of available research.
Engaging young people
We are committed to engaging young people to support our vision, contribute to our work, and become our future leaders. We also work to ensure that our services and activities are accessible to young people from all backgrounds.
Working with partners and avoiding duplication
We work in partnership with community groups, business, governments and other not-for-profit organisations to identify and respond to needs in communities and seek to complement rather than duplicate their efforts.
Acknowledging the impact of climate change
We recognise that climate change has an impact on the vulnerability of people and communities in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region and we seek to respond to this wherever possible, with a particular focus on adaptation.
We have begun development of our next organisation- wide plan, Strategy 2020. To inform this, a program effectiveness review was commenced, analysing our work in 2012 as well as the 2013/2014 financial year. Adopting the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, all programs across Australia and a sample representation of international projects were evaluated against six discrete criteria: effectiveness; relevance and appropriateness; efficiency; impact; sustainability; and alignment to strategy.
We found that our key strengths include:
Our programs are well-aligned to strategic outcomes: It was consistently identified that our programs are closely connected with the goals set out for them under Strategy 2015. This can be attributed to an organisation-wide services review and renewal process.
Our programs are effective and efficient: We have implemented steady improvements in program quality, judicious use of resources and collaboration across the organisation.
We positively impact our clients: We generally have a positive impact on both clients and stakeholders, seen in our increasing commitment to community development and long-term approaches.
Our programs are relevant to client needs.
We also addressed identified challenges by setting the following goals for our path ahead:
Further develop and embed monitoring and evaluation into programs: We need to consider adequate resourcing and establish appropriate infrastructure in order to support ongoing improvement in program effectiveness.
Continue to work towards sustainable long-term programs: While we have made progress in shifting away from a sole focus on service delivery to more holistic approaches such as community development and organisational strengthening, we identified a need to consider adequate investment to ensure sustainable long-term programming.
Enhance capability of our enabling systems: This includes enhancements in client case management databases; program information management systems; and flexible human resources for a remote workforce.