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Ethical statement

Ethics roadsign

Open Briefing is committed to an ethical approach in all its activities and procedures.

Open Briefing guards its independence and believes in the principle of speaking truth to power. We therefore avoid sources of funding that may jeopardise the independence or integrity of the organisation. We also do not knowingly make use of suppliers or services that invest in or have any links to unethical industries, including the arms trade and extractive industries.

Open Briefing is a signatory of the Code of Conduct of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief, which is voluntary professional code that lays down 10 points of principle that all humanitarian actors should adhere to. Open Briefing is further bound by the Code of Conduct for Members of the International NGO Safety and Security Association, which establishes, maintains and promotes accountable, transparent, equitable and technically-competent safety and security services. Open Briefing is also a member or associate member of the Humanitarian Practice Network, the International NGO Safety & Security Association (INSSA), British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND) and the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP). In addition, Open Briefing is a certified member of Social Enterprise UK, the UK national trade body for social enterprise and businesses with a social or environmental mission.

Open Briefing operates a ‘no weapons policy’. We only deploy unarmed security advisers, as we do not wish to add further armed actors into already volatile situations. We believe that humanitarians and aid workers are best secured through the acceptance of local communities, not through fortification and deterrence. All our  protective services are intelligence-led and based on preventative strategies and proactive measures. This position was reached after consulting with stakeholders; however, we recognise that civil society needs honest conversations about the use of armed guards, as the present situation of, for example, aid workers relying on UN peacekeepers for protection or journalists being embedded with US or other forces essentially outsources the use of weapons to others. Open Briefing is committed to inspiring and participating in this debate.

As individuals, we strive to reflect the ethical values of the organisation in the manner in which we work. We apply the principles of trust, openness and dialogue in all our dealings, both among ourselves and with others with whom we work.

Open Briefing is an ethical employer. We recognise the positive benefits that often marginalised groups can bring to us as an organisation. To this end, we have joined the UK government’s Disability Confident scheme, and been awarded a Level 1 certificate in recognition of our achievements in this area. This scheme helps organisations successfully employ and retain people with physical and mental disabilities and those with long-term health conditions. We have also signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health, which has been drawn up by the NHS initiative Mindful Employer. This demonstrates our commitment to the mental wellbeing of our staff, consultants and volunteers and our positive and enabling attitude to employees and job applicants with mental health issues.

As a forces-friendly employer, we actively recruit staff, consultants and volunteers with experience in the armed forces and support them and their families as reservists and veterans. To this end, we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, and been awarded a bronze award under the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The Armed Forces Covenant represents a promise by the country that those who serve or have served, and their families, will be treated fairly.