This Integrity Policy provides an overview of the values supported by IPIS and describes the way in which IPIS strives to intertwine them in its day-to-day activities, in its procedures and in its overall operation.
In the first place, this policy addresses IPIS employees, consultants and partners to familiarize them with these values and to remind and urge them to behave accordingly when working with or for IPIS.
This Policy serves as a compass that brings IPIS employees, consultants and partners on the same wavelength. Any questions or concerns regarding the content of and compliance with this Policy should be taken up through our complaint mechanism or with IPIS’ Confidential Advisor.
This Policy, and its concept of integrity and integration into the work of IPIS, are evaluated and reviewed annually by IPIS management and board based on input from IPIS staff. In this way, the Policy becomes a means of safeguarding a relevant and up-to-date ethical vision underpinning the mission, mandate and work of IPIS.
Respect and Non-Discrimination
Respect and non-discrimination are core values at IPIS that we commit to implement throughout our operations. IPIS prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnic or social origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or other aspects of personal status. Respectful communication and room for debate are actively encouraged in any cooperation between colleagues or with partners, consultants and stakeholders.
IPIS applies non-discriminatory selection procedures during recruitment processes. IPIS is an equal opportunities employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnic or social origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or other aspects of personal status. Therefore, IPIS welcomes and assesses applications from all candidates without discrimination. Furthermore, we strive for a cultural, gender-balanced and intellectual diversification of our team when recruiting new colleagues. Due to the nature and geographical focus of its work, IPIS specifically encourages the recruitment of African colleagues. IPIS strives to put traditional selection criteria such as academic degree and publication of academic papers in the balance against other relevant indicators such as knowledge of relevant languages, or soft skills such as cultural affinity with or intricate knowledge of one of our projects’ focal countries.
IPIS is committed to gender equality. Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a women’s issue but should concern and fully engage men as well as women.
Research Integrity and Independency
IPIS is a fully independent research institute. We strive to make accurate information publicly available, in full transparency about the methodologies applied in obtaining and analyzing it. In this manner we want to facilitate the use of our findings, and promote feedback on our approach and conclusions. Integrity and independency are inherent to IPIS’ research ethics. We ensure all materials and sources used for our research are substantiated, commit to elaborate fact-checking and strongly condemn plagiarism.
Our researchers operate under academic freedom. We often work within funding frameworks agreed with donors, which determine the focus and nature of our research, but we will never allow our research outcomes to be dictated to by our clients and funders; it also means that we are not part of a larger organization and do not belong to a particular political or religious group. IPIS thoroughly assesses project and donor before each new project acceptance. Equally, research outcomes and results are always assessed against its integrity before delivery.
Transparency, confidentiality and personal data ownership
Transparency throughout our activities is crucial in terms of partnerships, content and finance. Transparency is ensured with partners and donors through a full disclosure of and agreement on the budget and the contract before the start of each project and through accurate financial and narrative reporting throughout the whole cycle of each project.
IPIS is also transparent on its donors in its annual report.
IPIS is committed to publicly publish all its research data as open data that is reliable, tidy and recent, as we believe that this is an essential factor for a constructive research climate. When publishing or disseminating research, IPIS will take the safety of its staff, consultants and partners into account and will include them in risk assessments and decisions on whether or not to make them identifiable in publications or dissemination activities. Given that reputational and insurance risks lie with IPIS, IPIS makes a motivated decision when in disagreement on whether or not to disclose identity, whether or not to go to the field, whether or not to continue the project. To secure the privacy of consultants and partner organizations’ staff, IPIS treats personal data in the same way as data of Belgium-based IPIS staff, in compliance with GDPR regulations.
IPIS’ spirit of cooperation aims at capacity enhancement and mutual learning for all colleagues and partners involved. We aim for inclusive participation of our partners from focal countries by striving to include them in the initial designing phase of each project. For a detailed approach of IPIS’ cooperation with its partners in focal countries we refer to IPIS’ policy on partnerships in focal countries.
Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
IPIS attaches great importance to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Through the inclusion of GIS applications -such as web maps and interactive dashboards- and telecommunication technologies -such as SMS platforms and online surveys- in its research methodology, IPIS strives to be at the forefront of innovative research and development. IPIS invests in and gives time and space to creativity and entrepreneurial spirit by allowing its employees to spent time on developing new ideas and trainings. At IPIS we believe that a horizontal organization structure, an open communication culture and flexible working hours in combination with an extended tele-working policy also increase the entrepreneurial fiber of our employees. It gives them the opportunity to personalize their working days as they see fit best and ensure a healthy work-life balance.
Sexual Harassment and Undesirable Behavior at Work
IPIS strictly condemns all forms of violence, harassment and sexual harassment. IPIS employees who are the victim of undesirable behavior or sexual harassment can turn to the Office Manager who has been appointed as a confidential advisor. By creating a safe work environment and by cultivating a culture of open communication and mutual respect IPIS encourages employees and partners to speak up and to disclose any undesirable behavior.
Safety and well-being at work
A horizontal organization structure, an open communication culture and flexible working hours in combination with an extended tele-working policy are some of the IPIS ingredients put in place to enhance well-being at work. Through an annual anonymous employees’ work environment satisfaction survey, the IPIS Director is able to monitor well-being at work, flag unsatisfactory trends among employees and take preventive actions accordingly. The safety, security and well-being of partners and employees and the assessment and mitigation of risks in the field is a precondition for executing IPIS’ activities. The IPIS’ Security Policy Framework aims at mitigating those risks.
Environment and Sustainability
IPIS is concerned with its global carbon footprint and commits to the inclusion of sustainable reflections in the designing phase of each project and in the execution of its daily operations and its office housing. IPIS works as much as possible with local consultants and researchers who conduct most of the activities in country. IPIS employees based in Belgium are encouraged to use soft transportation whenever possible and to limit air travel to a strict necessity, for example to give trainings, official meetings etc. Commuting allowances are provided to employees who come to work by bike. IPIS commits to engaging with office-material suppliers who themselves apply a sustainability policy in their services and operations. IPIS’ Sustainability Policy gives more details on our reflections and actions.
Fraud and corruption
IPIS condemns and uses mechanisms to prevent fraud and corruption. An independent external accountant annually checks and declares IPIS’ financial books abide by Belgian rules on finance and accountancy. IPIS’ triangular controlling structure (IPIS Management – External Accountant – IPIS Board) ensures an internal and objective control when closing the financial year.
In managing and executing projects with partners, IPIS’ internal processes on financial management with partners define how each expenditure needs to be justified by an official document like a ticket or invoice. IPIS requires from its partners and employees to conform to the highest ethical norms and to refrain in particular from engaging in any practice of fraud, corruption or discrimination.