AU Watch’s Policy Regarding Independence And Integrity

Honesty, transparency, Independence, integrity and quality are the foundations upon which AU Watch is built. We are accountable to the people we work with, those that support us and those with whom we collaborate. This means that we are honest and open about what we do and about the choices we make. We always strive for successful and responsible joint efforts with others.

We are known for our independent, in-depth research and analysis that leads to practical and pioneering ideas on how to solve many of the challenges facing Africa.Standards for independence are shaped by legislation, regulations, professional guidance, and public expectations. Maintaining independence, therefore, is both a matter of compliance with rules and regulations and a matter of appearance.

Our commitment to quality and integrity is paramount to all our objectives as an organization, both for our academic staff and our volunteers. All of our research staff and consultants are trained to exceed standard research practices and procedures to ensure that our final products are prepared with the highest levels of quality and accuracy. We utilize rigorous internal and peer review processes, as well as a transparent process for selecting and conducting research projects and activities.

AU Watch is committed to upholding the principles of integrity, independence, and transparency in all our work, and we observe the highest standards of ethical conduct in our research and in all our operations. To ensure that our work is grounded in these principles, we have a series of policies that all employees agree to uphold.

Many of our researchers are based in their home institutions (universities, research institutes and international organizations), and collaborate with us in many areas of AU activities. This differs from traditional thinktanks or research institutes, where there is a “in house” research staff. Researchers areappointed by AU Watch’s Strategic Leadership Group, chaired by the AU Watch Executive Director. These researchers are organized in the different Programmatic areas, led by Programme Directors who provide intellectual leadership and quality control.

We stand by our research.

We adhere to the following policies:
1. Since integrity is a core value of our brand,Members of AU Watch Governing Council and employees may not engage in activities that willcompromise — or appear to compromise — the integrity of our research. AU Watch’s integrity policy, research methodologies, and corporate culture guide our employees in the course of developing and disseminating our research products and services.AU Watch’s requires its Governing Council Members and all employees to report all actual or potential conflicts of interest annually, or within 30 days of the emergence of a potential conflict of interest.

2. Our independence allows us to produce research and analysis that express clear opinions. Our research agenda, judgments, and conclusions are solely under our control. Therefore, our research projects, activities, events and products must be directly related our mission, vision, and values as an organization.

3. AU Watch receives funding from a variety of sources including individuals, foundations, corporations, and government grants. While we are grateful for any support we receive, our research activities are dictated only by our commitment to explore the issues with a strict focus on empirical, honest, and accurate academic research of the highest quality. Our policies create an environment where no one can wield undue influence on our research topics and judgments.Any financial support from anywhere or anyone must strictly adhere to this policy and we ensure that no financial support from anywhere hasany influence over any aspects of project design, methodology, execution, analysis or conclusions of our research projects. They also have no control over any of AU Watch’s activities, events, or educational programs. Any offer of financial support with strings attached, or with the expectation of preferential treatment or consideration will be very swiftly rejected.

4. Our Research employs structured methodologies that ensure consistent research quality and recommendations. We understand that we are accountable for publishing fair and accurate research. If we make a factual mistake, we will correct material errors quickly.

5. To any individual, group, or organization that has an interest in providing financial support to AU Watch, the following statement has been provided to guarantee that supporters understand our commitment to independent research:

AU Watch’s commitment to academic quality and integrity is paramount to all our objectives as an organization. Our research associates are trained to exceed standard research practices and procedures to ensure that our final products are prepared with the highest levels of quality and accuracy. We utilize rigorous internal and peer review processes, as well as a transparent process for selecting and conducting research projects and activities. AU Watch does not engage in research or media and educational activities that are directed or influenced in any way by financial supporters.

Our set of valuesis the ethical stance of our organization. In other words, the ‘value compass’ is AU Watch’s creed.

Independence, Integrity And Responsibility For Our Media Work

The trust and respect of our various publics depend on AU Watch’s editorial independence and integrity. Independence and responsibility are inseparable. AU Watch’s Executive Director who is also the Editor-in-Chief of AU Watch media work has ultimate editorial power and responsibility.
Editorial decision-making at AU Watch is based on upward referral. Those who create, acquire, commission or oversee AU Watch content are responsible for ensuring that it complies with the Editorial Policies, but they are also required to upwardly refer any editorial matter where they are in doubt. Editorial content that is controversial or likely to have an extraordinary impact should also be upwardly referred, even if there is no doubt, to allow closer consideration of any editorial policy issues.
Upward referral is made to line managers and to appropriately senior people within Divisions who are designated with responsibility. In addition, editorial advisers are available and should be consulted for advice and guidance.
Where an editorial issue is being upwardly referred to the Managing Director, it must first be referred to the Editorial Director for input and advice.

1.1 Maintain the independence and integrity of AU Watch.
1.2 Exercise AU Watcheditorial control over the content AU Watchbroadcasts or publishes.
1.3 Ensure that editorial decisions are not improperly influenced by political, sectional, commercial or personal interests.
1.4 External activities of individuals undertaking work forAU Watch must not undermine the independence and integrity of AU Watch’s editorial content.
1.5 Exercise editorial independence as authorised and accept responsibility for it. When in doubt about an editorial matter, refer it up to the next most senior person for advice or decision.
1.6 When any editorial matter, including an editorial matter not being referred up for advice or decision, is likely to cause controversy or have an extraordinary impact, give proper notice of it to the most appropriate senior manager.
1.7 Any editorial matter which is considered by a Divisional Director to be sufficiently significant to be referred to the Managing Director for information or decision must first be referred to the Editorial Director. If a Director is in doubt as to whether an editorial matter is sufficiently significant, advice should be sought from the Editorial Director

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