Years ago, when I was applying for university, I needed to include my high school transcript in my application. It was one of the pieces of paper that went into the envelope and sent away. Later on, when applying for a masters programme, I need to include a copy of my university degree. As the applicant, it was my responsibility to share with the university ‘proof’ of what I had accomplished academically so far. Upon graduation, each university keeps a record of my accomplishment as do I.
Similarly, when you drive around my town you see vehicles, shops, offices all with various different signs up showing their accreditation or certifications. But each certifying body also keeps a record of them.
In the humanitarian space, most organisations conduct a due diligence process with another agency before partnering. And also a capacity assessment. However, unlike in education where one university tends to accept another university’s degree or certification, in the humanitarian space, we don’t. Each agency tends to do their own due diligence process even if another agency has already done it. We don’t tend to accept the work – in whole or even in part – that another organisation has done. And it is rare that the ‘partner’ being assessed receives a copy of the report in the end, which they could use or share with another agency.
Interoperability thinking combined with portability and user control/access thinking might be helpful here. If the partner organisation could be at the centre of the data exchange, they could receive the due diligence certification done by one organisation – degree and transcript of grades. These ‘results’ could be kept by the organisation conducting the process as well. However, if the partner organisation has the certifcate, they could then share it with other organisations requesting the same information or process.
Assuming the second organisation trusts the first organisation, there would be signifcant time savings for everyone. Some people call this ‘passporting’, others call it ‘efficiency gains’, and still others call it common sense.