Our open information policy
VSO is committed to being transparent in its work and accountable to its key stakeholders, in particular people living in poverty.
We share information with people living in poverty, partner organisations, and the general public, and are also accountable to our staff, volunteers, supporters, donors, suppliers and host governments.
The information we publish and how we respond to requests for information are important aspects of accountability.
We will proactively publish information, and on request will disclose information, or give reasons for any decision not to disclose (for example, to respect confidentiality, privacy or comply with our data protection policy).
The following guidance is in accordance with the VSO Open Information Policy statement.
What information does VSO publish and in what media?
A large amount of information is published on our website, whether in our main site, www.vsointernational.org or on our country-specific websites. In addition, we also publish detailed financial information quarterly in arrears under the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
International Aid Transparency Initiative
VSO is committed to publishing detailed financial information each quarter in compliance with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Full details of the aims and formation of IATI can be found at the IATI website.
VSO began publishing financial data to the IATI Registry in 2012 in line with IATI Standards. We will continue to work to make data as transparent and user-friendly as possible. Raw data on VSO income and expenditure can be accessed on the IATI Registry.
The VSO data set provides detailed information on income and expenditure in each VSO country office plus the International Citizen Service and other VSO International functions. Data is presented in standard IATI headings and is designed to allow comparability across the sector. VSO will work towards also presenting our IATI data in an easy access format.
Where can I find information about VSO, volunteering with VSO or supporting VSO's work?
For general enquiries about VSO, volunteering with VSO or supporting our work, please contact the Supporter Care team at firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 20 8780 7500 or Supporter Care team, VSO, 100 London Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6QJ. If you email or write to us, we aim to respond within three working days.
How can I make a request for other information?
If you have a request for specific information that cannot be answered by our Supporter Care team please send your request in writing to: Company.Secretary@vsoint.org or Company Secretary, VSO, 100 London Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6QJ.
We endeavour to respond promptly. All requests made to the Company Secretary will be responded to within 28 working days, unless there is a compelling reason why this is not practical.
Using disclosed information
The information that VSO discloses under the Open Information Policy can only be used for non-commercial teaching or campaigning. The information cannot be:
Re-sold in whole or in part for any reason; or
Reproduced without the written permission of VSO, in which case we must be fully acknowledged.
If you would like to use the information for any other purposes, please contact Company.Secretary@vsoint.org or Company Secretary, VSO, 100 London Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6QJ to discuss it with us.
Language and translation
This Open Information Policy applies primarily to information requests in the English language addressed to VSO offices in the United Kingdom. Our country offices will often respond to relevant requests for information, but time and resource constraints will not always make it practical to respond, whether providing information or giving reasons for not disclosing. Most information is published in the English language.
Under what circumstances might VSO decline disclosure?
The safety of our staff is a primary concern. We will not disclose information where we consider it could jeopardise our ability to operate or the safety of our staff, volunteers or partners.
Some information is by its nature private to the individuals concerned.
Information may be confidential because of legal, commercial or contractual reasons, or because its premature disclosure would jeopardise action that VSO is planning to take.
In some cases we do not have the right to disclose information because it is someone else's copyright, and while we have the right to make internal use of it this does not extend to publishing it. We do favour open publishing where we can, such as for our policy papers.
Where we consider that the cost of disclosure, whether as a time cost or a monetary cost, would be disproportionate to the request, we may decline disclosure but will explain that this is the reason.
Detailed information about programmes
We may decline to provide information to requests made in United Kingdom about our international programme work in other countries where this would take up significant staff time in our programme.
Internal planning, drafts and trivial or ephemeral information
We will generally not disclose internal working papers that address future plans, or drafts of work, or information which we consider is of ephemeral interest such that the work involved in disclosure is in our view disproportionate.
Harm to operations
We recognise the importance of how we put principles into practice. But there will be occasions where we do not disclose information because we consider that the disclosure could harm our work, whether in UK or in our international operations. An example would be information about a campaign involving particular targets, where the disclosure could jeopardise the effectiveness of the campaign.
How does VSO deal with multiple requests and/or requests with no discernible public benefit?
Where a person makes multiple requests for information, or we consider that the work involved in dealing with the request has no discernible public benefit, we may decide not to spend time in dealing with the request. Such a decision will be taken by the Company Secretary. If any person makes a request in an offensive manner, or has otherwise been abusive to staff or volunteers, then we may decline to engage in correspondence with that person.