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Sri Lanka Red Cross Society

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

New Directions
Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Letter from IfrC PresIdent

Letter from IfrC seCretary GeneraL

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Sri Lanka Map

Red Cross branches

Palk Bay



Mannar Vavuniya Trincomalee

Bay of Bengal


Puttalam Polonnaruwa Batticaloa

Kurunegala Matale Kandy Kegalle Gampaha Nuwara Eliya Badulla Ampara


Colombo City


Ratnapura Kaluthara

Hambanthota Galle Matara


MeSSage fRoM the honoRaRy PReSident

I am pleased to share this booklet about the process of change that the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has undergone over the past 18 months called Re-engineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society . By no means was it an easy task and, at times, its hard to believe we managed to effectively navigate this comprehensive and quite intensive process. In many ways, it was a difficult and a painful exercise. It was also a huge challenge to get off the ground and, if not for the collective support given to me, would not have been a success. The central governing boards (CGB) approval was the first landmark of success and, thereafter the support from IFRC, partner national societies, management and branches contributed greatly. Indeed the financial contribution of Movement partners was a vital factor for the successful completion of the first two phases of the process.

Jagath Abeysinghe President

During the last 18 months, an external consultancy led the re-engineering process and that itself proved a challenge. Handing over such a sensitive, critical and people-centred assignment was a great risk for SLRCS. But we were open and transparent, allowing the consultants to be as independent as possible and at the very highest level. In no way did we interfere nor did we reject their personalized and highly sensitive methodologies. The entire process was successfully completed by the Chief Consultant of PASS Asia, Samantha Pathiratna, and facilitated by the Advisor to the President, Gamini Pinnalawatte, on behalf of the CGB and myself. Furthermore, I would like to mention our National Secretary, Nimal Kumar, and first Vice President, Bharatha Jonikkuhewa, for their commitment to the reengineering recommendations. While the process itself is by no means over, I feel it fitting 18-months after the start to describe the journey we have taken so far and to share the challenges and lessons learnt. Although the re-engineering process is unique to the Sri Lankan context and designed specifically for SLRCS, my motivation to document our experience is to provide a guide that any sister society or, for that matter anyone with the Movement, facing a similar challenge can refer to. When I most needed it there was no reference material available within the Movement, either at IFRC or other national societies, which illustrated how to deal with a situation of this nature. I had no idea where to start. I believe some valuable and practical methodologies and tools have been developed and used over the course of re-engineering our society. And a lot of valuable lessons learnt. It would give me great satisfaction to know that the information outlined here could prove in some way useful to another national society and also as a case study within the Movement.

In my experience, it is not uncommon for small national societies to go bankrupt and collapse after a major disaster. Most get used to the international support that follows large-scale disasters and are unable to continue without the same structure, benefits, and approach as before. A huge challenge presented itself to our national society after the 2004 tsunami. In the space of a few years, our staff numbers ballooned from 80 to more than 1,000 people. The challenge for the Movement when a small national society artificially balloons after a disaster is how to keep it from imploding once operations end. After the massive tsunami operation how was SLRCS going to scale down and retain its core competent, minimum structure in order to ensure implementation of its longer-term programming? How would we restructure the national society? How could we separate management and governance roles that had become entwined during the demands of the tsunami operation? How could we sustain and improve the services of SLRCS to the community? Finally, could we establish the right mindset, for change? As president wanting to uphold my small national society, I did not want SLRCS to breakdown. I thought it was essential to be prepared, and to do so at least one year in advance. The idea of re-engineering SLRCS - to streamline and make it more efficient, to build on learning, knowledge and experience gained during the tsunami disaster experience, and to strengthen post-disaster programming - was the result. Throughout the entire process, my sole intention was to ensure that our national society, which found itself in a highly pressurised and demanding scenario after the tsunami, survived in a sustainable manner. Ours was a complex internal situation. After more than 70 years, changing the system of working posed a huge challenge. The most difficult part was a change in attitude. I seriously believe if you cant change the attitude of people, then the process itself will fail. We needed our Red Cross team to have a positive mind-set and the willpower to create a change within SLRCS. The task the local consultants undertook was merely a guideline for change within the national society. Implementing that change was, and remains, the challenge and the responsibility of SLRCS. T overcome the huge challenge before us we focused on three main approaches: building an efficient branch network (chairperson and branch executive officer) o that is transparent, professional and self-sustainable with the focus on improved services for the most vulnerable; creating a vibrant, transparent, accountable management team, led by the director general, to support the 26 branches and provide a high quality of beneficiary services; and restructuring REDMO, the commercial arm of SLRCS, and expanding its business ventures to generate more funds for the national society to undertake more programming for vulnerable and marginalized populations in the country. Right now I think we have successfully completed 60 to 70 per cent of the re-engineering process. I can feel the difference in attitude right down to the unit (sub-branch) level. With the direction set, Im fully confident that in the next few years we can achieve what we have set out to do and am hopeful of a 100 per cent success in our endeavour. .

Jagath Abeysinghe President April 2011

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

In August 2008, the president of the Sri Lanka Red Cross, Jagath Abeysinghe, posed two key questions to his national society. Are we really harnessing the full potential of the national society? Will programmes be able to continue once the tsunamioperations are over? He sensed a crisis looming in SLRCS with the ending of the tsunami recovery operation, and in an effort to forestall it, and build a more sustainable national society, identified the need for radical change within the organisation. There was fear theentire SLRCS system could collapse and my responsibility was to safeguard the national society and to avert a potential crisis, he said. Initial, conventional efforts by SLRCS to deal with the problem included implementing a change management process and adopting the IFRC-led scale down without harm approach. While useful, these exercises did little to spur any noticeable change within the society. The president recognized that unorthodox measures were needed if there was to be any hope of change. He started to discuss options to address this with SLRCS governance and management.

Partnership with PASS Asia

In 2009, with the consent of the CGB, a partnership was forged between SLRCS and PASS Asia, a consultancy group who had previous and extensive working relations with the national society. According to the ICRC cooperation coordinator, to get an external consult to manage the change process was a smart, but also difficult move on the part of SLRCS. PASS Asia is a local business entity so this was a daring move, for a business to come in and change a not-for-profit organisation and help to instil processes that were usual in the corporate world, he said. He went on to say that, on the downside, the consultants had little or no prior knowledge of the Movement and its policies, structures and programmes, the critical interface between streamlining SLRCS was counter balanced by no prior institutional knowledge of the Movement. PASS Asia did a tremendous job of acquiring an understanding of the Movement and SLRCS. But it was a nearly impossible task .

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Preparing for organisational change

The goal of this partnership was to prepare SLRCS for organisational change and enable it to effectively and efficiently manage the transformational rather than incremental change with completion of tsunami projects, implementation of the national society five-year development plan, addressing the challenges of a complex internally displaced people operation, and bringing together other stand-alone interventions. Ultimately, the purpose of this process was to lay the foundation for a new and innovative organisation a well-functioning national society able to execute its new vision and mission to provide humanitarian services to vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka. The consultants called this approach re-engineering the SLRCS .

As someone familiar with most IFRC references related to restructuring, downsizing and organisational re-engineering, Al Panico, Head of the IFRC Asia Pacific Zone Tsunami Unit, maintained that, the SLRCS reengineering process is a locally originated, unique process with unbelievably brilliant results. I wouldnt hesitate to mention that you [SLRCS] could sell this process to other countries . It is noteworthy that while the re-engineering process originated from the president, it was neither a directive by him alone nor a call from Movement partners, but a collective effort by both the CGB and management to elicit change. While on an official visit to Sri Lanka in 2009 the Secretary General of IFRC, Bekele Geleta, declared that, [SLRCS] can become the best national society in Asia, or perhaps in the world, if it implements the re-engineering process with genuine commitment and in an effective manner . This booklet summarizes the process and early outcomes of that effort, as well as challenges and lessons learnt by SLRCS in its bid to become the best national society in Asia .

Collective effort
In-country partner, German Red Cross (GRC), contributed 50 per cent of the total financial investment towards phase one of the re-engineering process and felt it was a worthy venture to support. As the country coordinator explained, we were watching seriously. As a main core sponsor for phase one Im quite happy and satisfied with the change and results .

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Why Re-engineering?
When the Asian tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2004, Red Cross volunteers from all over the country came forward to assist with the enormous operation. T ogether with Movement partners and other stakeholders, the SLRCS responded to make a major contribution to the tsunami-recovery programme. The massive Red Cross Red Crescent programmes that grew from the operation were primarily in non-core (i.e. non-traditional) areas, with special focus on 13 branches located in tsunami-affected districts. Over the course of the next few years, more than 800,000 Swiss francs was spent on projects, with 35,000 houses built, infrastructure for 72 health facilities put in place, and multiple livelihood schemes and water and sanitation systems undertaken. Five years later, with the tsunami operation nearing completion, SLRCS acknowledged that it was not possible to sustain their now enlarged post-tsunami structure not just in terms of staff numbers but also staff capability. The national society needed to downsize. And it needed to do so while ensuring a stronger society than pre-tsunami that refocused on, and had built capacity in, the core areas of programming and national society sustainability. Furthermore, during the early stages of the tsunami, due to the limited number of experienced personnel at management level, governance had taken an unprecedented role in running operations. Now was the time to re-establish a clear delineation of roles between management and governance, back in line with the national societys constitution. A formal process for change was set in motion on 1 August 2009.

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Process overview
Phase 1
1 August 2009 - 15 February
2010 (6-months)

The scope of re-engineering has been described by PASS Asia as the fundamental re-thinking and radical redesign of SLRCS processes to bring about dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as accountability, transparency, quality, professionalism, responsibility, service and speed to provide humanitarian services to the vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka . The consultants initiated change at SLRCS through a three-phased process. The first two phases were managed by PASS Asia thought a transference approach with increasingly shared roles with the national society. As per the goal, SLRCS management is leading the third phase.

Phase 2
16 February - 15 August
2010 (6 - months)

Phase 3
16 August 2010 onward 180-day intensified capacity
building programme

Towards Governance and

Management Excellence

Good to Great

New Era - New Attitudinal

Changes Orientation sessions Rapid performance & status
appraisal (RPSA)

Development of new strategies & policies New core structure & core positions New job profiles Policy committees & monitoring panels Staff interviews & re-appointments

Staff training & development Resource mobilization Policy orientation Performance management Monitoring, evaluations & reviews Leadership & management competencies Management-led, governance supervised
and IFRC, ICRC & PNSs supported

70% reappointment interviews completed 36 draft interim recommendations Separation of management & governance

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Phase one

towards Governance and management excellence

Managing change in a 74-year old organisation is no easy task. So how did PASS Asia intend to engage with SLRCS, a national society with an established and dedicated board of governors, 26 distinct branch offices and, at its height after the tsunami, an expanded structure of over 1,000 staff working alongside various Movement partners, and steer them towards change? For years, branch chairs had become accustomed to running their offices autonomously. National headquarters, flushed with cash from the tsunami operation, had become comfortable with an enlarged staff structure. Volunteers who had previously worked purely for charity had come to expect payment for their services. How would the total human resource base of SLRCS react to change?

According to Tissa Abeywickrama, director general (DG) of SLRCS, the change was very much to deal with a human concern the perception of long-serving staff in adjusting to changes that were inevitable with scaling down of SLRCS post-tsunami operations . The consultants aimed to set the tone of the first phase by fostering an environment that took the perceptions of employees and governance seriously. They began with orientation sessions to explain the process to governance and management at headquarters and the 26 branch offices. Core staff at national headquarters (NHQ), IFRC, ICRC, and partner national societies (PNSs) also participated in the process. A brochure that described the process,

available in English, Sinhala, and T amil, was widely circulated within the national society, and similar information was posted on the SLRCS website. Throughout this highly sensitive process, SLRCS followed its guiding principles and philosophy of dedication, sacrifice and courage. The president, who demonstrated stability and kept the momentum going, down to top governance, set a strong example. At every level, the national society was urged to cooperate in the process to steer SLRCS towards a better future.

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Rapid status and performance appraisal

After intensive desk reviews, brainstorming sessions and meetings, the consultants designed a series of tailored questionnaires to be used to conduct a rapid status and performance appraisal (RSPA) with SLRCS employees and governance. The RSPA was the first major activity of the re-engineering process and necessary to provide the consultants with a clear, comprehensive and accurate picture of the status of SLRCS at that time. The objective was to investigate the perceptions, concerns, expectations, and challenges of SLRCS through a random sample of 20 people. Finally, however, 302 interviews were conducted. Questions on individuals views of the strengths and weakness of the organisation as well as that of governance and management were included in the questionnaires. Highly sensitive, risky and difficult questions were identified as those relevant to the president, national secretary, vice presidents, CGB, chairman task force, chairman finance commission, DG, and branch chairpersons, secretaries and treasurers. Getting frank answers for this group posed a challenge. According to the advisor to the president, it was difficult to know whether someone would give wrong information due to some personal grudge or problem. So PASS Asia had to be very sharp in its approach . The consultants used various techniques and strategies to obtain candid information, primarily by building peoples confidence in the PASS Asia interview team and through assuring confidentiality. Customized questionnaires were issued to the president, national secretary, vice presidents, CGB, DG, core staff members, senior branch governance, BEOs, REDMO staff, IFRC, ICRC and PNSs. Each person was asked to complete the questionnaires outside the workplace and prior to attending the interview. Along with the questionnaire packs, PASS Asia produced a seven-minute CD (in Sinhala and T amil) that individuals could listen to en route to the interviews. The consultants used this device to help review the objectives of the re-engineering process and to encourage interviewees to provide frank and open feedback during the one-to-one sessions.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Interview process
Over a six-week period starting in August 2009, in premises outside SLRCS, an independent panel comprising 19 resource persons carried out the one-to-one interviews. Confidentiality was ensured throughout the interview process. During the course of the interviews, the already completed questionnaires were rewritten, this time without mention of the persons name, and the original documents were destroyed. Results of all 302 interviews were presented to the president, national secretary, vice presidents, chairman finance commission, chairman task force, CGB members (as a group), deputy-DGs and executive directors. Throughout the RSPA process, the function played by the re-engineering progress review committee (RPRC) in supporting sensitive and demanding situations as well as expediting approvals, was crucial. In addition to the one-on-one interviews, a group of ten consultants conducted unannounced visits to the various departments of SLRCS headquarters and assessed everything from the buildings location to the presidents working environment, from drivers working conditions to the cleanliness of toilets. Four groups of consultants visited seven branch offices around the island to carry out similar assessments.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

RSPA final report

According to PASS Asia one of the best features of the interviews was that none of the candidates was arrogant, emotional, defensive or unpleasant. In the final report, the consultants stated that on the whole interviewees were open in expressing their views. Several candidates found relief in being able to share and then let go of long-held grievances while others mentioned that they understood and accepted their mistakes. Several good ideas came out of the interviews for the benefit of the organisation. While some interviewees declared they were willing to leave SLRCS if the number of positions decreased after the restructure, others felt that a comprehensive performance management system was first needed. Overall, most believed that the timing was appropriate to re-engineer SLRCS. Without this push, attitudes would remain unchanged and, ultimately, there would be little hope for the national societys efficiency and effectiveness.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Draft recommendations

Both quantitative and qualitative data collected from the RSPA process was presented as 36 draft interim recommendations to the CGB. The recommendations summarized key challenges faced by the national society after the tsunami, among them the need to separate governance and management roles, revise the SLRCS core structure, and develop new policies and guidelines. T ensure the re-engineering process moved forward it o was essential to first address these issues.

The 36 recommendations that follow set out to: o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Strengthen CGB capacity Elect an independent inquiry board Create new terms of reference for the president Recommend set-up of advisory committee Establish an international desk position Develop new terms of reference for the national secretary Empower the chairman finance commission (CFC) with a mechanism and strategies to advise CGB Set up commission to undertake independent risk management and audit activities Develop new terms of reference for branch governance Set up governance rewarding committee Re-appoint all NHQ and branch staff within first two weeks of January 2010 Develop new core structure for SLRCS Establish national policy and monitoring committee (NPMC) Set up virtual policy and monitoring committees as CGB sub-committees Formulate technical committees Set up Whistle-Blower policy

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Set up independent human resources committee Enhance cooperation with IFRC, ICRC and PNSs Renew relations with IFRC, ICRC, PNSs and other donors Introduce new international delegates recruitment policy and system Develop new policy on international visits for governance and management Relocate SLRCS into new premises Establish new performance and reward management system Develop Decent Work for All policy and strategy Introduce excellent HR environment for productivity Launch 5-S week and productivity awards in 2010 Develop and present management plans and budget Set up new management and supervision systems Introduce beneficiary satisfaction and feedback mechanism Set up media, communication and image building policy and strategy Introduce vehicle and transport policy Set up learning and development desk Produce documents in Sinhala and T amil Initiate change management facilitation and HR development Develop volunteer incentives package Review and launch youth strategic plan Streamline fundraising and income generation programmes (IGP) at SLRCS

Within weeks these recommendations were approved by the CGB, and by 15 December 2009 changes began to take place in the national society.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Separation of governance and management

The highlight of phase one was the formal separation in the roles and responsibilities of SLRCS governance and management. This was necessary, as roles had become complicated during the course of the tsunami operations. At that time, large numbers of staff had been recruited but most, from the DG down, had insufficient Red Cross experience. On the other hand, almost all governance, including the president, national secretary, CGB, branch chairmen and secretaries had been in office with SLRCS for more than 10 or 15 years. Although not their function, under these extraordinary circumstances governance immediately joined forces with management and, as a team, successfully ran the (relief and) recovery operation. The result was a doubling-up of the jobs between governance and management, an important issue that had to be addressed. The president understood that, It was politically threatening for SLRCS governance and some people felt they were losing power. The more transparent and accountable you want to be, the less the people at the top are satisfied. This posed a huge challenge for PASS and, in my opinion, they did a very good job . Responsibility for the management of SLRCS was completely handed over to the DG and his team. Governance involvement in management issues was minimized and all communications from then on were directed to go through the DG. Some of the tools used for this included the circulation of clear instructions for management not to approach governance, and the enforcement of restricted office hours. Any incidents that hindered or affected these instructions were discussed by the CMC and resolved by the RPRC.

15 to 16 months back there was resistance by some branches to the [idea of a] change of governance and management. Change first happened at national headquarters, with top governance, and then trickled down to branches. Governance has run the society for over seven decades so its difficult to change overnight. But branches are committed to change. SLRCS Vice President Bharatha Jonikkuhewa


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Orientation for governance and management

In January 2010, a major capacity building workshop was arranged for all governance and senior management of SLRCS. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a progress report on the re-engineering process, discuss the new guidelines and job descriptions, set up new mechanisms and strategies for emergencies, and discuss follow-up of the first phase. During the same period all core staff, from the DG to branch staff, were formally informed of the staff re-appointment process, and of the interview process that would follow later the same month [this process continued into phase two].


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Monitoring the Process

T ensure transparency, accountability, and regular assessments throughout the re-engio neering process, two monitoring bodies were set up. The SLRCS national secretary said he thought the process has been conducted in a very structured manner by putting in two high level independent bodies - the re-engineering progress review committee (RPRC) and the consultancy monitoring committee (CMC). All decisions were filtered through our technical partners .

Re-engineering progress review committee

The RPRC met on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to comprehensively review progress and provided feedback and necessary approvals to the consultants. These meetings were held after the CMC meetings to ensure that any issues raised by IFRC, ICRC and PNSs could be clarified and addressed in a confidential setting. It was especially important to the CMC that the president (as a member of the RPRC) be fully aware of any concerns of Movement partners. Having the committee in place meant decisions could be expedited without red tape and having to wait for long periods before CGB approval. However, the CGB was notified of decisions through progress reports and regular web updates. The RPRC was also helpful in reducing underlying tensions, misunderstandings and miscommunication between SLRCS and the consultants; the latter appreciated the moral support it provided. The majority of committee members participated in the 18 RPRC meetings that were conducted over the course of the first and second phase. The committee comprised the SLRCS president, national secretary and vice presidents, as well as the advisor to the SLRCS president and the PASS Asia chief consultant.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Consultancy monitoring committee

The CMC, set up by funding partners that included IFRC, ICRC, and PNSs, was tasked to monitor the consultants progress during phase two. The committee also provided necessary feedback and guidance to further improve the process and to achieve objectives under this phase. The CMC was composed of representatives from IFRC, ICRC and PNSs, together with the advisor to the SLRCS president and the chief consultant. Besides playing traditional roles as funders, advisors, motivators and guides, CMC members played an essential part as decision-makers and, consequently had ownership of the SLRCS re-engineering process. As with the RPRC, the CMC met at least bi-monthly. Attendance records indicated that most of the committee members attended the 13 meetings held. (See Annexe 1 for list of RPRC and CMC members.)

PASS hotline
In addition to the two monitoring bodies, PASS Asia set up and managed a trilingual (Sinhala/T amil/English) hotline on 15 December 2009 for branch and NHQ employees, governance, management, and Movement partners to record any issues related to management failure, misconduct or poor performance. The purpose of the service was to help management improve its capacity, while ensuring transparency and productivity.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Phase one at a Glance

Core Activities
01 Preliminary design and approval of process & orientation sessions

Key Tasks
1.1. Develop brochure to introduce concept (Sinhala/T amil/English) 1.2. Design and approval of RSPA questionnaire 1.3. Orientation sessions 1.4. RSPA with governance, management, IFRC, ICRC and PNS 1.5. Develop T oRs for CMC and RPRC 1.6. Produce methodology, strategies and action plan for the re-engineering process 2.1. Review of SLRCS constitution, policies and guidelines 2.2. Streamline existing policy, technical and management committees. 2.3. Set up new committees with T oRs in agreement with all parties 2.4. Prepare committee guidelines for governance and management

Original plan to interview random sample (20) in RSPA process. Finally 302 interviews conducted


Review existing structures and set-up new structures & mechanisms for policy, technical and management committees at branches and NHQ

Guidelines for president, national secretary, chairman finance commission and branch chair man completed Rules and procedures manual completed RPRC request a trial period for implementation of draft guidelines (December 2009 to February 2010) New JDs drafted for DG, heads of department, executive directors and BEOs Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) carried out activities


Review existing structures and set-up new core structures, core positions and improved systems for branches and NHQ Set up performance management and reward management (PMRM) systems at branch and NHQ

3.1. Design and conduct HRM scoping study to finalise core positions, suitability of exiting HR systems, and new requirements for building capacity at branches and NHQ 3.2. Produce new version of job descriptions for all positions in branches and NHQ 4.1. Design and launch PMS at branches and NHQ together with per formance appraisal tools for staff 4.2. Establish performance appraisal mechanism and strategies 4.3. Set-up mechanisms to continue, discontinue, reward, promote, demote etc. based on performance levels.


Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) carried out activities New systems not introduced for appraisals due to time constraints. PASS conducted alterative appraisal methods Draft PMRM system completed


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross 05 Facilitate change management process through building capacities
5.1. Design and facilitate compulsory training and development schedule 5.2. Development of identified training modules 5.3. Deliver and evaluate training programmes 5.4. Produce report on future training requirements to facilitate change management process Only 1 formal training session was designed. A number of formal and informal reviews were completed This task was outside the consultants original scope of work

06 07 08

Operational modalities and coordination mechanism (OMCM) Managing international affairs Managing communications achieve results to

6.1. Review and introduce OMCM

This task was not achieved due to time constraints T completed oR Work still ongoing Communication systems was in place

7.1. Introduce structures, strategies and systems for managing international affairs with IFRC, ICRC, PNS and other stakeholders 8.1. Introduce improvements for internal and external communications 8.2. Set up strategies for effective use of telephone, email, fax, internet and mobile communications 9.1. Provide recommendations to redesign human resource environment 10.1. Present regular updates to RPRC and CMC 10.2. Submission of final report with lessons learnt 10.3. Submit report on Phase Two interventions

09 10

Improve human resource environment Monitor, evaluate and report on the reengineering process

RSPA interview findings provided the necessary recommendations Nine RPRC and six CMC reports produced 12 monthly progress updates produced

Additional Tasks
01 Design, implement and report on employee re-appointment interviews 02 Reviews and management progress reporting mechanism
1.1 Design employee history form and re-appointment scoring system 1.2. Data analysis of re-appointment interviews 1.3. Verify and submit re-appointment results The task started in Phase One and was completed in Phase Two


1.1 Design employee history form and re-appointment scoring system 1.2. Data analysis of re-appointment interviews 1.3. Verify and submit re-appointment results

T management progress reporting (PMER) op mechanism in place


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Phase two Good to Great

From Good to Great it is OUR collective choice and effort. CRC, DRC, GRC and NRC April 2010 The second phase of the process can been thought of as the action and commencement of the implementation stage. The stated objectives were to: introduce and implement policies to facilitate structural changes at management level; set up independent governance committees to ensure implementation of these policies; and facilitate the re-appointment of personnel to the newly agreed management and governance structure. At a meeting of Movement partners in April 2010, the ICRC cooperation coordinator acknowledged that the re-engineering process should be a collective effort and all Red Cross partners in Sri Lanka had a responsibility to see it succeed. He highlighted that, the discussion and negotiation phase is now over. The real, practical work starts [now], in phase two .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

New policies and guidelines

During this phase, new policies, guidelines and strategies were developed, reviewed, and put forward to the CGB for approval. Among them were the following:
o Whistle blower policy and guidline - under this policy any allegation or complaint made against a member of governance or management (including the president, national secretary, CGB, branch chairmen, committee members, DG, NHQ management and BEOs) will be sent to a nominated, independent, external mediator (individual or agency). The mediator first screens, verifies and, if necessary, unofficially investigates the matter before referring it to a board of inquiry that has been appointed by the CGB. After that, the chairman of the inquiry board, a retired judge, investigates further and forwards recommendations to the CGB for appropriate action (suspension, police action, dismissal etc.). o Human resources policy and guidline includes transparent procedures for recruitment, disciplinary action, performance and target-based evaluations, and benefit and reward systems. One of the key amendments to the policy is that two persons from one family cannot be employed by SLRCS at the same time. o T ransport policy and guidline includes amendments to the use of SLRCS vehicles. At both the national and branch level governance has the authority to use SLRCS vehicles while part of the BEOs role covers the management of vehicles. o Interim branch committee guideline according to the new guidelines, if a branch committee is dissolved for whatever reason, the CGB has the authority to appoint an interim branch committee until such time a new committee is elected. The selection, composition, authority and duration that the interim committee can be in place are outlined in the guideline. o Branch grading and performance policy and guidline this new policy states that each branch will be graded and categorized (A, B C etc.) based on an incentive scheme. While support will be provided to develop branches, similarly action will be taken against those branches that under-perform. o Decent work for all policy and guidline encompasses matters related to decent behaviour, compliance to ethics and standards, respect of Movement principles, humanitarian values, and human dignity, among others. o International visits for governance and management policy and guidline includes new guidelines, and selection procedures. o Media strategy outlines new procedures and provides details related to final authorization for media-related matters.

Several of the above policies and guidelines challenged long-standing practices, for instance Red Cross culture, and the traditional power base of branch chairmen. Even under normal circumstances some of these policies (for example, the whistle blower policy) are considered risky to implement and are deemed a threat But, of course, in the long run they benefit the organisation and require strong leadership, dedication and commit. ment for effective and efficient implementation.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

New core structure

Besides policy development, one of the most extensive changes that emerged from the 36 recommendations was in the core structure. From just 80 staff pre-tsunami, the organisation had a total of over 1,000 employees working at SLRCS national headquarters and with PNSs in more than a dozen branch offices. With tsunami-operations winding-down, it was time to scale back and restructure the organisation. In line with revising the core structure, SLRCS had to also re-appoint its entire core staff. The latter step was to have a much wider impact on the national societys morale. Job descriptions and guidelines for governance and senior management had been drafted in the first phase, including those for branch governance and branch executive officers (BEOs).

Designed by IPM

The reputable Institute of Personnel Management (IPM), an independent, professional body in Sri Lanka, was appointed by the RPRC and CMC and approved by CGB to devise a new core structure for SLRCS. The methodology to gather information was developed by IPM and approved by the RPRC. It provided for extensive interviews with the president, national secretary, vice presidents, CGB, advisor to the president, branch chairmen and BEOs, and with senior personnel from IFRC, ICRC and PNSs. The structure was re-designed taking into account available resources, existing technical programmes and potential for future funding support from partners. From here, IPM was able to shape the new core structure by identifying and proposing any existing positions that needed to be abolished, changed, offered a promotion (e.g. BEOs), as well as the creation of new positions. The proposed new structure, which with the availability of resources could be modified as and when necessary, was approved by the CGB. Understandably, as noted by the former SLRCS head of operations about staff job security, there was a cloud of uncertainty within SLRCS with the IPM recommendations .


(See Annexe 2 for new SLRCS organogram.)

Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Staff re-appointments

Staff re-appointment interviews that started in the first phase of the re-engineering process continued into the second. Between 4 January and 11 March 2010, 137 staff from NHQ and 71 from branches were re-interviewed by professionals from IPM. A rigorous set of criteria was used for the interviews, including a scoring system, professional certificate verification, and observations. Over 70 core staff eventually lost their jobs as positions were discontinued, causing an immediate drain of institutional knowledge from SLRCS. Retrenched staff were compensated using a gratuity and compensation plan developed by SLRCS, and fine-tuned by the consultants together with SLRCS. Staff terminations were not based on the interview findings but on subsequent performance appraisals and the finalisation of the new core structure. Final decisions on terminations were made by the CGB, with recommendations by the RPRC. The process and timing were, once again, understandably extremely challenging. The SLRCS head of HR and administration said the re-engineering process affected staff at SLRCS. Staff reduction was too sudden, especially for administration and HR, he said. Once the new core structure and core positions were in place, the consultants developed 41 new job profiles (descriptions and specifications), introduced new employment terms and conditions, and instituted a performance appraisal guide. One significant change in the core structure was the elevation of the BEO role, with a new job description that exercises at branch level the same management responsibilities as the director general has at a national level.

Early impact of change

The early outcomes of such fundamental change are impacting on different stakeholders in different ways. The Vavuniya branch chairman said he thought the re-engineering process was a good idea, but he was not happy with all aspects of it. The power pyramid structure should be reversed, he said. The new structure has resulted in powers being centralised, which from our branch perspective, has slowed down the decision making process . The IFRC disaster management (DM) delegate had a different view. According to him, with the re-engineering process there is dramatic reduction in interference by governance with operational and management issues. The DG role has become stronger and each and every staff member now knows his or her roles and responsibilities .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Operational gaps identified

Nevertheless, the introduction of new structures and mechanisms revealed some operational gaps that started to affect project implementation. The DM delegate noted that, IFRC and PNS projects have been significantly hampered because of lack of authority of the project managers. This is frustrating. The new mechanism has become more complex for project implementation over the past four months though I believe it is now being addressed . The SLRCS head of operations echoed these sentiments. Phase two of the process was much clearer because the core structure of SLRCS was now laid out. T avoid o confusion caused by executive directors dealing directly with PNS, all had to report directly to the head of operations. Titles were changed to technical specialists to reflect this change in responsibilities. However, this sudden change in modality has affected programmes in the field . In Vavuniya, the senior coordinator of the IDP recovery programme, while supporting the entire process, expressed that, it has not been linked closely enough to the implementation level with the five-year development plan (FYDP). It has affected the implementation and monitoring of core SLRCS activities because of lack of experience and skills at certain levels. This has led to a slowing down of activities . As with all change processes, the early stages of implementing new structures has led to a significant reduction in programme work, while SLRCS personnel have been involved in complex internal HR processes. The Canadian Red Cross (CRC) OD delegate went on to say that, what has worsened is the effectiveness of programme implementation there has been a slide downwards in programme effectiveness. Projects have been stalled; not getting them off the ground has impacted service delivery. There is also no focus on the FYDP Resources cant be used . because SLRCS [the implementing partner] is not functional .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Towards fine-tuning the process

The ICRC cooperation coordinator was more optimistic about the process. I find the re-engineering process a fascinating project, refreshing in the sense that the Movement and IFRC OD approaches were put on hold to allow a new innovative approach to take place Yet, he also expressed some . concern that, the first and second phase of the process saw a decrease in the functionality of SLRCS leading to confusion in reporting lines and an overall lack of action. Within the process we need to identify why the SLRCS exists, which is to service communities and the vulnerable people of Sri Lanka . The action phase set off many questions for staff within the national society as well as Movement partners. Some change had taken place, but systems were not yet properly in place and gaps existed. SLRCS was to start fine-tuning the re-engineering process.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Continued need for monitoring

As with the first phase, the RPRC and CMC continued their approval and monitoring roles. This time, the Canadian, Danish, German and Norwegian Red Cross Societies provided additional input to the CMC. While these two monitoring groups were effective, the view of the CRC OD delegate was that he would have liked to see IFRC play a stronger coordinating and leadership role with ICRC and the seven or so PNS based in Sri Lanka. We needed more direct involvement from IFRC for phase two in terms of coordination, which affected the effectiveness of process, he said. The process came not without major problems and struggles for the PASS Asia chief consultant and the facilitator/coordinator, who throughout the first two phases were unfairly targeted on many occasions, with unwarranted telephone calls, unjust accusations and even verbal threats. Nonetheless, the first two phases of the re-engineering process were overall a success, attributed to political will, senior leadership setting an example, and the presidents brave, down-to-earth ideas, commitment and determination. One on the indicators of the successful completion of these two phases was the approval and payment to the consultants by IFRC and PNS, based on the final report by PASS Asia.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Phase two good to great

Core Activities
01 Ensure the smooth functioning of the of independent committees (enquiry board, advisory committee, HR committee, CGB sub-committee, policy and monitoring committee and national policy and monitoring committee) Build the capacity of sub-committees and other committees 02 Build new mechanisms to share CGB meeting minutes, agenda, etc. Design and develop specific capacity building session for CGB Finalize the Code of Ethics and Good Governance guidelines for CGB 03 04 05 06 Finalize interim branch committee guide Design and set up performance management system for branches and NHQ Formulate policy and strategies on international visits for governance and management Implementation of new management supervision systems

T oRs finalized for various committees Policy committee members selected (via newspaper ads) Orientation and induction workshop held for new committee members Developed new formats for agenda, minutes & other documents Drafted plan for CGB capacity building session Conducted capacity building session in July 2010 Drafted Code of Ethics and Good Governance guidelines Finalized guide submitted to CGB for approval in August 2010 Developed performance appraisal guide Amended existing human resources policy Policy developed in August 2010 President, NS, advisor and consultant begin vis its to branches and provide orientation on new guidelines and job descriptions. Confidential discussion held with top management to review
performance and assess progress of changes implemented

Build the capacity of sub-committees and other committees

Complaints, concerns etc. processed and recorded. Reports

presented at RPRC meetings

Response letters to complaints sent to relevant parties


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross 07 Establishment of advisory reporting mechanism for finance commission (including advisory services) Ensure smooth functioning of finance commission 08 09 10 Implementation of Whistle Blower policy and strategy Development & implementation of Decent Work for All policy and strategy Development of media policy and strategy
Produced awareness material (stickers, leaflets, posters) Whistle Blower policy completed in August 2010 Decent Work for All policy completed August 2010 Media policy finalized in August 2010 Drafted T for finance commission oR Recruitment process begins for Finance Commission members


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

PhaSe one and tWo ReCoMMendationS

These recommendations help to move SLRCS forward... excellent recommendations! Bekele Geleta, Secretary General IFRC At the end of phase one and two, the consultants made a series of 36 draft recommendations to SLRCS to sustain changes that had already taken place in the national society and to initiate future changes. Many within SLRCS, as well as Movement partners, were unsure if these recommendations would be approved. In particular there were doubts about how members of governance and management, whose long-established roles, routines and influence would be affected by change, would react. Finally, however, the recommendations were approved by the CGB. The former IFRC head of delegation in Sri Lanka, Paul Emes endorsed this approval, I am privileged to see the excellent and comprehensive recommendations of the PASS Asia reengineering consultancy, and can assure you of IFRCs full support for this challenging and timely initiative . Of the 36 recommendations, SLRCS focused on expediting 16 recommendations that were considered priority including the 180-day productivity operation Some of these recommenda. tions had already started to be implemented in phase two.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

The 16 priority recommendations

o Need for CGB to ensure the execution of roles and functions of DG; o Need to speed up the new DDG recruitment process, with the involvement of IPM an independent body; o Approve the finalized key policies and ensure implementation and monitoring; o Independent performance appraisal for all SLRCS staff, with consultancy inputs of IPM; o Implement the Whistle Blower policy with the involvement of an independent body; o Accelerate the branch orientation process, initiated during Phase Two; o Draft short, medium and long-term branch capacity plans to ensure branches are in line with NHQ when it comes to the implementation of changes; o Define a strong monitoring mechanism for change; o Fill the existing vacancies as per the new core structure, including executive secretary, HR manager, branch accountants etc; o Implement coaching and mentoring services and other capacity building initiatives for BEOs, with the support of technical specialists; o Establish the independent enquiry board and other committees through an open application system (e.g. newspaper advertisements); o Develop and implement a sound training and development plan, for all levels of SLRCS; o Use the finalized branch grading and reward policy to implement a branch grading system; o Provide mentoring and coaching services for governance and management as and when required, at least in the coming six months; o Set up a 100- or 180-day productivity operation at SLRCS to create lasting change; and o Finalize new operational modality for ICRC and PNSs in order to align with the SLRCS change.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

PhaSe thRee

new era - new attItudInaL ChanGes

The third and final phase of the change process is SLRCSowned with a focus on the implementation of recommendations made in the two earlier phases, led by management and supervised by governance. T ogether with IFRC, ICRC, and partner national societies, SLRCS is set to focus on training and developing of staff, resource mobilisation, performance management, and monitoring, evaluation, and reviews. The goal is to inspire and cultivate a culture of independence within branches that will ensure a self-sustainable future for the national society as a whole. The advisor to the president believes that the third phase is the most difficult part of re-engineering SLRCS and, while the process itself may be over, the national society still has a long way to go. We will have to work very hard. IFRC, ICRC and PNSs will have to provide support while governance and management will have to change their mindset. SLRCS must march towards sustainability and be prepared for a new era, he said. The newly formed re-engineering process review committee (RPRC) and the CMC continue to evaluate progress and provide feedback for the last phase. An additional independent group, the 180-day review committee, was also established to review the progress of branches.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

the 180-day ProGramme

The most significant of the recommendations by PASS Asia was the productivity operation or what was termed by the president as the 180-day intensified capacity building programme . The SLRCS-designed programme kick-started the third phase and put new policies in place. It was geared towards preparing the network of 26 branches in Sri Lanka to be self-sustaining so they could continue to undertake the vital task of providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities. According to the president, the 180-days was the start of a long journey, where management and governance at both the national and branch levels could stand united on one platform in the march towards one common goal and with a strong and positive mindset . In an overwhelming show of unity, the 26 SLRCS branches attended a two-day meeting in mid-September 2010 to discuss the new accelerated approach. The DG said that, it was an emotionally charged session with sense of solidarity for SLRCS. The onus of planning and setting targets is [now] at the branch level. Whereas in the past NHQ would plan activities and train branch volunteers, now branches have taken ownership and are involved in planning and the sustainability of their branches .

Towards fine-tuning the process

The 180-day programme provided branches space to re-think and re-design their future approach, with a stipulated number of days within which to create and carry out a plan of action. It was essential that these plans considered a range of issues such as how to raise funds through income generation and other fundraising activities in order to bear future administration costs, what types of service programmes were needed and how to design and implement them for beneficiaries, and how to strengthen and develop youth and volunteer participation. In addition, plans had to focus on good governance practices including ways to strengthen branches and build up the image of Red Cross, and how to foster relationships with various stakeholders - from district health, education and disaster management authorities to the corporate sector. Prior to implementation, each branch presented its plan of action to a special panel appointed by the president, which beside himself comprised the national secretary, advisor to the president, DG, IFRC, ICRC, PNSs and the chief consultant.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

During the two-day meeting, the president had sent another strong, clear message to the branches. If, after the 180-day period, any branch is found financially incapable of standing on its own feet or is not operating up to standard, then there is no need for such a branch to continue According to . the president, these branches would not be serving a purpose in the community. Thus, the 180-day programme served as a decision-making time. Branches could accept the programme or not. They could decide whether or not they wanted to implement the newly formed policies. Ultimately, the future of each branch would rest with itself.

The future in your hands


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

RevieWing the 180-day PRogRaMMe

During the launch of the 180-day programme, the SLRCS president had emphasised to each of the 26 branches that, the programme is owned by you. It is your plan of action and reflects the needs of your community Even though the responsibility of implementation was passed to them, the . president believed it was also necessary to put an appraisal system in place to keep the pressure on and ensure branches performed. The review would help monitor the pace of progress, establish the kind of support needed from national governance and management, and reveal what hindered a branch for implementing its plan of action. A professional, independent special committee was appointed mid-way though the 180-days to roll out the review process. The committee comprised the chief consultant, as chairman, and the two advisors to the president, one as secretary and the other as a member. A field review team visited branches, and consisted of the secretary of the committee as team leader, the SLRCS head of internal audit department and one assistant, and a consultant from PASS Asia. Review methodology and tools were developed to ensure transparency and included an extensive set of questionnaires developed by the consultants with inputs and final consent from of all members of the review committee.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

The review process

The main objective of the review team was to assess progress made against the plan of action, which branches had presented some months earlier. As part of the review, a scoring system was developed to ascertain where each branch stood in the 180-day programme. According to the review team, the purpose was not to compare one branch with the other but, as expected, some branches viewed it quite differently. Now theres competition between branches, which I like, and we are working hard to make sure Matara is the best branch in SLRCS, said the general clerk. Each branch review was conducted over the course of three days. On day one, prior to meeting with the branch, the review team conducted confidential assessments with both Red Cross and non-Red Cross beneficiaries without the knowledge of the branch. The branch visit started on the second day with an orientation. At this time the team presented its scope of work and assured the branch that its brief was to conduct the review with confidentiality, transparency, accountability, without bias or preferential treatment. The team stressed that except for formal sharing at the end of the review process, monitoring results would not be disclosed. After the presentation, each branch was given the opportunity to share reasons, if any, for delays in reaching set targets. This was followed by individual interviews with a member of the branch committee, the BEO and accountant. Interviews were also conducted with volunteers and youth members.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Branch interview comments

A prepared questionnaire was used to conduct each interview. For example, in the case of the chairperson, the questionnaire aimed to determine if s/he understood the role and responsibilities of the position and covered issues such as good governance and government and management synergy.

During the appraisal, the team reviewed and verified various documents including: branch committee meeting minutes (to ensure participation and decision making by the entire branch committee and not just the chairperson); bank balances and statements (for financial accountability); and monthly progress reports. By checking the latter documents, the team aimed to corroborate if branch activities had been taking place and to ensure that the chairperson understood and adhered to the new branch structure and its programmes. It also served to check if SLRCS divisions and units were active and growing. The review committee provides an opportunity to show our progress, said the chairman of the Galle branch, his team prepared and fully ready to cooperate in the assessment process. The reality is that if we dont show change our branch may be dissolved or merged with another branch . Not all branches were as accommodating or as welcoming of the review team. According to the team leader, we have encountered sensitivities from BEOs and chairmen who either dont agree or are unhappy with some of the interview questions. Nevertheless, over the course of three months, the team carried out its brief to visit and appraise each and every Red Cross branch in Sri Lanka.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross Besides Red Cross branches, interviews were conducted with government agencies and other partners to measure cooperation and stakeholder satisfaction. Among the government representatives interviewed were district secretary, divisional secretary, disaster management coordinator (DMC), health officials, heads of educational and social services, and Grama Niladhari (GN). There was also a separate questionnaire for SLRCS beneficiaries aimed to assess community impact and beneficiary satisfaction. According to the divisional secretary in Galle, since tsunami related activities scaled down in early 2010, he has had limited interaction with the branch. Between December 2004 and February 2010, I had a good working experience with the Red Cross. In the early days there were misunderstandings that arose from miscommunication with both the Red Cross and other NGOs but these were rectified early on. Generally our discussions were open and transparent. Nevertheless he was aware of some recent branch initiatives and explained that, there is a big demand for education in our area, especially by middle-class families for English medium education. The set up of Victoria International School is a very positive move by the Red Cross in Galle. The vice-chairwoman of the village disaster management centre (VDMC) in Ahungalle GN division said they had strong links with the branch from September 2007, when the Red Cross helped establish the VDMC, right until early 2010. We have noticed a reduction in activities since then. A few months ago, the branch invited us to a meeting and shared that they were going through some sort of change, she said. The meeting, organised by the Galle branch, was one of a series held in the district to explain the 180-day programme to stakeholders.

Results of review
As each field review was completed, the team leader compiled a full set of documents for analysis by the review committee chairman. The review committee then prepared an evaluation and scoring report. Next, the review committee submitted the completed report to the president who contacted the branch for a formal hand over of the report. Branches identified with any urgent gaps for improvement were contacted straightaway with immediate, short-term or long-term recommendations for change. Those branches identified as needing to make immediate changes were required to present a plan of action, with implementation expected to take place within one month. At the end of the 180-day period, results of all 26 confidential branch reviews were presented in a final report to the president, CGB, DG, IFRC, ICRC and PNSs and will enable them to determine how best to support branches with implementation of the third and last phase of the re-engineering process. Specifically, the report will enable the DG to design a master plan for SLRCS with short, medium and long term interventions, for at least three to five years, with the support of IFRC, ICRC, and PNSs.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

fRoM the BRanCh PeRSPeCtive

Standardizing systems in Gampaha

According to the branch executive officer of Gampaha district, a lowland area in western Sri Lanka, the branch had no plans to increase its main activities under the 180-day initiative but instead wanted to focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ongoing programmes. For the branch, this entailed improving existing capacities, systems and processes including human resources, logistics, systems development, monitoring and sustainability. The ultimate goal, once the 180-day programme ends, is to ensure Gampaha branch has a standardised system in place, publicly recognised through ISO 9000 accreditation. Improved systems means the branch can aim for highly trained volunteers, which in the end will help with efficiency at the community level. By early 2011, the branch was well on its way to achieving its goals under the 180-day programme and had formulated human resources, equipment use, measurement, and systems and procedures development plans. For several years the branch has also run a high profile water safety programme, primarily in the densely populated divisions of Wattala and Negambo where a considerable number of water related accidents occur annually. High on the agenda of the branch during the 180-day period was to incorporate its water safety programme into the NHQ plan, hopeful that it would eventually feed into the Government of Sri Lankas community based disaster risk management (CBDRM) programme.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

New role for BEO

The BEO shared how polices developed under the re-engineering process have impacted on his role at the branch, we now have guidelines and policies that have empowered me as BEO and given me the recognition and authority I need to carry out our work. Still, there is need for more to change and for policies to be implemented. In a bid to strengthen his team, the BEO has passed the same system of recognition on to branch governance and volunteers. One example he shared was that between 2007 and 2010, Red Cross branch volunteers had saved 249 people from drowning in Wattala and Negombo. The retention rate of these highly trained volunteers, however, was low as most went on to better paid opportunities elsewhere. Under the 180-day programme the branch included a volunteer appreciation component to encourage these highly marketable volunteers to commit their skill and time to the Red Cross. Within months, this small step has had the effect of improving the numbers of volunteers that remain with the branch.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Financial independence for Galle

One legacy of the Asian tsunami for the Red Cross in Galle is a three-story building ideally located a few kilometres from the prominent seaport and fortified city. Initially the branch had ambitious plans to set up a hotel and restaurant on the premises and, as in the past, expected NHQ to provide financial backing. However, with the launch of the 180-day programme responsibility quickly shifted. As the branch chairman said, before the re-engineering process the attitude of the branch was to depend on NHQ for its future direction and funding. We quickly realised we needed to change our attitude if we were to survive and I believe we have .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

A profitable joint venture

The branch explored various business options that didnt require NHQ intervention. Within three-months a joint venture agreement was signed with the education institution The Victoria International College (TVIC) to set up a franchise in Galle. The partnership is on a profit sharing basis, with a 60 per cent share going to TVIC and the remaining 40 per cent to the Galle branch. Investment for the infrastructure was borne by the branch while the education and marketing aspects are handled by TVIC. Classes in the pre-school section began in January 2011. Plans are underway to open the primary school in 2012 with the secondary section proposed for 2013. According to the BEO, the branch is already thinking about expanding. In the future wed like to be able to purchase the adjacent land so we can build a badminton court and swimming pool for the college. This will increase our income and enable us to run bigger Red Cross programmes, he said.

Working with external donors

The RIMES (regional integrated, multi-hazard early warning system) project is another direct result of the branch taking the initiative to seek external donors to fund projects, in this case the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). With its focus on early warning systems for tsunamis, cyclones and other hazards in Asia and Africa, the five-year project between RIMES and the Galle branch will concentrate on five communities in flood prone areas. The chairman explained that, in the first six months RIMES and the branch will carry out assessments, with one coordinator, two field officers and one volunteer from each division; activities will be developed subsequently This is a collaborative project between the Red Cross and local govern. ment authorities in Galle including the meteorological, geological and agricultural departments. The DMC is set to come on board once the project begins later in 2011.

Appreciation of new process

With the branch quickly moving towards financial independence, it is important to note that change hasnt come without its challenges. Nonetheless the branch chairman champions most of the changes in SLRCS over the course of the past 18 months and believes the re-engineering process was particularly necessary to simplify and clarify the roles and responsibilities of management and governance. It also helped separate these roles at NHQ by empowering the DG and BEO. Im trying to be a good member of governance and appreciate the process and its systematic approach he said. , The newly introduced policies and guidelines have provided the branch with a methodical approach to its work. The various policies such as the financial manual, and whistleblower policy developed under the process are excellent, said the BEO. I only wish they had been available earlier so that the branch had guidelines by which to operate. In the past this was often a point of conflict with PNS because there were no clear policies, procedures and guidelines in place. It also makes it easier for a new or incoming BEO to understand the role.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Integrated programmes in Kurunegala

The Red Cross branch in the busy commercial and transport hub of Kurunegala focuses its work primarily in the areas of health and first aid, dissemination and humanitarian values, and youth development. Disaster management activities are limited. The 180-day programme has already started to bring about noticeable changes within the branch and some of its divisions. The Kurunegala branch chairman said that he thought, this is just the warming up phase of the 180-day programme. We shared the idea with our units and divisions. Not long after, Mawatagama and Pulpitigama divisions decided to start producing womens shoes [as an income generating activity]. Sales have already started, through village fairs, and so far are going well. We are also expecting to generate income by providing commercial first aid to government institutions and companies and from rental of the main hall of our branch building . The executive officer of the branch said that she thought that, the difference between the 180-day programme and what we were doing before is that previously we were working in an ad hoc way. Now we have developed a plan and set up targets and deadlines. As part of our plan, the branch intends to strengthen its five divisions and introduce income generation plans .

New approach leads to change

Significantly, the re-engineering process has promoted the use of an integrated approach for SLRCS programming that aims to make processes efficient and more effective. This conceptual change is a move from sectoral to multi-sectoral, multi-year plans. The integrated programme approach (IPA) at In Kurunegala branch has been implemented in two stages first by building the foundation and then though the mobilization of three divisions. The OD officer of the Kurunegala branch said she thought that, there are now visible changes in the IPA running at the three divisions supported by CRC. Establishment of units and divisions are strong and they are planning programmes together. In the past, each programme would plan separately with technical units at NHQ .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

She shared her recent experience with the Polpitigama, Mawathgama, and Ibbagamuwa divisions, which conducted a joint needs assessment in Poltigama. For the first time, new activities were planned together that included establishing medical camps, maternal and child health projects, upgrading wells in drought-affected areas, providing psychosocial support to women who work abroad (as domestic workers), and setting up a childrens library and club as well as youth circles. The efficient results of the assessment can be attributed to the ability of BEOs who now make decisions themselves, without having to go through the process of first getting approvals from each of the specialists at NHQ. There are obviously issues that need to be addressed to ensure this new approach works fully, but as the DG said, this process will take time as the various technical specialists need time to become proficient in areas outside their expertise .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Embracing a goal orientated approach

One of the main products of the sprawling coconut plantations found along the coast in the southern district of Matara is coir , a coarse fibrous yarn made from coconut husk. Extracting the fibre is a laborious process that requires soaking the husks in water-filled tanks for days, or up to several months. These water tanks provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Matara district has been identified as an area in the country with relatively high rates of filaria (a lymphatic disease commonly known as elephantiasis). Here, the Red Cross branch works closely with the health department to conduct regular awareness programmes on water-borne diseases such as dengue and, in coastal areas, filaria. Among its other core programmes, the branch focuses on providing disaster preparedness training and materials, strengthening divisional disaster response teams (DDRT), and raising awareness on the prevention of domestic violence. Additionally, the branch has ambitious plans to expand existing services to become the main blood donor recruitment agency and to provide first aid for all in the district.

Successful income generation activities

For these programmes to continue and grow the branch first needs to be self-sufficient and Matara Red Cross have made big strides in this regard. According to Bharata Jonikkuhewa, branch chairman since 2008, the most important aspect of the reengineering process was having specific targets and goals to achieve under the 180-day programme of branch self-sustainability . As a means of income generation, the branch invested 250,000 Sri Lankan rupees to set up a grocery shop (covering rental, equipment, and goods) in Weligama division. An agreement was made with the shopkeeper to pay 5,000 rupees monthly to the branch and 500 rupees per month to the division, with the shopkeeper keeping all additional income. The venture is already off to a good start. Business commenced in December 2010 and since then both the branch and division have been receiving their monthly revenue regularly. In March 2011, the branch started a smallscale sewing business manufacturing cloth bags to be used for first aid kits. Inspiration for the scheme came from 25 second-hand sewing machines that had been handed


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross over to the branch by beneficiaries of the tsunami who no longer had use for them. The plan is for these cloth bag kits to be sold house-to-house by Red Cross volunteers and at commercial first aid courses. The aim is to reach a monthly sales target of 100,000 rupees and eventually to expand business to other Red Cross branches across the country. Spurred on by the challenge of long-term targets and goals, the branch expanded into other project areas identified under its 2010 plan. The most successful of these has been the establishment of micro-finance groups in all ten Matara Red Cross divisions. T oversee the entire process, one o qualified micro-finance manager has been appointed at the branch and one at the community level. The project launched in January 2011 and the identification of vulnerable people to participate in the project is well under way at the Red Cross divisional units.

Adopting new policies and systems

The chairman believes that the introduction of new systems, policies and guidelines under the re-engineering process has provided room for all 26 Red Cross branches in Sri Lanka to function equally. We now have a clear policy for the separation of governance and management. Staff and volunteers have their own policies to adhere to and this makes it much easier to function smoothly, he said. While recognising the re-engineering process had many positives, he had issue with recommendations regarding staff retrenchments. Management didnt consider the capacity and resources of each of the branches before embarking on the retrenchment exercise, which led to difficulties for some branches as key staff were laid off. One casualty of the re-engineering staff cutbacks who continues to work at the branch agreed. The general clerk is an essential position in the branch he said. We handle everything from payroll and logistics to administrative functions. Fortunately for me, Matara branch had the financial , resources to re-employ me [after the job was officially terminated]. Not all branches were able to do so .


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

First aid in tea estates and tourist hotels

When the re-engineering process started in 2009, the Red Cross branch in the central hill district of Nuwara Eliya had already started to re-think its future and to plan towards self-sufficiency. According to the branch secretary, the branch explored opportunities to raise funds from its existing commercial first aid programme and within three months [of the start of the 180-day programme] our income more than tripled . Setting targets and giving incentives to first aid coordinators to seek out new business opportunities helped achieve this, he said. Encouraged by the 180-day programme, the branch appointed commercial first aid coordinators and started marketing its services to the hundreds of tea estates and tourist hotels in the district. Business soared. By March 2011, the branch was already generating sufficient income to cover all its administrative costs achieving its target of financial self-sustainability.

New approach boosts confidence

The most important aspect of the re-engineering process, according to the BEO, was that it gave them the impetus and confidence to move towards self-reliance. He explained that, the branch merely took a new approach to raising money in a traditional service and made it more profitable. We have become very successful at it. Now we only wonder why we didnt do this before . This new found independence means that Red Cross activities in tea plantations can continue as before with its focus on raising awareness on issues of alcohol and drugs, child abuse, hygiene (linked to building latrines and water sanitation), improving the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating mothers to boost mortality rates, and dengue related clean-up campaigns. Activities are now operated on minimal funds as the branch has streamlined its services to further reduce costs. Besides commercial first aid training, the Red Cross branch started collaborating with donor agencies, working on a climate change project with the United Nations and providing first aid training for 400 pre-schools teachers with the World Health Organisation. Under the latter project, the branch has also made and sold 400 first aid boxes.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Changing directions in Vavuniya

In May 2009, the 30-year conflict in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka was formally declared over and, just over one year later, resettlement of more than a quarter of a million people forced to flee the armed conflict started. With a team of experienced volunteers, the Red Cross branch in Vavuniya was granted access by the military to work in the resettlement areas. By November 2010, roughly 20,000 internally displaced people (IDP) remained in the government camp where SLRCS works. According to the branch chairman, the function of our branch has been affected by the re-engineering process because NHQ has not been functioning properly. Before the process started it was fine. Now it is slow ad no one wants to or is allowed to make decisions. Fund transfers have been delayed and this has affected our work. Most embarrassing is the 10-month delay in the implementation of a community-based health care project in one of the northern resettlement areas. We have no ownership of our projects now. There should be a trouble shooting mechanism to deal with urgent issues so that the Red Cross can continue its humanitarian work .

speakers. The branch has four divisions but only two are fully functional so we want to address this; we also aim to establish a fourth division in Vavuniya South, a predominantly Sinhala community. We are not independent as a branch so the 180-day programme is useful to help us develop ourselves. We will need financial and professional support in the beginning but after that, we can look after our branch on our own .

Tangible progress
By January 2011, the branch had made noticeable progress towards achieving its action plan under the180-day programme notably with the formation of the Vavuniya South division and 11 units. Moreover, with 93 per cent of its administrative costs covered through income generation activities at the branch and divisional levels, its long-term financial sustainability appears set. Membership recruitment had also successfully expanded to 80 per cent. Change is apparent in other aspects of the programme including implementation of good governance practices and the synergy maintained between governance and management. On a scale of 1-10, the branch now also rates its relationship with stakeholders at 8 and continues to make strides in nurturing relationships with other groups in the district.

Clear plan of action

As the IDP operation began to scale down, the branch started to develop and focus its resources on the 180-day programme. While continuing to run its regular activities that bring in a good source of income, the branch created new plans to expand income generation including a model farm project in Cheddikulum, on land provided by the government. The branch chairman explained, our aim is to increase our volunteer numbers by 50 per cent and to focus on professionals and Sinhala


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

Red Cross machinery organization (REDMO) was established during the tsunami-recovery period in order to make use of heavy equipment, primarily trucks and excavators, donated by the Korean Red Cross Society after field operations ended. The business was registered under Sri Lankan law as a limitedby-guarantee company with tax-free benefits. Initially SLRCS set aside some funds to operate the company, which functioned solely on hiring out its heavy equipment. While REDMO was established with much optimism, both SLRCS governance and management were unable to focus much attention or time on the venture due to the priorities of the tsunami operation. Before long, complicated management issues together with little experience of running a big business drove the company into debt. During this period, the re-engineering process at SLRCS was underway and through its connection to SLRCS, REDMO was also identified for change. Recognizing that raising funds in an efficient way was integral to the future of the national society, the president sought to convert REDMO into the official business arm of SLRCS.


New board, new beginning

As a result, REDMO underwent a restructure. With the approval of the CGB, a new board was established and the SLRCS national secretary appointed chairman. While REDMO belongs to SLRCS, and members of its board comprise members of the CGB, the company has a separate management team. The chairman of REDMO reports directly to the CGB. The main undertaking of the newly-established board was to streamline processes, systems and procedures, update audits, initiate the reallocation of staff tasks, oversee the recruitment of new staff, and ensure maintenance of proper accounts and bookkeeping. This was carried out after a thorough assessment of the business, by identifying company debts, appraising the condition of existing heavy equipment and consulting with legal advisors. Only then did the board start to discuss plans with its advisors and consultants to move the company forward into new ventures.

Growing business enterprise

Even as the president was encouraging district branches to raise funds for their administrative costs and other humanitarian services, he also charged REDMO to seek other avenues for raising funds to cover NHQ expenses. The new board focused on insurance, travel and tours, vehicle rental, hotel reservations, and conference management, all businesses previously operated by third parties for SLRCS for more than seven decades. T oday, the company continues to further develop its various enterprises. In addition to REDMO T ravel and T ours, REDMO Insurance, and REDMO Heavy Machinery, the new board resumed formalities to begin operations of a petrol station (a business proposed under the previous board that had come to a standstill) and has other ventures in the pipeline. REDMO has re-emerged as a result of the re-engineering process and aims to become a solid, viable, commercial funding arm of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society within the next three years.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

The re-engineering process at the SLRCS continues today. Plenty has been achieved in just over 18 months; some of it has gone well, some not so well. But a profound change has occurred, nonetheless. Governance and the management team clearly own the process and culture of change within the society, making the RPRC, CMC, and consultants involvement minimal and SLRCS involvement very high. Critical processes are ongoing and it is difficult to measure impact and make conclusions while procedures are still in transition. Even though the 180-day programme has ended, realistically many of the 36 recommendations that emerged from phase one and two may take SLRCS another three to five years to complete. Certainly some key recommendations including a clear delineation of roles between management and governance, the establishment of a new core structure and development of essential policies and guidelines, have been realised. Furthermore, REDMO had been restructured and expanded to generate more funds for the future financial sustainability of SLRCS. However, major challenges still lay ahead for the national society. Some of the new and amended policies, such as the whistle blower decent work for all beneficiary satisfaction, and transport policy, are embedded in the , , ongoing third (implementation) phase and branches, governance and management are expected to adhere and comply with these policies. As part of the process, an independent inquiry board, new finance commission, and independent mediator (to handle grievances against members of SLRCS governance including the president) will shortly be appointed. Clearly, there is a continued and strong need for monitoring and supervision of phase three of the re-engineering process. The president and CGB have an enormous task on their hands as does the DG and management, who must be given a free rein to organise the national society. There is a need for the DG and management team to develop a solid, long-term plan to support implementation of the third phase. This includes capacity building of branch governance, as well as staff at NHQ and branches, to enhance performance, and designing new projects and raising funds for the benefit of vulnerable people at the village level. One of the challenges for SLRCS is to remain true to the recommendations of the reengineering process, for instance in the separation of governance and management, and by maintaining accountability, integrity and transparency.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

So is the re-engineering process a success? According to the former IFRC head of core programmes in Sri Lanka, we did not believe that change at this stage could happen (particularly a separation of governance and management) but it has She believes that it is the Movements responsibil. ity to assist SLRCS sustain the change and deepen the impact of its work with vulnerable communities and there is a lot that can be learnt from the re-engineering process . The ICRC cooperation coordinator recognized that the achievements to date are very significant but they have taken place with the undertone of crisis and anxiety. He qualified the process as, leaning towards success, but its too early to see if it will end successfully Change is taking place . at SLRCS but the challenge is how the national society will manage under this new change, especially when a new crisis arises. There is no other choice for the SLRCS than for the re-engineering process to succeed. But it entails no one letting down their guard, he said. From the perspective of the CRC country coordinator, while the overall process has been quite positive with many lessons learnt, it has been difficult for Movement partners. He believes the impact of change will only be seen in 6 to 12 months from now and that meanwhile, there needs to be a transition period thats acceptable between partners and SLRCS with PNS taking the lead in the implementation of new projects . The SLRCS national secretary said he believes that, we are on the right track and 100 per cent happy with the process. By mid-2011 we will clearly know if [re-engineering] has worked. At programme level the changes will take time to happen. T angible results will not be immediately visible .

Learning from re-engineering


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

A team achievement
At times it was thought that the process was a near impossible undertaking, overly ambitious and with too much to achieve. With his far-sighted vision, the president relied on three forces (the branch network, the DG and his management team, and REDMO), to achieve his plan to re-engineer SLRCS, hopeful that it would also be the vision of his national society. Working hand-in-hand as one team, with dedication, commitment, and a sense of responsibility while adhering to the Movements seven principles and the presidents three forces has , enabled SLRCS to stay the course. Eventually this will lead the national society to achieve its dream of successfully re-engineering SLRCS. The SLRCS re-engineering process challenged traditional methods and policies of governance and management in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Ultimately, the reason for its accomplishments and the buy-in by the national society can be credited to the fact that it did so without challenging the core principles of the Red Cross.


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross

BEO CBDRM CFC CGB CMC CRC DG DM DRC DRR FYDP GN HR ICRC IDP IFRC IGP IPM NRC NHQ OD PASS (Asia) PNS RIMES RPRC RSPA SLRCS UN-ESCAP Branch executive officer Community based disaster risk management Chairman finance commission Central governing board Consultancy review committee Canadian Red Cross Director general Disaster management Danish Red Cross Disaster risk reduction Five-year development plan Grama Niladhari Human resources International Committee of the Red Cross Internally displaced people International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Income generating programme Institute of Personnel Management Netherlands Red Cross National headquarters Organisational development Productivity Alternatives for Sustainable Solutions (Asia) Partner national society Regional integrated, multi-hazard early warning system Re-engineering process review committee Rapid status and performance appraisal Sri Lanka Red Cross Society UN-Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross


Jagath Abeysinghe, Hon President SLRCS Bharatha Jonikkuhewa, Hon VP 1 SLRCS

Name of the Committee Members Governance

annexe 1

Sunil Dissanayake, Hon VP 2 SLRCS Nimal Kumar, Hon NS SLRCS Prasanna Dassanayake, CFC Neville Nanayakkara, former DG Tissa Abeywickrama, acting / current DG Gamini Pinnalawatte, Advisor to the President of SLRCS Samantha S. Pathirathna, PASS Asia Chief Consultant

Management Other


Organization IFRC ICRC Name of the Committee Members
Former Head of delegation - Paul Emes Head of Delegation Bob Mckerrow Head of Delegation Yves Giovannoni Cooperation Coordinator - Hachim Badji Former Head of Delegation - Paul Castella Alain Dondainaz, Country Coordinator CRC Bob Vandenberg, OD Delegate CRC


Andreas Lindner, Country Coordinator GRC Olav Aasland, Country Representative NRC John Entwistle, former Country Coordinator DRC Gamini Pinnalawatte, Advisor to the President of SLRCS Samantha S. Pathirathna, Chief Consultant


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross


Sri Lanka Red Cross Society - Core Structure and Core Positions (Based on the Recommendations of Institute of Personnel Management Inc, May 2010) Approved by Central Governing Board, 03rd June 2010
Director Genaral / CEO HoGSU / IAU
Executive Secratary for DG & DDG

annexe 2


BEO (26)

Head of Operations
Integrated Functions

Head of Service

Finance Controller

Resource Mobilization Expert

OD Specialist

DM Specialist

Health Specialist

P V & Comm. , Specialist

Manager IT

Manager HR & Admin.

ManagerT ransport, Logistics & Security Affairs

Accountant - 2

Manager Finance

Branch Project Staff

Accountant / Assistant Accountant

Youth Officer

First Aid Coordinator

Media Officer

Admin. & HR Officer

Warehouse Officer


Other Staff

Management Assistant

Media Coordinator

Customer Relations Assistant

Admin., HR, Logistics & Security Affairs Assistants - 2

Warehouse Assistant

Office Assistant

Office Assistant

Drivers 9

Office Assistant


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross


Reengineering the Sri Lanka Red Cross