31 May 2012

External controls

Illustration for article: External controls
Transparency is one of the core values of AFM-Téléthon. It was the first association to adopt a voluntary certification procedure and, today, is one of the most closely controlled associations in France.

Bureau Veritas Certification


Certification of the services provided by organisations which call on public generosity guarantees donors that their donations are properly used. The French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM-Téléthon) is the first association to have obtained this certification.

A guarantee of transparency

Issued on the basis of an audit by a certification office independent of the charity sector, certification of services provided by organisations calling on public generosity aims to guarantee to donors that the associations they support are using their donations in a manner which complies with their declared objectives. AFM-Téléthon was involved in originating this label, with the Armée du salut (Salvation Army), the Association pour la recherche sur le cancer (Association for cancer research), Associations Familiales protestantes (Protestant family associations), the Oeuvres hospitalières françaises de l'ordre de Malte (French hospital charities run by the Order of Malta). It was also the first to have received it, in 2001.

A baseline of commitments

This certification means that it complies with a baseline of criteria attesting to its good governance. AFM-Téléthon uses its resources to act in accordance with the missions it has defined. These missions are known to its donors.
Its operation is guaranteed by the definition of responsibilities and practices (its statutes state its missions, include at least one annual general meeting, the responsibilities of its managers and the terms of their renewal are clearly defined, etc.).
Donors' rights are defined and respected and the information provided for them is sincere (the association meets their requests, implements procedures to deal with advocacy issues, draws up an annual provisional budget, publishes an annual account of the use of resources, etc.).
AFM-Téléthon provides Bureau Veritas with transparent, coherent information (it publishes an annual business report, informs donors about available funds which are waiting to be allocated and on the most significant payments, etc.).
An annual audit
Certification is valid for three years. In the meantime, AFM-Téléthon carries out its own internal controls to make sure the baseline is respected and Bureau Veritas subjects it to an annual follow-up audit. The latest follow-up audit took place in 2010. In 2011, the certification must be renewed.

French Public Audit Office

The Audit Office has audited AFM-Téléthon twice. Its latest report, published in July 2004 concerning the years 1994-2001, emphasised "that the use of funds collected from the public by AFM-Téléthon is generally in conformance with the subject of the appeal to public generosity". These two reports and the association's replies are available on the Cour des comptes website. Furthermore, in accordance with the law, an auditor appointed for six years by the Board of Directors (KMPG since 2004) audits and certifies the association's accounts every year. Lastly, AFM-Téléthon is naturally subject to the standard State inspections: URSSAF (French social security contributions collection office), French tax office, etc.