A feedback mechanism is a set of procedures and tools formally established and used to allow humanitarian aid recipients (and in some cases other crisis-affected populations) to provide information on their experience of a humanitarian agency or of the wider humanitarian system.
ALNAP and CDA's research suggests that they are seen as effective if, at minimum, they support the collection, acknowledgement, analysis and response to the feedback received, thus forming a closed feedback loop. Where the feedback loop is left open, the mechanism is not fully effective.
Complete feedback loops can help close the gaps between accountability rhetoric and practice. Currently, however, there is a need for evidence on what works, and doesn't in different contexts.
ALNAP's joint research project with CDA on feedback mechanisms took place in 2013 and 2014 and consists of a study, a guidance document, three case studies and a literature review.