2014 has been a year of steady growth for the Governance Code. By year end, 99 organisations had been verified as being fully compliant with the Code.
The Working Group has recorded some 550 groups to be on the adoption journey and presentations on the Code were made to 600 people at 22 information workshops during the year. The Code has been recognised by the Irish Sports Council, the HSE and Pobal.
All of this had been achieved through voluntary effort alone. With a welcome increase in demand for information and support during the year the Working Group decided to seek funds through which to employ and Information Officer to further drive the Codes profile, to respond to more requests for information sessions and contacts to our email, liaise with funding and policy bodies and national voluntary networks.
The Working Group is very pleased that Pobal have agreed to fund the work of the Code through the employment of a part-time information officer from January 2015 for one year . The work programme includes the organisation of information workshops, supporting groups on the journey towards compliance, training workshops, developing databases and broadly promoting the Code
Irish Sports Council and HSE
The Irish Sports Council and HSE’s recognition of the Code during 2014 is a major boost to the Codes standing and we will work in partnership with these state agencies to assist their funding recipients to achieve compliance. We will continue to work with other funding and professional bodies to bring the potential of the Code to the attention of the widest number of groups across the country.
Charities Regulatory Authority
2014 began with extensive public spotlight on a number of charities and their governance issues. While we would not have wished these controversies to have arisen they have had the positive outcome of stimulating the Government into finding some resources to bring the Charities Regulatory Authority, legislated for in 2009, into being. The Code Working Group had always called for the CRA to be created and fully resourced to oversee the Charities sector. We hope to develop a close and mutually supportive working relationship with the CRA given our common interests. Whatever progress on enhancing governance the Authority makes with the approximately 9,000 registered charities there will still be a need to have a governance standard which the tens of thousands of non-charity not-for -profit organisations aspire to.
During 2014 Working Group representatives spoke at 22 information workshops all of which were organised locally by groups interested in promoting the Code. We would like to sincerely thank those individuals and organisations who took on the task of promoting and hosting information sessions for enabling us to engage with so many groups in Connemara, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Tipperary, Wexford and WIckow. We really appreciate the initiative they took to in inviting us to present the Code. We are always interested in making presentations to local or national networks.
To add further to our capacity to make presentations and support groups on the journey we have entered into an agreement with one of the Working Groups members, Volunteer Ireland, to train staff in local Volunteer Centres. This will be enable Centres to represent the Working Group at local information sessions and to create support networks for local organisations on the journey. This process will be rolled-out on a phased basis during 2015.
Reviewing the Code
When the Code was being drafted prior to its launch in 2012 it was agreed that there would be a review of its content and processes in 2015 to learn from the first implementation phase, and make whatever changes might improve the Code and organisations use of it. The Terms of Reference for the Review have been agreed by the Working Group together with the three additional original members of the drafting Group. Information on the Review ’15 will be posted on our website.
We would very much appreciate it if those who have engaged with the Code over the past 30 months would send us feedback on their experience especially with suggestions where the process and content could be improved so that Version ’15 can be the most fit-for –purpose possible.