Charities Regulatory Authority to be established by Easter

Minister Alan Shatter has announced emergency plans to establish the Charities Regulatory Authority. The decision was made in the wake of the recent controversies and mounting public criticism surrounding the Central Remedial Clinic.

The Minister confirmed that funding for the new regulator has been approved with the Board recruitment process set to begin next week. It is envisaged that the regulator will be up and running by Easter.

In a statement, the Justice Minister said: “The recent revelations about certain organisations in the charitable sector have understandably damaged public trust and confidence. The commencement of the key measures in the Charities Act will provide the increased transparency and accountability that will allow this trust to be rebuilt.”

The Department has issued a call for expressions of interest from suitably qualified people to join the new Board. Arrangements are also being made for the appointment of an interim CEO by the end of February.

Click here for a full transcript of the speech delivered by Minister Shatter on the 21st of January 2014.
 
 

KEY ASPECTS OF THE CHARITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY

 

Register of Charities

The Regulator will be responsible for maintaining a register of all charitable organisations operating in Ireland. The information maintained on this register will be publicly available as a means of boosting transparency and by extension, public trust of the sector.

  • Charities in receipt of charitable tax exemption from the Revenue Commissioners will be automatically registered with the Regulator once it is established.
  • All other charitable organisations must register within six months of the establishment of the Regulator.
  • Under the new legislation, all charities will be required to state that they are registered with the Regulator on their public literature. This would include letters, reports, publications etc.

Reporting

Annual Activity Report
In line with the new reporting standards outlined in the Charities Act, all charities will be required to submit an Annual Activity Report to the Regulator. The format of the document was discussed during the public consultation period earlier this year but is yet to be finalised. For a synopsis of responses from the organisations and individuals that took part in the consultation click here. It is envisaged that the Annual Activity Report will be akin to the document required by either the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Financial Accounts
Company Law states that charities that are registered as companies are required to submit annual accounts to the Companies Registration Office (CRO). Under the regulatory framework, the CRO will submit these annual accounts to the Regulator.

A different set of requirements will apply to charities that are not registered as companies.

  • Unincorporated charities will be required to submit an Annual Statement of Accounts to the Regulator.
  • Where the gross income or expenditure of a charitable organisation in a financial year does not exceed €100,000, the charity may prepare an income and expenditure account and a statement of the assets and liabilities of the charitable organisation.
  • Charities that are not companies which receive less than €10,000 in a financial year will be exempt from filing annual accounts. These bodies are still required to submit their Annual Activity Report.

Trustees

The Charities Act defines ‘Charity Trustees’ as those persons having day-to-day control of a charitable organisation.

  • Under the new legislation, all charities will be obliged to inform the Regulator of the identities of all its trustees. For companies limited by guarantee this refers to its Directors, but there are also different types of trustee which are included under this provision.
  • For example, members of ‘management committees’ or core groups’ will be deemed trustees under the new legislation.

 
 
The Charities Act 2009 outlines the following functions for the Charities Regulatory Authority:

  • increase public trust and confidence in the management and administration of charitable trusts and charitable organisations;
  • promote compliance by charity trustees with their duties in the control and management of charitable trusts and charitable organisations;
  • promote the effective use of the property of charitable trusts or charitable organisations;
  • ensure the accountability of charitable organisations to donors and beneficiaries of charitable gifts, and the public;
  • promote understanding of the requirement that charitable purposes confer a public benefit;
  • establish and maintain a register of charitable organisations;
  • ensure and monitor compliance by charitable organisations with this Act;
  • carry out investigations in accordance with this Act;
  • encourage and facilitate the better administration and management of charitable organisations by the provision of information or advice, including in particular by way of issuing (or, as it considers appropriate, approving) guidelines, codes of conduct, and model constitutional documents;
  • carry on such activities or publish such information (including statistical information) concerning charitable organisations and trusts as it considers appropriate;
  • provide information (including statistical information) or advice, or make proposals, to the Minister on matters relating to the functions of the Authority.

Department of Justice and Equality

 
 
To view the entire Charities Act 2009 which details the full remit of the new Charities Regulatory Authority, click here.

NI Regulator removes five crew members from lifeboat charity

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has removed five crew members from the charity Lough Neagh Rescue.

The removals were made following a statutory investigation by the regulator in May of last year. The five crew members were removed from their posts in October.

It is not the first time the charity has come under scrutiny from the NI Charity Commission. In August of last year the regulator removed a trustee from the Board because of concerns over the charity’s ‘historic administration and governance.’

The five crew members who are volunteers, have lodged an appeal with the charity tribunal in Northern Ireland.

Source: Third Sector

Don’t miss our Board Member Induction Training Day January 23rd 2014

‘Everything you need to know to become a board member, but were too afraid to ask’

This training day provides a comprehensive overview of the role and responsibilities of not-for-profit board members and is tailored towards prospective, new and existing board members looking to strengthen their role on the Board. With the impending establishment of the Charity Authority and its impact on the sector, this course is a must for all not-for-profit voluntary directors.

 

Cost: 120 Euro p/p

Location: Davy Offices, 49 Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Time: 9.30am to 4pm

 
The full-day training is led by Boardmatch CEO Chris White. Chris has extensive experience in the provision of good governance training and has worked nationwide to provide good governance support to not-for-profit organisations.

Main topics will include:

  • Role, expectations and liabilities of voluntary Directors
  • Governance and management
  • Information needed by voluntary Directors
  • Board recruitment & stakeholder management
  • Relationships with your Chief Executive and Chair

For further information, or to book a place, please contact Eva Gurn at eva@boardmatchireland.ie or call the office on 01-671 5005.

New Charity 100 Index Reveals Ireland’s Top Earning Charities

New Charity 100 Index Reveals Ireland’s Top Earning Charities

Boardmatch Ireland’s new Charity 100 Index reveals Ireland’s top 100 highest earning charities over a three year period.

The Index which is based on annual turnover also tracks changes in income of the 100 charities over a three year period. From 2009-2011, the charity sector saw an overall decrease in income of 8.8% or €265 million. The Index offers an unprecedented insight into the financial health and variances of the Irish charity sector.
 
Key findings from the Index:

• From 2009 to 2011 there has been an 8.8% decrease in the gross income of the top 100 Charities. This translates to a reduction from €3.05 billion in 2009 to €2.78 billion in 2011.

• The top 10 charities in the Index are dominated by hospitals. Four of the top ten are voluntary hospitals grant aided by the HSE.

• St Vincent’s Health Care is the highest earning charity in Ireland with a gross income of €363 million for 2011.

• Overseas development NGO Bóthar was the biggest faller, dropping 22 places on the Index since 2009. It has seen an overall decline of 26% in its income of since 2009.

• The biggest climber has been the UCD Foundation which has seen its annual income increase by 204% since 2009. It has moved from 150th Place in 2009 to 47th in 2011.

• Health is the biggest sub-sector represented in the Index with 11 voluntary hospitals and 4 hospices making it into the top 100. The overall turnover of the 11 voluntary hospitals has declined 8% since 2009 to €1.2 billion in 2011.

• Overseas aid is the second biggest sub-sector represented on the index. It has seen an overall increase of 10.4% in its combined income since 2009. In 2011, the combined income of the overseas aid charities in the Index was €270 million.

• Trusts, Unincorporated bodies and Co-ops are exempt from the list as they are not required to file annual returns to the Companies Registration Office. This excludes some prominent charities such as Trócaire which is a Trust and The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul which is Unincorporated.

• The income declared in Trócaire’s annual report would place them 9th on the index if they returned accounts. The income declared in the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul’s annual report would place them 8th on the Index.

Charity Commission to scrutinise charities with pension deficits

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is to investigate charities with pension deficits as part of its pledge to take a ‘tougher stance’ on non-compliance issues.

In its annual report on investigations and compliance work, Tackling abuse and mismanagement the Commission said that it was increasing the number of charities accounts that it would review to over 6 per cent of the Register.

The Commission has faced criticism from MPs for not making full use of its powers to regulate the charity sector.

CEO of the Charity Commission said; “By taking a tougher approach to non-compliance in charities and using our powers more frequently in cases which are the most serious, we can protect charity funds at risk and ensure we are better able to identify and deal with individuals who negligently or deliberately abuse charities, making them accountable to the regulator and in turn the public for their wrongdoing.”

Source: civilsociety.co.uk

Merry Christmas from the Boardmatch office!

Boardmatch would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2013 has been a record year for Boardmatch in terms of matches made, a success which would not have been possible without the input of all the candidates and organisations registered with us. We would like to extend a huge thanks to all who have engaged with the website and wish them every success with their new placements/Board members.

With your valuable input, we look forward to further strengthening governance in the sector in 2014.