The 100th Organisation to become compliant with the Governance Code

Their Governance Journey.

SharingPoint is a small charity with two full time staff and a team of part-time/sessional facilitators operating on the north side of Dublin city. It provides group counselling services to adults directly or indirectly affected by addiction. It was founded in 2002 and has a Board made up of individuals with a broad range of professional and commercial experience.

It started to look at its overall processes and policies in 2010. The Board was anxious to ensure that the organisation was in a good position and governed well. Based on seminars attended representatives could see that governance was becoming more and more important. The Board became committed to doing the right thing. They appointed a member to drive the compliance process and Governance became an item on all Board meetings from then onwards.

The need for transparency became more apparent following the publicity regarding governance failures in two charities. While compliance was not yet mandatory, the Board believed that becoming more transparent should be a distinguishing feature for SharingPoint. The imminent appointment (now in place) of the Charity Regulator meant that better governance would be a requirement.

Stages ‘on the Compliance journey’

  • The first process which SharingPoint undertook was the QUADS Organisational Standard (Quality in Alcohol and Drugs Services) promoted by the HSE. During 2010 documentation was reviewed and Board formally signed onto QUADs in October 2010. Throughout 2011 and early 2012, over 70 policies were documented/prepared covering Management and Governance, Human Resources, Service Provision and Operations and Client Related Policies. All policies were reviewed and updated again in 2014 as a formal part of the Governance Code process.
  • Work was then undertaken in 2011 to prepare SharingPoint to comply with Fundraising Principles as outlined in ICTR documentation. Following the adverse publicity surrounding some charities all documentation was reviewed and updated, and the Board formally signed off on the various Fundraising Principles in May 2014.
  • SharingPoint’s CEO and Secretary attended a Boardmatch seminar in June 2013 and noted a few key recommendations from the seminar in relation to Board responsibilities and length of tenure. These were presented to the Board and the Memo and Articles of Association were reviewed and updated to take account of the length of tenure and were signed off at the AGM in June 2014. As a result of this significant changes were made to the Board membership and procedures.
  • Following attendance at a Wheel seminar in September 2013, the Governance Code was presented to the Board as a code of practice which was created for the sector by the sector. Thereafter, it was a formal item on the Agenda of each Board meeting and an action plan to achieve compliance was prepared and implemented. The work was eventually completed and formally signed in November 2014.
  • SharingPoint were deemed to be fully compliant (as a Type B organisation) in January 2015.

Some useful supports for ‘the journey’

In working its way through the process help was available in the form of templates and pro-forma documents from organisations such as the Wheel, Governance Code and ICTR. The Carmichael Centre’s support and documentation were deemed to be particularly helpful. The Board strongly recommends that all charities sign up to the various codes.

Finbarr Fay, Secretary of the SharingPoint Board and the person who led the process to the adoption of the Governance Code says: ‘We didn’t have the wherewithal to do the above on our own and initially it could have seemed overwhelming. However, we were very open to assistance and the Governance checklists (the same applied to QUADs and ICTR Fundraising Principles) and templates were excellent’.

Finbarr believes ‘that the process has ensured that they now have independent verification that we have good governance in place’. The templates available proved invaluable on the journey towards compliance. He would ‘..seriously recommend that other charities embrace the Governance Code’.

SharingPoint’s CEO Padraig Langan is convinced ‘that it is vital that Charitable Organisations can benchmark themselves against best practice, particularly in the current climate, in the area of governance. We are very appreciative of the guidance that the checklist provided to us in this regard’.

SharingPoint Chairperson, Peter Fitzgerald is very clearly of the opinion that ‘the role that the Governance Code plays for charitable organisations of our size is invaluable’. He stated further that: ‘..understanding the requirements and subsequent steps to be taken to becoming compliant was made considerably more straight forward through the use of the checklist’.

Written on 20 May, 2015

Back to News.

Share this article