State and Non-Profits- “Encourage engagement not just reporting”
Nicolas Marcoux, IPA specialist who has carried out research in the sector, gave an overview of the non-profit sector itself and the current regulatory system in place. Nicolas spoke of the issues existing between charities and the public sector. He recommended that the governance arrangements set in place by the public sector should remain adaptable to the many different types of organisations. Where there were multiple reporting requirements whether local, national or international, the reporting standards should be consistent.
Stephanie Manahan, CEO of the Central Remedial Clinic, spoke of the past governance failings at the organisation and what led to a public controversy in 2013. Since then, as the new CEO, she believed a priority was to establish effective relations with stakeholders. The connexion between the HSE and CRC was of particular importance. She stressed that charities and the organisations that oversee them must work together as a team and establish trust in order to deliver services as effectively as possible.
Senan Turnbull is a Board director and a member of the Charities Regulator Authority. All his remarks were in a personal capacity. The regulation of non-profits focussed excessively on audit. There was insufficient focus on the culture and values in the non-profit sector. He echoed Nicolas’ presentation by outlining the difficulty in regulating such different types of organisations and to ensure governance arrangements are proportionate to the organisations. He highlighted the need to register and monitor charities and to assess them not only on financial measurements but also on their performance. This would require increasing the skills and capacity of funding Departments and agencies.
We were constrained on time to discuss a number of issues raised. The briefing and subsequent communications raised a number of topics which we intend to develop further in our Forum work programme and commentaries on the non-profit sector. There include
- The identification and management of stakeholder relationships
- Risk awareness at Board level and in particular to reputation
- The composition, skills and experience of Boards
- The inconsistencies and at times unduly onerous level of reporting requirements
- The difficulties for public servants in challenging suspected poor performing but ‘well connected’ non-profits
The Forum team would be delighted to hear of further topics to be included in the programme.
To access to the presentations, please click on the links below: