Snapshot of The Wheel's Progress this Year

Deirdre Garvey - CEO of The Wheel

A Update on Recent Progress from Deidre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel

As we approach the mid-year point, I would like to update you on some of our recent successes from the ongoing policy work that we undertake on behalf of our members and the wider sector.  

Below you will find a snapshot of some of The Wheel’s most significant achievements over the past few months.

1. Representing the sector to Government and Policy-makers

We secured important commitments on behalf of community, voluntary and charitable organisations in the new Programme for Government, including the following:

‘We will increase funding to support the sector and develop a funding model that focuses on quality, effectiveness and efficiency.’

‘We will produce a coherent policy framework and develop a strategy to support the community and voluntary sector and encourage a cooperative approach between public bodies and the community and voluntary sector.’

2. Minister for the Community & Voluntary Sector

While we were disappointed to see the dropping of ‘Community’ from the name (and we must assume, priorities) of the new Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, I am nevertheless happy to report that following our intensive lobbying efforts on behalf of our members and the sector, we have ensured there is a Minister of State for Communities and National Drugs Strategy (Catherine Byrne TD).

3. Increasing the sector's credibility and restoring public trust and confidence

The Wheel is now the media's preferred source of information on developments affecting charities. We have established a rapid-response communications team to, where appropriate, rebut inaccurate or ill-informed media coverage that may have a negative impact on the public’s view of our sector.

4. Changes in funding from grants to commissioning models

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s consultation on commissioning human, social and community services is another major issue for the sector. We have been campaigning to ensure that the commissioning process that emerges is one that has societal value at its core.  In this context, we are very pleased that the new Programme for Government also commits to ensuring ‘… that all commissioning for human, social and community services takes place in a societal value framework (targeted at maximizing the value for society)’.

5. A strong voice for the sector


We welcomed the new CEO of the Charity Regulator, John Farrelly, to his first official engagement at our Annual Conference on 25 May. Following a number of meetings since then, and building on our strong track record with the Charities Regulatory Authority over the last two years, we have established a positive working relationship with the Regulator’s office. 

6. Social Clauses in Procurement

The Wheel successfully influenced the transposition of the European Procurement Directives into Irish law. In their commencement last month, the full range of flexibilities appear to have been brought into Irish procurement law. This means that there is no legal prohibiting factor that might prevent ‘social clauses’ being established in Ireland as the norm when officials are choosing the most appropriate mode to fund the work and functions carried out by community and voluntary organisations.

7. An expanded regional membership programme

As a result of our success in securing the contract to roll out the National Rural Network in Ireland (as part of a consortium with Irish Rural Link, NUI Galway and Philip Farrelly Ltd), we have been able to commence work on a new regional member-support programme. Our ambition for the latter half of this year is to commence the establishment of a new network of ‘regional-champions’ across the country which will mean an enhanced-member engagement with our representation and lobbying work in particular, in addition to more local access to our training and advice supports.

If you would like to become more active in our work to represent our members and the sector to key stakeholders, or if you have questions or would like further information on our advocacy and public policy work, please contact either The Wheel’s Director of Public Policy, Ivan Cooper at ivan@wheel.ie or myself: deirdre@wheel.ie.

Deirdre Garvey
CEO of The Wheel