STATEMENT: The Wheel welcomes breakthrough on Charities Regulator

The Wheel, a network representing 930 Irish charities, has described as a “breakthrough” the announcement by the Department of Justice that a CEO and staff will be appointed to Ireland’s Charities Regulatory Authority by the end of February. The announcement marks the beginning of the process to formally establish the Charity Regulator and is an important milestone on the journey ahead to comprehensive regulation for the sector

Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel said: “We would like to congratulate Minister Shatter on making good on his commitment to bring the Charity Regulator into operation in  2014. This development will enable the charity sector to move forward in our attempts to restore public trust and confidence in our work.” said Ms Garvey.

The Wheel this morning called on Minister Shatter to publish a timeline and implementation plan to establish the Charity Regulator after a survey it conducted earlier this week revealed that more than 97% of Irish Charities believe that the CRC scandal has seriously damaged public trust and confidence in their work and about half (53%) said that the negative publicity in the wake of the CRC scandal has had an adverse impact on their fundraising.

The Department of Justice confirmed this afternoon that Minister Shatter intends to seek expressions of interest for membership of the Authority shortly and that sanction has been received for the appointment of the CEO and other staff from within existing Civil Service resources.  The Department announced that it intends to hold an internal competitive process with a view to making appointments by the end of February.  

Ms Garvey added: “Ireland’s charities have been calling for statutory regulation for over fifteen years, and were dismayed when implementation of the Charities Act, enacted in 2009, was delayed because of the economic crisis. Since then the Charity sector has been working hard to address some of the gaps that the delay in establishing the regulator has caused: developing and promoting a Governance Code for the Sector; encouraging charities to apply the Guiding Principles for Fundraising and the Statement of Recommended Practice for Financial Reporting by Charities (SORP).  But no amount of voluntary effort on the part of the charity sector itself can make up for the absence of an independent  regulator,” she added.

Ms Garvey said that The Wheel looks forward to working with the CEO, and the Board when appointed, to ensure that the work of Ireland’s charities is underpinned and supported with the comprehensive regulatory framework necessary to maintain public trust and confidence, and enable Ireland’s Charities to thrive.