Three Priorities This Month To keep you in the loop about the work we do on your behalf, here’s a brief update about three priorities on The Wheel’s radar this month.
For anyone interested in the community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, here’s an update about three priorities on The Wheel’s radar this month. As the new CEO of The Wheel, I’ll be producing a similar short update for members on a monthly basis - and I'll post most of it here to keep colleagues updated.
1. Pay Parity Campaign
We recently published (in a partnership with TASC) an urgent report on the recruitment and retention crisis in the community and voluntary sector. It identified a pay gap of up to 15% between CV staff and people doing identical jobs in public-sector bodies. This is leading to huge issues in recruiting new staff and replacing staff who leave, and some organisations are having to reduce or close services as a result. The report calls on Government to increase funding to community and voluntary organisations by 10% to close this gap – and to put funding for services on a sustainable, multi-annual footing, and re-link salaries in the sector with public service pay scales.
If you attended the panel on sustainable public services at the The Wheel's Summit last month, you’ll know that this isn’t a new issue, but it is approaching a critical juncture. People who depend on these services simply cannot access them, and the situation is getting worse. Working with other organisations and umbrella bodies in the sector, we have been actively campaigning to resolve the situation and will continue to do so in the lead-up to this year’s Budget.
If you’d like to read more about the issue, I recommend taking a look at some of the media coverage from the report’s launch:
2. Budget 2024
On the subject of the Budget, pay parity isn’t the only issue on the cards.
This year, first and foremost, we are calling on Government to recognise and implement our members' recommendations as part of the Budget process. Many charities will make submissions in their own areas of expertise. These are ultimately central to furthering the work of the sector, reducing the burden on services where possible, and building a just and fair society for all.
In conjunction with this, we will also be making recommendations for creating a thriving CV sector in Ireland. A complete list of these will be available after the launch of our pre-budget submission, and they range from mainstreaming multi-annual funding to increasing the VAT compensation scheme to actively supporting social enterprise. They have been developed in close consultation with the sector, and we look forward to sharing the full submission soon.
In the meantime, we are asking community and voluntary organisations and charities to consider including a short section on the VAT compensation scheme in their own pre-budget submissions, if applicable. I have included some sample text below for use, that can be edited as needed. It would also make a significant impact if submission-makers could indicate on the record the amount of VAT paid and the amount of rebate received under the scheme.
Many charities engage in fundraising initiatives to support and expand service delivery. This activity involves the public directly in supporting services for often-vulnerable groups. It also delivers additionality to supports provided from the Exchequer to the sector.
The VAT fund, however, has remained capped at €5m and has been very substantially oversubscribed, with claims between €30m and €40m each year since its introduction. As a result, rebates made on a pro-rata basis resulted in charities receiving only approximately €1 for every €6 to €8 claimed.
Denmark, with a similar population size and charity structure to Ireland, operates a scheme rebating €20m annually.
The VAT Compensation Scheme should be retained and the fund be increased to €20m annually, to deliver an approximate 50% rebate on the overall claims from the sector.
3. Gender Pay Gap Report
Earlier this month we published (in a partnership with the Community Foundation for Ireland) the 2023 edition of “The Gender Pay Gap in Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations. According to the report, the mean gender pay-gap for managers in the nonprofit sector is currently 5.69%. While there is still substantial work to be done, this is a notable decrease from previous years (it was 16.7% in 2017 and 15.2% in 2019).
New Member Highlight
Before I sign off, I want to highlight a few new members of The Wheel. Our community keeps growing (there are 2,277 of us as of last month), and we’re constantly in awe of the work that it does. Recently, we were delighted to welcome, among others:
A social enterprise building a nationwide solidarity-through-song movement.
The stillbirth and neonatal death association of Ireland.
Promoting and developing Irish language, music, culture, and heritage.
I welcome any questions or comments you have on the above — please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.