The Wheel calls meeting to discuss funding crisis

The Wheel called a meeting of leading charities on Wednesday morning to discuss threats to funding for the sector coupled with the impact of increasing regulatory and funding-related compliance requirements, in particular for charities engaged in state contracts. The CEOs of sixteen leading charities attended the meeting in Dublin.

The group met to voice concerns over an increase in costs associated with the delivery of state contracts, which threatens the work of many charities. On Tuesday, the Rehab Group informed the HSE of its intention to terminate RehabCare’s contracts unless additional funding of €2 million per annum is urgently provided to address substantial deficits in the services it delivers to more than 3,000 vulnerable adults and children with physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities, in communities across the country. The charity says without more funding, it is not financially viable.

Speaking at the meeting, Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel stressed that “many organisations in receipt of state funding, not solely from the HSE, are feeling pushed to breaking point by an  increase in costs associated with regulatory and funding-related compliance, which results in an inevitable increase in staffing costs that have not been factored in by statutory funding bodies such as the HSE. Due to duplication in reporting requirements, many organisations in the nonprofit sector are struggling under an administrative load which diverts attention and scarce resources away from the people they are seeking to help, support and advocate for.

“The sector is struggling to retain staff who are highly trained, deliver essential services and deserve to be paid in line with their peers who are employed by the HSE. These staff are at the frontline of delivering services and support for those not adequately provided for by the Government and need to be paid a living wage and afforded the respect which their work deserves,” said Ms Garvey.

The Wheel is calling for the streamlining of reporting requirements, in order to reduce the staffing hours spent in form filing and to equip the sector with a more efficient framework to support full compliance and foster the best possible outcomes in service provision and advocacy.

The Wheel is also calling on the Government to reconsider their current approach to funding by offering multi-annual funding, that factors in the growing costs of insurance, inflation rates and all other day-to-day costs organisations face. This would allow organisations to plan strategically in the best interests of those they support while factoring in the real cost of the gold standard of compliance which the sector is keen to continue to uphold. “Without significant changes in the Government’s approach toward the charity, community and voluntary and social enterprise sector, we risk reduction, or even eradication, of invaluable services across every community in Ireland,” said Ms Garvey.