Recent Lobbying Work
We compile a monthly update for our board of directors on how we have implemented the organisation’s strategy the previous month.
We’d like to share this information openly with our members, the sector and the public. In this section below you can see the representation / lobbying activities that we delivered upon for our members and in our role as the leading voice and champion for charities, community & voluntary organisations and social enterprises.
See also: Press Releases
- We held well-attended member network events on Tusla’s new commissioning processes and the issue of rising insurance costs for the sector. Both will inform our upcoming campaigns.
- We made a submission to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on their review of social inclusion places on community employment schemes. This was informed by our member network event in May.
- We attended the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health which focused on recommendations of the Report of the Independent Review Group on the Role of Voluntary organisations in Health and Social Services (IRG Report)
- We formed an alliance with Disability Federation of Ireland; National Federation of Voluntary Bodies; Not For Profit Association and Voluntary Healthcare Forum focused on the implementation of the IRG Report.
- We addressed the National Economic Dialogue and made pre-budget case for investment in sector.
- We contributed input on community-engagement into National Climate Action Plan.
- We hosted an engaging 20th Anniversary AGM at The Wheel, which incorporated a panel discussion on the Civil Society reflections booklet entitled “Civil Society: Perspectives and Reflections” which features key voices from the sector.
- We attended Áras an Uachtaráin for a special event celebrating country music and rural communities. We were joined by dozens of our smaller member organsiations who are working in community development, rural preservation and social enrichment.
- We delivered the largest and most engaging Annual Summit of The Wheel to date with over 450 of our members in attendance. The day consisted of plenary panels, workshops and discussion on the main issues facing the sector and how we work together on constructive solutions. The day was topped off by our 20th anniversary celebration that included valuable input by An Taoiseach. Read a report of the day here.
- We wrapped up the Community Matters, our local and European election campaign having secured an op-ed in the Irish Times, multiple meetings with political parties, and securing 34 European and 223 local candidates’ signatures. We will use this campaign to lay important groundwork for future campaigns and political advocacy.
- We hosted three CEO Network meetings for members to identify the issues: inadequate funding; staff retention; getting engagement with agencies/departments; compliance overload; cost of insurance.
- We made three submissions to government: 1) The review of the 2015 Lobbying Act; 2) The Draft Social Enterprise Policy; and 3) The review of employment schemes (CE, RSS and JI)
- We hosted Catherine Day, chair and main author of the IRG Report on Role of Voluntary Healthcare Providers, at a meeting of our HSE members.
- We promoted The Wheel at Dóchas annual conference and represented our members at DRCD rural stakeholder consultation in Cavan.
- We attended European Youth Week in Brussels + E4C ECP meeting in Bucharest; secured funding from Communicating Europe Initiative and held European Project Managers Network meeting
- We participated in first National Advisory Group meeting for the new strategy on Volunteering (chaired by Minister of State, Sean Canney).
- We appointed a new Campaigns Manager and Policy Officer in order to expand our public policy and campaigning focus based on member consultation and feedback.
- We produced and analysed a survey around skills and training needs in the community and voluntary sector circulated to all members of The Wheel.
- We hosted important member network meetings around the Independent Review Group Report (review the role of voluntary providers in publicly funded health and personal social services), the National Social Enterprise Policy and the Alliance for Insurance Reform to feed into submissions and/or collaborative campaigns around these topics.
- We developed and launched the Community Matters Campaign, implementing a media strategy resulting in national and regional media coverage, high social media engagement increased member collaboration.
- We hosted European Citizens Dialogue events in Limerick, Sligo and Dublin facilitating members of the sector to meet and question European candidates from all constituencies.
- We made key inputs into shaping the final drafts of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Strategy on Social Enterprise and Strategy on the Community and Voluntary Sector.
- We represented the interests of our members at the first meeting of the Advisory Group on the Review of the Community Services Programme.
- We hosted a successful “Meet The Leader” event with Eamon Ryan, leader of The Green Party.
- We hosted a number of CEO roundtable events bringing together key leaders in the sector for collaboration and discussion on strategic priorities.
- We submitted our members' views on the draft Social Enterprise Policy in a series of pre-publication engagements (with the Social Enterprise Task Force and the Community & Voluntary Pillar respectively). We have a positive expectancy that the public consultation will happen on the basis of a strong draft.
- We held a briefing to the Sinn Fein Parliamentary Party on charity, community & voluntary and social enterprise issues - in Leinster House.
- On behalf of our members, we made three formal submissions to consultations on: 1) Electoral Reform; 2) Charity “Passporting”; and 3) he terms of reference for the proposed Electoral Commission.
- We engaged with our members and the media on the occasion of the launch of the report from the Independent Review Group on the 'Role of Voluntary Organisations in the Provision of Health and Social Care Services' - securing coverage in The Irish Times.
- Put forward the sector's key messages and made connections at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in Citywest.
- Participated at the Department of Rural and Community Development / Royal Irish Academy ‘Rural Conversations’ event in Dundalk.
- Worked intensively with the Department of Rural and Community Development and key stakeholders to shape the emerging draft Social Enterprise Policy.
- Made a formal submission on the 'call for input' for the new forthcoming Strategy on Volunteering.
- Was very pleased to see that the key independent report, commissioned by the Department of Health on the 'Role of Voluntary Organisations in the provision of public and social care services' contained most of what our submission (on behalf of members) had articulated!
- Liaised with MEPs and have set up a series of hustings events for the forthcoming EU elections.
- Worked with partners (2into3) to host an event programme at the the Grad Ireland jobs fair, promoting the opportunities of a career in the nonprofit sector.
- Brought the Minister’s officials to the Aran Islands to demonstrate a community project which is one of the Spark Change Community-Action Challenge projects.
- Held a very positive meeting with Minister Ring to brief on sector related matters.
- Facilitated a campaign group comprising members with HSE/Tusla/ETB funds to agree purpose and main messages for a 2019 campiagn to address the burden of compliance and to seek streamlined reporting. Great start made!
- Convened our members to prepare our submission for the ‘Call for input’ into the Volunteering Strategy being prepared by DRCD.
- Held a very successful first meeting of our members’ Social Enterprise Network.
- Briefed senior personnel from Pobal, Tusla and DRCD on a new tool that we have developed, in partnership with Medtronic, to enable CV organisations and funders to track the ‘Societal Value’ of the work. This addresses directly the challenges for our sector at the heart of current commissioning models in use by many statutory funders.
- Developed our Local & European Election campaign and messaging
- Co-designed an event to promote reforms of Electoral Acts (with the coalition led by ICCL)/
- Held an engaging ‘Leaders Lunch’ in association with Crowe, welcoming the keynote speaker - Sir Stuart Etherington, CEO of the National Council of Voluntry Organisations in England. The 50 senior leaders from Ireland’s largest charities attended.
- Circulated a detailed member update on our public policy work and priorities for 2019.
- Ended January with 1,456 members – a strong voice and a strong mandate for change!
- Convened meeting of HSE and Tusla members to plan national campaign on addressing the compliance load
- Voiced the sector’s position re independent advocacy at the Government’s Open Policy Forum on Political Advocacy
- Over a series of meetings, gave final feedback to the Department of Rural & Community Development on their draft ‘Strategy to Support CV Sector’ / draft strategy for Local and Community Development
- Briefed senior Tusla officials on our new Medtronic ‘added-value measurement tool’ (relevant for Tusla’s commissioning guidelines).
- Attended and addressed the 6th Monitoring Meeting of the Rural Action Plan (Chaired by Minister Ring), on the impact of Brexit on communities and community groups.
- Actively engaged with Department of Finance & Revenue Commissioners regarding the Charity Vat scheme and the required ministerial order. It finally came at lunchtime on final day of work before the Christmas break. Joint communique issued between The Wheel and Charities Institute Ireland on Dec 21st, as this work had been completed jointly since June.
- Hosted an engaging ‘Meet the Party Leader’ event for members with Micheál Martin. This is part of our ‘access to leaders’ offering we provide for our members. It enables them to address policy-makers and politicians directly.
- Hosted our final Charity Finance Managers Network for the year. Topics were VAT Compensation scheme and Insurance Mutuals
- Sent a Christmas Message to members in the form of an update from CEO in the NewsWheel e-newsletter, which reflected the significant work and impact of the organisation throughout 2018.
- Held several meetings, provided briefings and made progress to ensure coherence between strategies for: 1) local & community development, 2) social enterprise and 3) volunteering, which all emanate from the Department of Rural and Community Development.
- Held a consultation event with our member-network of organisations with Community Services Programmes, to hear the views regarding the current review of the programme.
- Made submissions in the open consultation on the development of a National Digital Strategy; and also to the Charity Regulator regarding its second Statement of Strategy.
- Progressed the Charity VAT implementation with a very productive meeting with Revenue & Department of Finance (by means of a collaboration with Charities Institute Ireland and a joint working group of members).
- Held engaging & open meeting with regulation staff from the Charity Regulator’s Office to clarify queries and questions from our members.
- Held an EU Commission-funded ‘study trip’ to Brussels for two days with 23 sector organisations. It resulted in feedback from the participating organisations which surpassed our expectations including: the excellent management of the trip by The Wheel staff; the standard of interaction of the participants; the quality, relevance and level of speakers & engagements from the EU officials and politicians with participants; and the connections & opportunities for follow-up.
- Represented The Wheel at the ‘National Social Enterprise Forum and Expo’ in Limerick where we met many members involved in social enterprise work.
- Over 90 nominations were made in the national Charity Impact Awards 2018 by the closing date!
- Hosted post budget briefing for members, with a sector-specific analysis presented and circulated.
- Launched the Electoral Acts reform campaign (with partners ICCL, Amnesty International, Transparency Ireland, Frontline defenders and Uplift). Its main purpose is to ensure that civil society organisations, such as your own, are able to fundraise for everyday advocacy work without being unfairly penalised in the process.
- We held a Presidential Hustings event where candidates shared their vision for the sector with our members in advance of the election.
- Addressed Irish League or Credit Unions Conference re parallels between Credit Unions and the CV sector
- Briefed the “Civic Engagement Group” of Senators in Leinster House
- Promoted and participated in the SDG Stakeholders Forum
- Represented ROI on the ‘5-nations’ meeting of national associations in Belfast.
- Progressed Charity VAT implementation with Revenue & Department of Finance (with the Charities Institute Ireland)
- Presented about the ‘Peoples Conversation’ work and the role of the CV sector in nurturing active citizens at an international Carnegie (UK) Trust organised event in New York.
- Held member-network consultation with our social enterprise oriented members.
- Hosted our second in our 'Meet the Party Leaders’ Breakfast - with Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin. (The next one is Dec 6th with Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil)
- Briefed Dept Education senior officials on the needs of nonprofit sector employees regarding skills-building.
- Discussed our pre-Budget Submission with Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe: a 'cut the red tape' reporting-reduction campaign being the spear-head of the submission.
- Briefed Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, on Ireland’s SDG progress (with civil society Coalition 2030)
- Met Minister Michael Darcy to press for actions to bring down insurance premiums for charities.
- Engaged in feedback process re drafts of ‘local and community development’ strategy with DRCD.
- Participated in TUSLA commissioning advisory group to shape their commissioning guidelines to be more suitable for charities.
- Engaged in final planning for campaign lead by ICCL on protecting the voice of civil society w.r.t. Electoral Acts reform thePeoplesVoice.
- Met Minister Helen McEntee to make case for investment in CV sector European Funding support service for all of civil society.
- Launched a new ‘EU Project Managers’ members network, and associated advisory group
- Represented our members views at the pre-budget forum with the Department of Employment, Activation and Social Protection - inputted re income adequacy and financial inclusion.
- Met the Secretary General of the Department of Rural & Community Development to brief him on sector development issues.
- Held a meeting with Liadh Ní Riada MEP about our European Position Paper on civil society.
- Agreed an innovative CSR Employee Placement programme with Medtronic to measure the “added value” of service-providing charities.
- With a Joint Working Group of The Wheel and Charities Institute, made a formal submission to Department of Finance re implementation of VAT compensation scheme.
- Took part in first board meeting of Sustainable Development Goals voluntary sector / charitable organisations coalition to advance the SDGs in civil society – having been nominated to join the Coalition’s board during the summer.
- Showcased our work highlighting the SDGs and community organisations (our Spark Change project) in the SDG agenda at two prestigious opportunities where we were invited to do presentations: 1) at the United National New York ‘High Level Political forum 2018’ - for a side meeting with representatives of the Japanese and Swedish governments; and 2) for a conference for Leeds & Heidelberg universities.
- Participated in the two-day National Economic Dialogue in Dublin castle where we called on Government to streamline compliance demands for charities and provide for the costs of compliance. We also called for Government to take action to reduce insurance premiums. Both calls were heard loud and clear (and that they were welcomed by many organisations present). Additionally, we called on Government to restore funding for community and voluntary organisations that have endured cuts since 2008 and are now facing many challenges in retaining staff and coping with increased demand for services.
- Participated in the Tusla Advisory Group on commissioning advising on same.
- Met with Minister Ring at the Westport launch of the Rural Economic Plan (part of Ireland 2040 programme). Secured commitment regarding alignment of three forthcoming strategies: 1) on social and community development; 2) on social enterprise; and 3)on volunteering. The outcome of all three, if well integrated and mutually supportive will be very positive for the entire sector.
- Made submission to Lobbying.ie regarding a code of practice for lobbying for charities.
- Briefed MEPs on the needs of charities and the voluntary sector (Cork).
- Developed policy positions through two member-network meetings on 1) Community Services Programme (in the context of the forthcoming review) and 2) HSE-funded members (in the context of the ‘Harris Review of the role of voluntary organisations in health & social services).
- We participated, as one of the campaign partners, in a press launch of the campaign being led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) to protect the voice of civil society to lobby and be heard.
- Attended the launch by the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation on the costs of insurance and was pleased to note that seven of its ten recommendations from the ‘Alliance for Insurance Reform’ on which we represent the nonprofit sector as active members.
- The member-mobilisation and engagement phase of our General Election campaign took place on 6 and 7 July. Participating members contacted their TDs to raise awareness of their issues, including compliance and funding, and to ask that party policies address these issues.
- Special Nonprofit Sector Report published in Sunday Business Post (Jun 3) with The Wheel as partners.
- Conducted a mini-member survey to establish and prioritise the issues with the greatest impact on members.
- Briefed the Secretary General of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) on Social Enterprise report (along with members of the CV Pillar).
- Agreed the concept for “Reform the Electoral Acts” campaign with ICCL and others.
- Joined the Steering Group of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Coalition.
- Hosted the first of our “Meet the Party Leaders” events with Labour Leader Brendan Howlin. This was hugely well received by our members.
- Held a round-table discussion with CEOs of our large members to listen to their views on our advocacy and representation work.
- Held lengthy briefing with the new principal officer in the Department Of Rural And Community Development, Ciara Bates.
- Delivered five regional, full-day ‘lobbying skills’ training sessions in Galway, Kells, Waterford, Claremorris and Dublin as part of our member mobilisation prior to our general election programme.
- Delivered paper presentation at Fair Trade International Symposium in University of Portsmouth.
- Delivered a successful two day Summit, securing positive media coverage: interview on RTE Radio 1 Morning Ireland; coverage in the print and online editions of The Irish Times on 25 & 26 May; in the print and online editions of the Irish Examiner on 25 May; Newstalk News on 24 May and an opinion piece on TheJournal.ie on 25 May.
- Worked with members to make a detailed formal submission to the Harris Review on role of community and voluntary organisations in public services. Important relationships with larger charities were significantly enhanced by the exercise.|
- Represented the sector in the Insurance Alliance network, making presentation to Oireachtas sub-committee & conducting media interviews on same.
- Delivered a keynote address at National Federation for Voluntary Bodies conference – cementing credibility, relevance and relationships with key section 38 and 39 charities.
- Commenced round of meetings with political parties regarding charities and the sector.
- Achieved success for the broader CV sector in our interventions regarding social enterprise strategy (meetings, submissions, lobbying). There will now be a consultation on it.
- Position paper on the community and voluntary sector and the Future of Europe produced and sent to all MEPs, relevant government minister and public officials.
- Secured media coverage to coincide with the publication of the report of the Charities Regulator's Consultative Panel on Governance on 10 May. Opinion piece by Deirdre Garvey in Irish Times (digital) and interview with Ivan Cooper on RTE Radio 1 Drivetime.
- Enabling Citizens Reports: Oversaw the successful publication of three substantial reports on the second day of our summit. The reports are all concerned with addressing the barriers to participation that exist in communities and are a significant contribution to the body of knowledge and thinking available in the public domain.
- Briefed Labour Leader Brendan Howlin on issues facing the community and voluntary, charities and social enterprise sector.
- Attended Labour Party ‘think-in’ on vision for Irish Society.
- Prepared and submitted analysis of the draft Social Enterprise report to Department of Rural and Community Development.
- Signed off on our input into Charity Regulator’s Report on Governance.
- Convened members to agree submission to Harris review of Role of Voluntary Organisations in health services.
- Took part in National Risk Assessment exercise, coordinated in the Department of the Taoiseach..
- Finalised concept for our General Election members engagement campaign.
- Finalised the final text for three Carnegie-funded “Participation” reports on income adequacy, active citizenship and democratic participation; ongoing work for planned launch for the Carnegie-funded reports on the second day of conference on 25 May.
- Kicked-off of our ‘Voices for Change’ project, the political campaigning support programme for our members prior to General Election.
- Significant liaison between Social Enterprise Task Force members, key stakeholders in the community & voluntary sector and Chair/Vice Chair of our board board with regards to the emerging ‘Social Enterprise Strategy’.
- Made submissions and input re finalisation of the Charities Regulatory Authority Consultative Panel on Governance report (for publication in May).
- Took part in meetings of Department of Rural and Community Development’s Working Group on Local/Community Development.
- Formally joined the Insurance Alliance and met Minister Michael Darcy.
- Briefed two FF spokespersons regarding community and voluntary sector matters.
- Held bi-lateral meeting with Department of Rural and Community Development officials and private briefing with the Principal Officer about sector-funding.
- Held inaugural steering group of members engaged in Sláintecare-related representation.
- Met with (and made submission to) Review Group appointed by Minister Harris to review role of community and voluntary sector in health/social services.
- Collaborated with Dóchas and Oxfam Ireland in managing reaction in media to unfolding Oxfam UK scandal.
- Finalised plan for General Election member-mobilisation campaign.
- Took part in meetings of Regulator’s Panel on Governance and Department of Rural and Community Development’s Working Group on Local/Community Development.
- Took part in Ciara Kelly Newstalk Lunchtime show on “challenges facing charities” and on RTE Morning Ireland report on Oxfam and implications for Irish charities.
- Participated in launch of Insurance Reform Alliance Campaign to bring down costs of insurance, and did RTE radio interview on Today with Sean O’Rourke.
- Attended meetings of Regulator’s Consultative Panel on Governance to shape Regulator’s Governance Framework.
- Convened special CV Pillar meeting to consider emerging Department of Rural and Community Development Plan for Local and Community Development.
- Published an opinion piece by Deirdre Garvey in Irish Times regarding the Electoral Acts potential to suppress the voluntary sector voice.
- Hosted well-attended member-briefing in Dublin to further develop and nuance our policy positions and our actions on members behalf
- Attended Central Bank forum for civil society hosted by Governor Philip Lane.
- Made submission to the National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Developmment Goals.
- Delivered successful inaugural Charity Impact Awards, with 118 nominations and over 30,000 individual votes.
- Secured publicity for Awards: including appearances on RTE Morning Ireland & TV3 Ireland AM as well as The Irish Times, Irish Examiner and regional media.
- Held key consultation events with Tusla on Commissioning & Service Agreements attended by over 300 people all around Ireland.
- Shaped new Department of Rural and Community Development Plan for Local and Community Development – the vehicle for key elements of Programme for Government commitment towards a Strategy to support the CV sector.
- Arranged consultation with members on Regulator’s Governance Framework for Charities.
- Participated in special Department of Rural and Community Development workshop to develop Strategy for Social Enterprise.
- Presented at joint high-profile HSE/EPA conference on outcome of ‘Peoples Conversation’ and topic of involving citizens in design of public services.
- Held pre-budget press briefing which secured publicity; hosted post-Budget briefing for members.
- Played key role in the weeks leading up to the successful securing of a VAT Compensation Scheme for Charities. Announced in the budget, it was the culmination of a 20-year campaign fronted by Sheila Nordon & ICTR. The Wheel promoted this campaign for the last 15 years through our membership of ICTR, but in its absence over the last 10 months, was required to engage directly – and to positive effect (as per feedback from ministerial advisors).
- Actively participated in meetings of Tusla Advisory group shaping commissioning strategy & Service Agreements.
- Attended Fianna Fail Ard Fheis and met relevant front bench representatives.
- Briefed lead DRCA Assistant Secretary Bairbre NicAongusa about charities and the sector.
- Participated in Regulator’s Consultative Panel on Governance; ‘engineered’ a semi-satisfactory outcome with regards to Charities Regulatory Authority and the Governance Code and the future existence of a CRA issued ‘Charities Governance Code’.
- Met with Minister Katherine Zappone.
- Collaborated with partners in a potential Alliance for Insurance Reform.
- Presented on Citizen Participation and Active Citizenship at ‘Meet the Wheel’ event in Killarney
- Charity Impact Awards: developed and implemented successful promotion strategy (118 entries received); Completed shortlisting.
- Held the line on a principles-based, sector-owned Governance Code during engagements in the Charity Regulator’s Consultative Panel on Governance – a line subsequently overturned by a 10-2 vote within the panel!
- Conveyed our Budget 2018 asks at pre-Budget meeting with Minister for Finance.
- Commenced coordination with Minister Ring, the ‘social enterprise’ and ‘community’ strategies being developed in his new Department
- Participated in All Ireland Civic Dialogue on Cross Border Health in Dundalk; and at Transparency Ireland Integrity at work Forum.
- Completed detailed feedback to Tusla’s DRAFT Service Agreements.
- Launched the Charity Impact Awards! Being received very well in the sector – a photo appeared in Irish Times as a result.
- Were present and made excellent contacts at the National Ploughing Championships.
July / August
- Met politicians and officials to advance objective of securing VAT-reimbursement for charities; and also the pending introduction of ‘beneficial ownership’ regulations.
- Asserted thought leadership through well-received blogs on several different ‘hot topics’ of relevance to our sector.
- Hosted meeting of over 100 members of our HSE network of Interest & worked with Tusla on their Commissioning plan.
- Made submission to Data Protection Commissioner on GDPR and charities and met senior engagement manager.
- Produced and submitted Pre-Budget Paper to Department of Finance.
- Briefed new Principal Officer in new Department of Rural and Community Affairs (Jason Kearney) on the sector and the issues.
- Received ¾ page of free editorial in Sunday Business Post collaboration on a two-page special report on the nonprofit sector.
- Facilitated GDPR member information and consultation session.
- Held Sector-Leaders lunchtime briefing for larger members.
- Published Blogs on 1) Governance in the Sector; 2) the parts different stakeholders play in a thriving Community and Voluntary Sector; and 3) introducing The Wheel’s Strategy.
- Agreed our Policy Priorities for 2017.
- Participated in the two-day National Economic Dialogue, representing the sectors’ interests.
- Successful Annual Conference & annual lecture held.
- Signed off on commissioning of new research paper on role of the Sector in sustaining active citizenship.
- Continued participation in Charity Regulator’s Consultative Panels on Governance and on Fundraising.
- Began work as member of DHPCLG’s Cross Sectoral Group on Local and Community Development to advance coherent strategy for the sector.
- Continued work as member of TUSLA’s Commissioning Advisory Group.
- Attended Peace IV Monitoring Committee.
- Met with Charity Regulator John Farrelly to discuss developments and plans.
- Hosted well-attended Policy Update session for members.