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 a well-attended webinar in our Meet the Leaders series where our members heard from Sinn Fein Spokespersons Paul Donnelly TD and Pauline Tully TD
Hosted meeting of Charity Shop operators to explore how they might secure inclusion in the CRSS – the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme
We represented members at a Community Services Programme Advisory Group meeting and articulated the need to ensure the programme stays focussed on responding to local need
We made a formal submission to the national 10 Year Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy consultation
Social Value Ireland, a collaborative initiative coordinated by Quality Matters, The Wheel and Whitebarn Consulting, was launched at a very successful event, attended by the CEO of Social Value International.
We hosted a hugely successful online Charity Impact Awards ceremony featuring special celebrity appearances thanking the sector for their work throughout 2020. Read about the fantastic winners: Blood Bikes East, Engagaing Dementia, St.Josephe’s Shankill, Meals for Health, Donal Kavanagh - outgoing chairman of Jack and Jill Children's Foundation, and our Community Hero - Noelle Fitzsimons by clicking here.
We delivered The Wheel's "Year in Review" webinar with Sarah Monaghan, Ivan Cooper, Sinead Dooley from Irish Rural Link and hosted by Gert Ackermann, The Wheel's Communications Manager.
We participated in a meeting of the new Health Dialogue Forum chaired by Peter Cassells
We participated in a meeting of the Community Services Programme (CSP) Advisory Forum
We received a Civic Pride Award from the European Civic Forum for our work, alongside sector leaders, to secure the Emergency Stability Fund for Charities. Read more about the award here.
We secured funding for an upcoming collaborative public awareness campaign focused on the impact and value of the charity, community and voluntary and social enterprise sector from RTE Comic Relief Fund, as administered by Community Foundation Ireland.
- The Wheel was represented at OECD high level round table on wellbeing, inclusion, sustainability and equal opportunity.
- We held a HSE Member Network Meeting with Peter Cassells, Chair of the Dialogue Forum.
- We met Minister Stephen Donelly and discussed areas for potential collaboration and issues relating to HSE funded members.
- We made a submission on reform of €45m Community Services Programme.
- We made a submission to the Department of Rural and Community Development Statement of Strategy 2021 - 2023.
- We delivered three successful events during Charity Trustee Week.
- We launched the Gender Pay Gap report for the sector, in collaboration with the Community Foundation for Ireland.
- We launched Social Value Ireland - a network of individuals and organisations who are interested in changing the way Irish society accounts for value, along with partners Whitebarn Consulting and Quality Matters.
- We launched Access Europe- a three year programme to provide a support and capacity-building programme for Irish civil society organisations to better access EU funds and engage in EU policy.
- We collaborated with the Irish Times on a special Christmas Fundraising feature and got strong coverage of the issues.
- We published Giving for Good charity gift guide.
- The Wheel was represented at the Arts Council consultation on engaging community and voluntary sector in Culture Night.
- We received cross-party political engagement with our Budget 2021 Campaign: Recovery Through Community with TD's from each of the main political parties taking a photo with our pre-budget submission.
- We conducted extensive analysis of Budget 2021 on its release on 13 October, publishing an extensive summary of Budget allocations relevant to charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises which can be read here
- We hosted a successful post-budget analysis webinar with leading independent social researcher Brian Harvey, with 196 attendees.
- We published our members survey report on the impact of COVID-19 on members work and finances.
- We briefed Minister Joe O’Brien on the need for a Workforce Development Strategy for the CV Sector.
- We attended the first meeting of the Community Services Programme Reform Implementation Group.
- We convened our Tusla network with Tusla head of Commissioning Eifion Williams.
- We attended Government’s National Economic Planning session.
- Attended the Coalition 2030 plenary and the European Movement Ireland/European Commission event on what the European Green Deal means for Ireland.
- We launched our Budget 2021 Campaign: Recovery Through Community with a socially distanced photocall to hand deliver our pre-budget submission to the Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Health, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and Department of Finance on the 23 Sept. The campaign launch was covered in The Irish Examiner, the Meath Chronicle and on Kfm.
- We hosted a pre-budget member briefing outlining the key asks in our pre-budget submission.
- SCOPE launched with very successful multiplier event.
- We launched our Storytelling for Success series in partnership with National Lottery with three specialised training events focused on effective communications and storytelling, featuring leading trainers from CORE media, Red C, Language and Titanium Media.
July / August 2020
We met with Minister Joe O’Brien and briefed him on the cv sector and the challenges facing our members
Met Minister Simon Harris and briefed him on the National Training Fund priorities for the sector and the work of The Wheel
We met with Ministers Donohoe; Varadkar; McGrath; Martin; Troy & Fleming as part of Alliance Insurance Reform delegation to brief them on the challenges facing our members in this regard
We submitted our pre-budget submission to DPER, Department of Finance and DRCD and progressed our campaigning work for launch in September.
We conducted member survey to ascertain ongoing impact of COVID-19 on members finances and services
Engaged intensely with DRCD to encourage timely disbursement of Stability Fund allocations
We launched our Training Links 2020 – 2022 programme.
We completed the European Parliament Ambassador Schools Programme (EPAS) 2019-2020
We participated in a Virtual Visit to the EU institutions.
Welcomed new Government Ministers and Junior Ministers for the community and voluntary sector having engaged in extensive lobbying and campaigning calling for their retention.
We mobilised 340 people behind our #PutCommunityFirst campaign which contributed towards the outcome of the retention a senior minister and department for the community and voluntary sector.
We attended the May 2020 round of research from the Irish Charity Engagement Monitor.
We continued to develop plans for a series of Storytelling webinars in partnership with The National Lottery.
We progressed on campaigning plans for Budget 2021 and moved to finalise our pre-budget submission to be submitted to Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Department of Rural and Community Development.
We held 3 further online events in our Virtual Annual Conference Summit series entitled, “Putting our Values Where Our People Are”, “Exploring EU Values, Solidarity & Funding” and “The Future is Community”.
We progressed strategic planning work on our campaigning objectives for remainder 2020/2021, working collaboratively with other key partners.
We produced a detailed discussion paper on the future of the sector for our Virtual Conference on-line Summit
We represented the interests of our members at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Bilateral meeting.
We concluded the #CommunityResponseIRL campaign which successfully collated the stories of our members work and elevated them to secure national media coverage across RTE, Newstalk, Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner.
We premiered a video which captured a snapshot of the incredible inspiring work of the sector supporting people and communities throughout Covid 19.
We planned our #PutCommunityFirst campaign calling for recognition and prioritision of charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises in the next Programme for Government. The campaign has mobilised the sector to contact their local TD with key asks to retain a senior minister and department for the community and voluntary sector, and to adequately resource, fund and collaborate with the sector moving forward.
Hosted our first & very successful Virtual Summit which brought over 500 people together to discuss the future of the community and voluntary sector and heard key inputs from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Secretary General for Department of Rural and Community Development, Kevin McCarthy.
We updated the Sustainable toolkit website.
We set up the HR & Finance helpdesk & advice hub for the sector with plans in place for further advice & guidance webinars and on-line training in June & July
We continued to evolve our C19 info hub on our homepage.
We contributed to securing a €40m COVID-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprises from Department of Rural and Community Development after facilitating a coalition of key sectoral partners and leading on a detailed submission.
We produced and analysed three surveys on how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting our members, which in turn fed into our advocacy work on behalf of the sector
We kept our members updated with regular information about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis through briefings for CEOs in the sector, email communications and online resources
We further developed the #CommunityResponseIRL campaign with the launch of dedicated web pages, daily twitter round ups of the inspiring work happening in communities all over Ireland and weekly updates to our members.
We secured 22 pieces of media coverage for our members, across Irish Times, Independent, Irish Examiner, Newstalk, RTE TV and RTE Radio as supported by our #CommunityResponseIRL campaign.
We held the first member network event since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, with a well-attended small organisational member network online event.
We secured 5 MEPs to meet with EPAS schools on Zoom as an alternative to the awards ceremonies and Europe Day events.
We progressed the SCOPE Pilot with 43 people completing the course/survey,
We hosted the first online EU PM Managers meeting took place online.
We launched the COVID Community Outreach Programme holding COVID-19 Community Outreach champion briefings with input from stakeholders across the country.
We secured publicity for the COVID Community Outreach Programme on RTE Radio 1 Countrywide and RTE One Nationwide and various local newspapers and radio stations.
We worked extensively with a range of key partners to make the case for a COVID-19 Resilience Fund for the CV Sector, making submissions to Taoiseach’s, DPER, DRCD and all other significant funding departments, culminating in a detailed well-worked submission seeking a €25m immediate emergency fund.
We launched our #CommunityResponseIRL campaign on 13 March to recognise the incredible community response to COVID -19 from charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises, and to collate their collective impact under one banner.
We opened the #CommunityResponseIRL campaign to our members and asked for their stories about how they have adapted to support vulnerable communities through COVID -19, receiving over 100 testimonies in 24 hours. We subsequently developed relationships with a dozen national journalists to support our members in attracting media coverage for the work they are doing.
We developed a new dedicated webpage to provide information and updates relevant to the sector and COVID - 19, including information on our #CommunityResponseIRL and COVID Community Outreach initiatives.
We made a submission to the Law Reform Commission on the its Issues Paper re capping damages in personal injuries actions
We made a submission as part of the Community and Voluntary Pillar on Ireland's submission to the 2020 European National Reform Programme and the Country Specific Recommendations published last year.
We developed and produced an analysis of a member-wide survey looking at the early impacts of COVID-19 and a second member-wide survey looking more closely at the financial impact of COVID-19 on the community and voluntary sector - focusing on the impact of reduced income. We also gathered a number of in-depth case studies to underpin our submission to Department of Rural and Community Development.
- We completed the Stronger Communities, Stronger Ireland General Election 2020 campaign. 207 candidates signed our manifesto and 79 of these were subsequently elected.
- We attended the Irish Charity Engagement Monitor briefing, which examines public attitudes to charities.
- We visited our sister organisations NCVO, SCVO, and NICVA in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to discuss campaign plans and shared learnings.
- We hosted our CEOs’ Network and heard about the priorities that charity CEOs across Ireland have at the moment, in order to inform our public policy and campaign work.
- We represented our members’ interests in a variety of structured engagements: a Community and Voluntary Pillar Bilateral meeting with the Department of Health; a PEACE+ steering group; the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Social Enterprise Policy Implementation Group; a Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: A Five-Year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland 2019-2024 strategy group subgroup on the training needs of the sector; a Benefacts Stakeholder Group; and an National Training Fund Advisory Group.
- We reviewed a draft final report from Indecon which looks at the value of upskilling investment in the charity, social enterprise, and community and voluntary sector.
- Members of the public policy team attended a Study Trip to Brussels with 24 participants from across the community and voluntary sector. We spoke directly with 10 Irish MEPs, expert policy writers from the European Commission and senior staff members from Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the EU. The trip was a great success!
- We attended the SDG Coalition 2030 plenary, contributing to a fruitful discussion and planning session about the Coalition’s plans for 2020 and beyond.
- We held a meeting of our Tusla Members’ Network, discussing issues around commissioning and Service Level Agreements.
- We also attended a special reception at Áras an Uachtaráin where the President celebrated The Wheel’s 20th Birthday. The event was attended by 100 guests from the charity, community and voluntary, and social enterprise sector.
- We presented the Participating People report to the President at the special event on 21 Feb alongside the CEO of the Carnegie UK Trust.
- We launched our Stronger Communities Stronger Ireland GE2020 campaign which sought member mobilisation to ask their local General Election candidate to sign up to our Manifesto commitments. We held a photocall with members of our HSE network to launch the campaign which secured coverage in The Irish Times. At close of January, 165 candidates had signed up in support of our manifesto.
- We hosted a successful GE2020 Hustings event with political representation from 5 of the main political parties. It was attended by over 50 people, was livestreamed to almost 500 people, and attracted coverage in The Irish Times.
- We hosted our first all day Storytelling Bootcamp which focused on upskilling our members, and others in the sector, in the art of communicating their message across social media, radio, video, print and TV.
- We made a submission to the Department of Rural and Community Development on the Draft National Volunteering Strategy.
- We held the first member network of 2020, outlining fast-moving developments in the health sector for The Wheel’s HSE member network.
- We attended the first 2020 meeting of the Alliance for Insurance Reform members – obtaining updates on the campaign in relation to the general election.
- We began planning for Summit 2020 – focusing on the strands most relevant to public policy and campaigns within The Wheel.
- We progressed our advocacy agenda through preparing for and attending meetings of: 1) Department of Health Dialogue Forum; 2) the DRCD Cross-Sectoral Group driving implementation of the Five Year Strategy for the CV Sector; 3) the Alliance for Insurance Reform; and 4) first meeting of DPER’s European Partnership Process Group charged with overseeing development of the next round of Ireland’s structural funds; and 5) HSE corporate planning stakeholder workshop.
- Attended the Public & Patient involvement in Research [PPI Ignite] consultation workshop in TCD.
- Attended special briefing on EU Structural Funds at DEPR, as part of Partnership Group for the new Cohesion Policy.
November / December 2019
- As a mark of our standing, we have been asked by the government to provide a representative voice in every forum / implementation group established in the final two months of this year, at which the sector’s future and development are being discussed: 1) the implementation group for the National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022; 2) the implementation group for Sustainable, Inclusive Communities: A five year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland 2019 - 2024; 3) the Forum to oversee the implementation of the Independent review Group Report on the Role of publicly-funded Voluntary Organisations in the provision of publicly-funded Health and social care service. These appointments represent a major recognition of our essential role and effectiveness as a member-driven and informed representative voice.
- We have finalised plans for member-mobilisation for the anticipated general election campaign in 2020, engaging in consultation meetings and online surveys that have shaped our messaging and manifesto.
- We held a meeting of the members of our Community Services Programme (CSP) network to brief them on progress to date re CSP programme re-design.
- In the media, we communicated very positive messages about the sector’s impact via media associated with Charity Impact Awards. Additionally, we were delighted to secure several features in the special Irish Times supplement in November on charities, and the voluntary sector – which was a really positive supplement at an important time of year.
- We held a noteworthy Charity Finance Managers network meeting, with inputs from the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners. Our members took the opportunity to feed directly back to the Department and Revenue about their experiences implementation that Charity Vat reimbursement scheme in 2019.
- We launched the Participating People report at an engaging event in Royal College of Physicians hosted with Carnegie UK Trust. This was subsequently broadcast as a podcast, which you can listen to here.
- We hosted the national Charity Impact Awards on Dec 10th in the round room of the Mansion House in Dublin. Attended by over 400 members from all corners of the country, the event continued to deliver on its unique ‘tone of voice’, namely, balancing the impact of the real-life work of both paid and unpaid people in CV organisations, with the ‘glitz and glamour’ of an awards and celebration event. We were delighted to have keynote addresses by Senator Lynn Ruane and Sr Bernadette MacMahon. The event also drew to a close our 20th anniversary celebrations. It also achieved high impact publicity for the sector’s work on RTE Radio 1 Morning Ireland, RTE One Nine News, Newstalk Breakfast, The Irish Examiner and various local media. Meet the winners here.
- Red our CEO’s year-end message here.
- We continued advocacy work on our Budget 2020 Investing in Community campaign by meeting with political party representatives to discuss our pre-budget submission. We hosted a post-budget analysis event and webinar to dissect the main areas of the budget of relevance to the sector.
- We progressed the development of our General Election Campaign by hosting member consultations across the country as well as opening an online consultation to seek input from our members in developing our campaign messaging and manifesto asks.
- We hosted a special meeting of The Wheel’s Tusla member network with Pat Rabbitte, the new Chair of Tusla.
- We represented our members in formal consultations with departments on Sláintecare, the IRG report (Dept Health), the reform of the Community Services Programme and the Tusla Commissioning Guidelines process.
- We participated in the Autumn round of focus group sessions gauging public attitudes towards charities so as to better inform our campaigning efforts for 2020.
- We represented Irish charities and Community and Voluntyary sector at international gathering of peer-organisations in London.
- We participated in the Sustainable Development Goals Stakeholder Forum plenary session.
- We hosted our Research for Societal Impact conference focusing on linking civil society to research funding and also engaged with 20 post doctorate students and staff at DCU regarding opportunities for jobs/research within Irish civil society organisations.
- We hosted the successful Spark Change Awards at Dublin castle; which celebrated innovative and vibrant community action projects in their adoption of the SDGs across Ireland.
- We attended the Public Participation Network national conference in Carlow.
- Hosted the successful digital communications conference Future Waves.
- Initiated key pan-sector engagement regarding sector-based arrangements for social enterprise policy implementation.
- Attended the National Ploughing Championships, at which we met many of The Wheel’s member organisations as well as political representatives and heard talks on biodiversity, volunteering, insurance costs and Brexit from government ministers, CV sector organisations and political parties.
- We began our member consultation sessions on the big issues facing the sector, in preparation for building our General Election campaign messaging, by hosting our first brainstorm session in Dungarvan, Waterford and opening an online consultation here : https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JYQ9MHS
- We launched the “Investing in Community” Budget 2020 campaign with a highly successful event including a panel discussion with members and photo call with members, political representatives and media at the gates of Leinster House which attracted national media attention in The Irish Examiner and Virgin Ireland TV News. We also presented our submission to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at a meeting in Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
- Progressed planning and finalised an impressive panel of speakers for the launch of the Participating People Report in collaboration with Carnegie UK Trust which will take place on 13 November. Full details available here.
- Attended the Community and Voluntary Pillar meeting at the Department of Rural and Community Development centred around the new Five-year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector and reviews of several funding streams of significant importance to The Wheel’s members.
- Attended meetings with Department of Health to discuss progression of key recommendations in the Independent Review Group (Catherine Day) Report.
- Met with Minister Darcy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for Financial Services and Insurance, to discuss the rising cost of insurance and the negative impact it is having on our members work.
July / August 2019
- We were delighted to attend the launch of the Department of Rural and Community Development's two new strategies affecting our sector: 1) ‘Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: a 5-year Strategy for the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland (2019-2024) and 2) The new National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland (2019 – 2022). On behalf of our members, and for the benefit of the wider sector, we significantly influenced the shape of both. We thus ensured delivery of the Programme for Government commitment for a sector-strategy – a commitment we secured in 2016.
- We developed our pre-budget submission before briefing the political parties on same. We also attended the pre-Budget Forum of the Department of Employment and Social Protection.
- We presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health on the topic of implementing the Independent Review Group’s report (established to examine the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health and personal social services).
- We also presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs on the EU programme and alliance building to strengthen the union.
- We engaged Indecon Economic Consultants to research the economic case for increased investment in skills development in the community and voluntary sector. We also secured a great opportunity for our members as we became a nominating body for the board membership of all of the Educational Training Boards.
- We attended second meeting of the Department of Rural and Community Development's Community Services Programme review group; and two meetings of Advisory Group on developing a new Volunteering Strategy.
- We conducted a member survey on policy issues that are of most acute interest for members, and also began to conduct research on regulatory and compliance loads as experienced by our members.
- As part of our ramped up campaigning mode and engagement with members, we progressed detailed planning for our General Election campaign as part of our newly emerging 18-month campaigning plan.
- We secured media coverage on RTE.ie and Newstalk (in relation to the VAT Compensation Scheme research findings), and in the Sunday Business Post on the issue of the rising cost of insurance.
- 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 2017
- 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.