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Vol 9 • Issue 1 • Spring 2010

Le Chéile

PAGE 15

GOVERNANCE

GOVERNANCE: LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF THE CORPORATE SECTOR

Since the Enron scandal in 2001, a number of high-profile corporate failures have pushed the topic of Corporate Governance to the fore. Many top directors have forfeited their positions on boards and damaged the names of their companies, because they failed to apply the principles of good governance. Could that happen in the community / voluntary / charity sector?

The answer is a definite “yes”. Our sector relies on the public’s good will and trust, and it is therefore incumbent upon us to take on board the lessons we can draw from the current crisis to ensure our organisations are run to the best possible standards.

We must acknowledge that Corporate Governance is becoming an increasingly important issue for the community and voluntary sector, particularly in the context of the Charities Act and the upcoming appointment of a Charities Regulator. With this in mind, a number of

organisations in the community and voluntary sector have come together to develop a Code of Corporate Governance, which would reflect the need for proportionality in recognition of the size and circumstances of the wide range of community and voluntary organisations in the sector.

The following organisations are contributing to the development of the Code: Boardmatch Ireland, Business in the Community Ireland, Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups, Clann Credo, the Disability Federation of Ireland, The Wheel and Volunteer Centres Ireland.

We are benefiting in this work from a consultation with members of The Wheel in May 2009; experience with similar Codes developed in the Irish development NGO sector (also known as the ‘Dóchas Codes’); the expertise of the Corporate Governance Association of Ireland and the review process recently conducted in the UK

regarding their Code of Governance for the voluntary sector. A set of draft principles and implementation guidelines, which reflect the reality of the profile of the wider sector are currently being drawn up.

Next steps: • All member organisations and affiliates of the Working Group members will be invited to

participate in a survey of the draft principles and guidelines in the next few months.

• Consultation will take place with other key potential stakeholders including funders and statutory bodies.

• When the Code is finalised it will be disseminated and promoted across the community and voluntary sector.

If you need further information in the meantime please feel free to contact Elizabeth Bolger, Services Manager, The Wheel; Tel: (01) 454 8727; email: elizabeth@wheel.ie

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