Carmichael Good Governance Awards for Non-Profit Organisations
The Good Governance Awards recognises and encourages adherence to good governance by nonprofit organisations in Ireland. The awards were developed by Carmichael with the support of our partners and leading national bodies in the nonprofit sector.
- Partner organisations:
- Department of Rural & Community Development
- Mason Hayes & Curran
- The Governance Company
- Supporting organisations:
- Boardmatch Ireland
- Charities Institute Ireland
- Volunteer Ireland
- The Wheel
- Accountancy firms for the technical assessments:
- Byrne Curtin Kelly
- The Governance Company
The Good Governance Awards seek to;
- Acknowledge, encourage and promote good governance practice in the area of annual reports and others areas of good governance practice.
- Support and encourage the nonprofit sector to use their annual reports and financial statements to showcase their embracement of and adherence to good governance.
- Provide practical examples to other organisations as to what an excellent or very good director’s report and financial statements look like.
Public trust in the sector in recent years has been damaged by a number of high profile cases of bad governance and unacceptable and in certain cases, illegal activities. In these tough times, strong governance is more important than ever to enable nonprofit organisations to respond effectively and quickly to emerging risks and deliver their objectives. In this challenging context, the Carmichael Good Governance Awards aims to support and encourage nonprofit organisations in using their annual reports to manage, and communicate, their adherence to good governance more effectively and in doing so build greater trust.
Governance extends far beyond board composition and the frequency of board meetings; an organisation’s culture, people and public face and how it sets the right tone are all an integral part of governance. Good governance should be transparent and open, encouraging trust within, and of, an organisation. The nonprofit sector, working for the public benefit, should be in a position to demonstrate good governance.
Greater benefit can be obtained by nonprofit organisations from their annual reports. These publications represent a real opportunity for organisations to demonstrate transparency and trust showing how they are governed, what they have achieved and their culture. Unfortunately, we find that many nonprofit organisations stop at meeting the minimum reporting requirements, rather than using the opportunity to demonstrate adherence to good governance practice and to provide a comprehensive picture of their organisation and its achievements and future plans. Regrettably, a good annual report in the nonprofit sector tends to be the exception rather than rule. We have a lot of work to do in the sector to improve the quality of our communications and accountability to our stakeholders. The Good Governance Awards is but one initiative to seek and encourage higher standards of good practice.
Good governance matters not only because it promotes compliance with the law but also because it has a strong bearing on the organisation’s effectiveness in achieving its mission. Good governance in nonprofit organisations is at the heart of what makes nonprofit organisations successful. By focusing on the information that nonprofit organisations make available through their annual reports and accounts, this award also underlines the important connection between good governance and accountability. In terms of upholding the precious reputation of the nonprofit sector, being seen to adhere to good governance principles is no less important than the good governance itself. Not only do many nonprofit organisations resource their work directly through voluntary donations and volunteers’ time, many organisations in the sector benefit from indirect public support through the legal and fiscal privileges charity status confers. So what nonprofit organisations tell us in their annual reports matters.
The annual report represent a real opportunity for organisations in the nonprofit sector across Ireland to showcase its transparency and trust by outlining its performance, governance, culture and financials. An annual report can provide a comprehensive picture of a nonprofit organisation, as well as its achievements and future plans rather than meagrely meeting minimum compliance requirements. An annual report serves to reinforce relationships with stakeholders and build relationships with the public, potential donors, volunteers and supporters.
It should not be taken that these awards imply a wider compliance of Good Governance practice by any of the winners or shortlisted entries. An organisation’s Annual Report is just one aspect of good governance and there many other practice areas that an organisation needs to comply with if it is to achieve an excellence standard in good governance. A good governance award for the excellence of their annual report, is not giving organisations a clean bill of health in all aspects of the compliance with good governance practice. Our judges will be making their assessments based solely on the information presented in the annual report. The assessment process does not include an organisation-wide compliance audit with interviews with board members, senior management and key stakeholders.
Our judges are not paid for their role and have volunteered to be part of the awards process because they support the aims of the awards and wish to make a positive contribution to the raising of good governance practice in the sector and to acknowledge these organisations who demonstrating good practice in their annual reports. Unfortunately, there may be cases where an organisation is very skilled in presenting and communicating a very positive image but in reality, the culture, ethos and practices are complete variance from the communicated image it portrays.
The Carmichael Good Governance awards have initially focused on annual reports, examining how they demonstrate adherence to good governance. In 2018, a new Governance Award type – Best Governance Improvement Initiative was added. This new award type recognises initiatives that have been taken in the last 12-18 months to improve the quality of the nonprofit’s governance. Entrants for this award had to submit their good governance initiatives, setting out (briefly – max 750 words) the governance issue(s) they addressed, the actions they took and the impact that this has had for the organisation.
A panel of judges with appropriate experience and expertise has been established to adjudicate shortlisted entries and select the winners. The awards will be adjudicated based on a desk based evaluation with a screening, shortlisting and judging process. It will be based on the information published in the annual reports & financial statements.
In 2019 there will be two award types and five entry categories for each award type. These are:
Category 1; for volunteer only and organisations with an annual turnover of less than €250,000
Category 2; for organisations with an annual turnover of between €250,000 and €1 million.
Category 3: for organisations with an annual turnover of between €1 million and €5 million.
Category 4: for organisations with an annual turnover of between €5 million and €15 million
Category 5; for organisations with an annual turnover of over €15 million.
A dedicated website www.goodgovernanceawards.ie acts as a central hub for the awards. It provides details on the entry criteria and categories, the panel of judges, guidance on how to take part and other resource information such as annual report templates. See the 2018 winners, click this link to the GGA website https://goodgovernanceawards.ie/winners-2018/
The winners will receive their award at a special event with invited guests and will feature a high profile key note speaker. Previous speakers were Laura Anderson from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, John Farrelly, Charity Regulator, Baroness Pitkeathley Chair of the House of Lord Select Committee on Charities and Kevin McCarthy, Secretary General of the Department of Rural and Community Development. The 2019 awards event will be held on the evening on 14th November in the National Concert Hall, Dublin.