ASI Subbmission to the Best Governance Improvement Initiative
Good Governance Awards September 2018

Introduction

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) advocates, empowers and champions the rights of people living with dementia and their communities to quality support and services. Our vision is an Ireland where people on the journey of dementia are valued and supported.

Working across the country in the heart of local communities, ASI provides over 140 dementia specific services and supports including a national Helpline, a dementia adviser service, day and respite centres, home care programmes, social clubs, Alzheimer Cafes, family carer education programmes, cognitive stimulation therapy and a mobile information service.

A national non-profit organisation and a registered charity we are person centred, rights-based and grassroots led with the voice of the person with dementia and their carer at our core.

Good Governance Initiatives 2017-2018

In 2016, the ASI Board established a Governance Committee,( which has subsequently become the Governance, Nomination & Remuneration (GNR) Committee), as part of its ongoing commitment to operating to high standards of good practice and transparency.

The Committee had a particular focus on completing the organisation’s journey with the Governance code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland, the ‘Governance Code’. To achieve this the following areas of work were identifed:

  • Reviewing ASI’s Memorandum of Understanding & Articles of Association in light of the Model Constitution, and in particular reviewing the rules around rotation of directors.
  • Supporting the Boards work to deliver a new strategic plan for 2018-2020 to clearly articulate the organisation’s vision, purpose and values
  • Reviewing the approach to recruitment, selection and induction of non-executive directors, with a particular emphasis on the skill mix required for the Board to deliver ASI’s strategic plan.

Achievements and Impact:

  • The ASI Board adopted our new Constitution in November 2016 and director’s rotation is now in line with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.
  •  In 2017, ASI completed the development of our Strategic Plan 2018-2020. Directors committed to an extensive consultation process within the organisation where people had an opportunity to express their view on our vision, mission, values, strengths, challenges and opportunities. This process delivered a unifying vision for ASI’s future.
  • The development of a comprehensive Board Handbook which sets out an induction programme and provides clear information about the role and legal duties of directors, role of the Chair and CEO, the organisation’s financial model, structure, strategy and values. This development supports directors to have a positive experience when joining the board and assists them in their role and in their decision making.
  • During 2017, the Committee reviewed the membership of the Board and recommended that new directors should be recruited to assist the Board in delivering its new strategy. The skills, expertise and experience required were identified and the following Directors subsequently completed the recruitment process and have been appointed to the Board:
  • To enhance the voice of the lived experience of dementia , Ronan Smith joined the board in December 2017. Ronan has served as a voluntary director on the boards of many arts organisations while working in the arts. Ronan has Alzheimer’s and he is also currently Chair of ASI’s Irish Dementia Working Group. He is the first person with dementia to be appointed to ASI’s board.
  • Enhancing our family carer representation, Ann Twomey joined in December 2017. Ann cared for her late husband, was co-founder of K-CoRD (Kinsale Community Response to Dementia). Ann is also a member of ASI’s Dementia Carers Campaign Network.
  • The recruitment of ASI Branch Chair Noel Heeney ensures the voice of ASI’s volunteer base around the country is strengthened.
  • The recruitment of directors with extensive education, financial management, legal and governance expertise led to the appointments of Patricia McParland, Taragh O’Connor, Kieran McGowan and Eugene McCague. All bring a wealth of talent and expertise to the organisation.

The new directors have brought diversity of thought and experience, enhancing the organisations ability to deliver our new strategy. Details of our Board at www.alzheimer.ie.

In light of the above achievements, in September 2017, ASI completed our journey with Governance code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland, the ‘Governance Code’. This is in addition to our compliance with The Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and Statement of Recommended Practice or SORP, giving us theTriple Lock Best Practice in Transparency & Accountability from the Charities Institute of Ireland.

For further information contact Samantha Taylor, Company Secretary
Call 01 207 3800 or email staylor@alzheimer.ie