2018 Best Governance Improvement Initiative
The Care Trust DAC (TCT) is owned by the Rehab Group and the Central Remedial Clinic and has been fundraising nationwide for these entities for over 40 years. TCT also fundraises, by arrangement, for the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH). From 2008 – 2017, TCT transferred €27 million to its beneficiaries. Contributors pay €15.00 a month and are entered into three lottery draws each month for Ford Fiesta cars and cash prizes.
Incorporated in 1974, TCT has charitable status (CHY 13691) with Revenue and is registered (20043285) with the Charities Regulatory Authority. It operates in accordance with the Companies Act, 2014 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956, (as amended).
Maintaining a Risk Register (RR) is a key requirement for good governance and, since 2015, TCT has regularly presented a comprehensive RR to its Board.
The RR is prepared in line with the principles of ISO 31000: 2009: Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines. Despite limited resources, it is deemed vital to have a RR in line with best practice. The RR is a simple model with individual risk references; category and description; the level of impact (consequences) and probability (likelihood). It incorporates mitigating controls; a calculation of the residual risk level; and assigns risk owners and references action plans. Risk levels are calculated via a basic numerical score (3/2/1).
TCT identified a need to make the RR a functional and meaningful resource across the organisation. Senior Management wanted it to be more interactive and accessible to staff, while the Board needed to retain high-level oversight of critical challenges.
TCT developed a RR Dashboard: a condensed front-end view of the register allowing oversight of key risks and current ratings. The Dashboard is securely hosted on a web-based platform, SharePoint, to allow users continual access. This facility gives comfort to the Board regarding the current risk environment and TCT’s robust controls. The Dashboard is also demonstrated at meetings with Field and Administration staff, to allow them understand key risks and the importance of controls. Staff are encouraged to input into plans for mitigation. It is included in staff inductions, e.g., ensuring new fundraisers appreciate challenges and are inducted to buy-in to the process.
The key aspect of this initiative is the integration of the RR with TCT’s comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This integration was necessary to ensure alignment of business continuity procedures with risk identification. The RR and BCP are fully cross-referenced, demonstrating connections and the interdependence between risks and continuity plans.
For instance, as a fundraising entity, instances of adverse publicity are a key risk. This is categorised as a Reputation/Financial risk and has a control rating of ‘adequate’, as we continually strive to manage exposure. As TCT Fundraisers conduct over 180,000 doorstep visits annually, this risk can’t be eradicated without impacting business. This year, an issue arose in the field regarding the sign-up of vulnerable persons. Despite existing controls, including the Fundraisers’ Code of Conduct, we were susceptible to complaints and adverse publicity. However, the alignment of the RR with the BCP ensured personnel understood the risk, potential impact and mitigating actions.
When the controls failed to fully mitigate this risk, the BCP came into operation. This established that TCT had in place (1) a Contributor Charter and Complaints Procedure with communication to the Board; (2) a Media Action Plan, for instances where the Complaints Procedure didn’t contain the issue. The BCP includes contact details for relevant personnel and media expertise, outlines the immediate steps required and facilitates a process whereby learnings feed back into the RR and governance framework.
The Dashboard’s functionality (linking the RR and BCP) has transformed these documents into useful reference points for all stakeholders, providing direct connections between risks and practical actions.
The Board continue to oversee TCT’s risk appetite and to strategize accordingly. At other levels of the organisation, key risks are identified, assessed and mitigating controls are designed and implemented. The Dashboard is secure but accessible to all as an interactive tool to note, monitor and manage risk.
Making good governance functional and operational is a key performance objective for TCT. We strive to embed the culture of good governance at all levels, empowering stakeholders to contribute to fulfilling TCT’s mission: to secure sustained charitable giving, in an open and transparent manner, so as to empower children and adults to live life to the full.
This initiative ensures TCT continues to uphold its core values: integrity and honesty; accountability; and transparency.