What is the governance issue that KYS addressed?
There were 4 key issues that Kildare Youth decided to address at governance level in the year leading up to our AGM in November, 2018:
- To change an outdated membership structure to ensure the Board of Directors better represents the current of range of KYS Stakeholders i.e. clubs, projects and services we provide and the young people and families we provide these services for.
- To seek to increase the membership of our Board which had reduced in recent years despite consistent unsuccessful efforts to increase these lower numbers.
- To establish a structure to place the young people we work with central to the governance and decision making structures of the organisation.
- To ensure KYS governance framework is legally compliant and operating to best governance practice.
How did you go about addressing it (the approach)
- Updated Constitution and Governance Related Documentation
KYS engaged in a consultation process with our current Board, projects and clubs to revise/update our Constitution (Memo & Arts). This process led to the establishment of an Electoral College voting system to achieve a greater level of representation across the organisation.
The document was revised, presented and approved at our AGM in 2018. The new Electoral College provides for representation from our youth clubs (5 people), youth projects (3), therapeutic projects (2), Junior Board representatives (2), and co-options (6) with identified areas of expertise.
The organisation has also undertaken a review process of its governance framework to ensure it is legally compliant and operating to best governance practice, including the following actions:
- Governance Policy & Procedure redrafted.
- Finance Policy & Procedure redrafted to ensure it is SORP compliant.
- Data Protection and Child Protection Policies reviewed against legislation and good governance practices.
- Self-Assessment undertaken against new Charity Regulator Governance Code. Kildare Youth Service is compliant and will submit itself in 2020.
- Promotional Campaign
KYS initiated an internal promotional campaign across our clubs and projects and externally with our partner agencies and business sector to identify and encourage individuals to put themselves forward for consideration for election to our Board of Directors.
The campaign was extremely successful with 8 new members coming forward for election at our November AGM under the new Electoral College systems. Two further people have since come forward and our current Board of Directors now has 14 members
- KYS Junior Board
Establishment of a Junior Board to engage the young people we work with and make them central to decision making within the organisation (two positions on the Senior Board allocated for Junior Board members under new Electoral College system).
KYS carried out a process providing information briefings to all our youth projects and groups, followed by meetings with 160 young people to help them understand the potential role of a Junior Board within KYS. 37 Young People put their names forward for interview with 15 selected post interview, representing Athy, Clane, Dunlavin, Leixlip, Naas, Sallins and The Curragh. Since establishment in November 2018, the Junior Board has:
- Supported the development of “Life on Line” questionnaire to look at young people’s positive and negative interactions with social media and the online world.
- Had their own consultation session on new KYS Strategic Plan with externally engaged consultants.
- Attended three day residential training to develop their capacity, draft their Terms of Reference, propose a structure for engaging with the Senior Board and establish a process for future election to the Junior Board.
- Attended a Political Briefing organised by Youth Work Ireland and presented on issues facing them directly to local TD’s.
What has been the impact/difference made/lessons learnt as a result of the initiative you have taken
- Board Membership increased from 5 members at November, 2018 AGM to 14.
- Officer positions of Chairperson, Treasurer and Company Secretary newly filled.
- Governance & Finance Policies & Procedures has been redrafted
- KYS ready to submit itself to Charity Regulator Governance Code.
The overall impact has been to significantly strengthen our Governance structure and policies.
We have also achieved a greater level of engagement by all our stakeholders.
The key lesson we have learned relates to the young people we work with. It is clearly evident that if you actively engage with young people they are interested and capable of participating at decision making and governance level and add significant value and insight to the organisation in making and taking decisions that impact on their lives.