Leave No Trace Ireland Governance Improvement Initiative Award Entry
Leave No Trace Ireland is an environmental non-profit company made up of organisations with a shared interest in promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation across Ireland. Leave No Trace Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital (CRO 465628) and with a CHY and CRA number (20657 and 20082178 respectively). It was officially established in 2008 and was granted charitable status in 2013. The organisation is managed by a voluntary Board of Directors. There are three subgroups that report to the Board. These include Corporate Governance, Education and Research, and Communications and Engagement.
Issues to Address
Leave No Trace Ireland since its establishment in 2008 has moved from a voluntary organisation into a professional one. With this growth trustees recognised the need for the development of a suite governance structures to build the organisation in line with best practice. As a new organisation structures, policies and procedures were built from the bottom-up.
To move from a voluntary to a professional organisation there were several issues encountered;
- Leave No Trace Ireland did not have a strategic plan
- There was no skills audit conducted for the Board
- The original company constitution had issues
- There was no designated group responsible for the creation of Leave No Trace Ireland’s policies and procedures
- Policies and procedures were not externally audited to check for best practice
To address the issues faced by Leave No Trace Ireland several steps have been taken to transform the governance of the organisation.
- To address the need for a strategic plan, a public consultation was held with members to develop our first Strategic Plan. This led to the creation of Leave No Trace Ireland’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 The Outdoors is Yours Protect It!
- Following on from the creation of our Strategic Plan, we have developed a Governance Handbook which outlines all of the organisation’s polices and procedures.
- To ensure Leave No Trace Ireland has the capability to deliver its mission, in line with best practice for an environmental non-profit, a skills audit for the Board, staff and volunteers was undertaken.
- To address and clarify the issues with the Company Constitution, Leave No Trace Ireland hosted an emergency general meeting (EGM) with our members to bring the organisation in line with good
- A Corporate Governance subgroup was established within the Board to undertake writing our policies and procedures. Last year we were awarded the code of good governance and are compliant with the Charities
- At each Board meeting, policies, under governance, are an agenda item. This is to ensure all new policies are presented to the Board for approval
- The Corporate Governance subgroup has scheduled audits to be conducted on the performance of the newly adopted governance policies by an external auditor. The subgroup is concentrating on 2-3 areas each year to audit and review policies and procedures. The first of these audits was carried out in March 2019 by Tom Martin, Business Mentor from Sport Ireland. To date an audit and review on the Data Protection Policy and Garda Vetting Policy and Child Protection Policy has been
- A separate legal review for the organisation’s Service Level Agreements for training centres has also been undertaken by our solicitor.
- Under the new Charities Governance Code, from the Charities Regulator, Leave No Trace will be compliant within the designated
An update of progress is presented to trustees at each Board meeting.
Impact for Leave No Trace Ireland
Creating our Strategic Plan has given Leave No Trace Ireland a clear focus and pathway to achieving our goals and furthering our charitable purpose. The inclusion of members through public consultation generated many good ideas and made the process of creating our strategic plan much more streamlined. It also allowed our Board the opportunity of meeting some of the organisation’s members as well allowed for members to increase their understanding of Leave No Trace and good governance.
We have successfully moved from a volunteer organisation to a professional charity and company. Without our governance structures this would not have been possible.
To date we are continuing to develop policies and procedures and now have professional input into their suitability for the organisation.