Roles, responsibilities and functions
The Charities Regulatory Authority (‘Charities Regulator’) was established on 16 October 2014 and is responsible for the regulation and protection of charitable trusts and organisations (charities). The Charities Regulator has a number of general functions under the Charities Act 2009 (‘the Act’) which are to:
- Increase public trust and confidence in the management and administration of charities;
- Promote compliance by charity trustees with their duties in the control and management of charities;
- Promote the effective use of the property of charities;
- Ensure the accountability of charities to donors and beneficiaries of charitable gifts, and the public;
- Promote understanding of the requirement that charitable purposes confer a public benefit;
- Establish and maintain a register of charities;
- Ensure and monitor compliance by charities with the Act;
- Encourage and facilitate the better administration and management of charities by the provision of information or advice, including in particular by way of issuing and approving guidelines, codes of conduct, and model constitutional documents, where deemed appropriate;
- Carry on such activities or publish such information (including statistical information) concerning charities and charitable trusts where deemed appropriate; and
- Provide information (including statistical information) or advice, or make proposals, to the Minister on matters relating to the functions of the Charities Regulator.
General description of the classes of records held by the Charities Regulator
The creation and maintenance of complete and accurate records is necessary to enable the Charities Regulator to carry out its business effectively and to meet its statutory obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, Data Protection Act 2018, and the National Archives Act 1986. Accordingly, records held by the Charities Regulator, the majority of which are filed on hard copy files, are created or received in the course of the Charities Regulator’s business and contain official information or data that relates directly to the business of the Charities Regulator. Examples of such records include:
- Records relating to the Charities Regulator’s origins, structure, functions, procedures, business and transactions;
- Agendas and minutes of meetings;
- Notes of significant telephone conversations;
- Records seeking approval for a course of action or decision;
- Records showing why a course of action or decision was not taken;
- Investigative papers; and
- Memoranda circulated for comment or approval by Ministers, Departments or Government.
Role of the Chief Executive
Section 20 of the Charities Act 2009 refers to the role of the Chief Executive and requires the individual in the role to carry out, manage and generally control the administration of the Authority and perform such functions as may be determined by the Authority.
The Chief Executive shall be accountable to the Authority for the efficient and effective management of the Authority and for the due performance of his or her functions.
The Chief Executive is appointed by the Board and has responsibility for the administration and management of the organisation.
The Chief Executive submits a report on the activities of the Charities Regulator as a standard item at Board meetings. The Chief Executive meets regularly with members of the executive management team, individually and collectively, to discuss progress in respective areas of responsibility, to consider cross-cutting issues and forward planning.
Role of the Authority
The Board of the Charities Regulatory Authority is required under the Charities Act 2009 to have no less than 9 members and no greater than 20. As per the Annual Report 2021 the Board currently comprises of 12 members and Chairperson. The Charities Regulatory Authority is committed to best practice structures, processes and systems that support the successful operation of duties in an ethical, accountable, transparent and effective manner. The Charities Regulatory Authority follows the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (2016). The Act allows for the establishment of Committees to:
(a) Assist and advise it in relation to the performance of any or all of its functions, and
(b) Perform such functions of the Authority as may stand delegated to them.
The Committees of the Charities Regulatory Authority established under Schedule 1 S.13 of the Act are the:
- Finance, Audit, Risk and Governance Committee (“FARG”);
- Charity Services Committee (“CSC”);
- Performance, Resource Planning and Advisory Committee (“PRPAC”); and
- Regulatory Committee.
The Authority may determine the terms of reference and regulate the procedure of a committee and with the consent of the Minister, may delegate such one or more of its functions as it considers appropriate to a committee. The Authority is responsible for appointing individuals to serve on Committees. Appointments to committees are approved by the Authority.
The Chairperson is responsible for leading the Board of the Authority in their functions as well as numerous others functions including but not limited to:
- both the Chairperson and the Chief Executive are responsible for effective management of the Board’s Agenda. This Agenda is set by the Chairperson in consultation with both the Board Secretary and the CEO;
- act as the Chairperson for meetings they attend;
- may convene an unscheduled Authority meeting;
- promote a culture of openness and debate by facilitating the effective contribution of key management and all Board members; and
- ensuring that the Board receives accurate, timely and clear information. The Chairperson should ensure effective communication with all relevant stakeholders.
Following each Board meeting the minutes will be published on the Charities Regulator’s website. These will first be assessed and reviewed in line with FOI and Data Protection Legislation to ensure personal or sensitive data is redacted. Any redactions applied must be approved by the Board at the following Board meeting before publication.
Corporate Governance Framework
The purpose of the Corporate Governance Framework is to provide a summary of the principal aspects of corporate governance within the Charities Regulator. The Charities Regulator Corporate Governance Framework is intended as a guide for everyone who works for, and on behalf of, the Charities Regulator, as well as those that the organisation serves. It sets out the standards of conduct the Charities Regulator expects from its employees and office holders, its values, and the governance systems and procedures, to which the Regulator seeks to adhere. This Governance Framework has been developed in accordance with the Corporate Governance Standard for the Civil Service. The principal document underpinning the governance of the Charities Regulator is the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.
This Framework, being descriptive in nature, reflects this Code of Practice. This Framework is intended to be a living document and will evolve in line with best practice. The Chief Executive and Board of the Charities Regulator will review the Framework on an annual basis, or otherwise as necessary, to ensure its effectiveness and expand the Framework as further policies are adopted.
Business Plans and Strategies
Under the terms of the Public Service Management Act 1997, there is a statutory requirement on all government departments and offices to produce a Statement of Strategy every three years. The Charities Regulator’s Statement of Strategy provides an outline of its mission and strategic goals. It sets out the current context facing its stakeholders and the organisation, and details the commitments that the Charities Regulator is making in terms of delivering on its strategic goals.
In accordance with the Public Service Management Act 1997, each year the Charities Regulator provides updates on the commitments in its Statement of Strategy through the Annual Report. The Report is intended as a means of monitoring activity, enabling assessment of the impact of the Charities Regulator’s Statement of Strategy. It is also an opportunity to highlight new issues or changing circumstances and as such is an important element in the Charities Regulator’s accountability process. The Annual Report is submitted to the Minister for Rural and Community Development, by 30th of June each year, for approval and laying before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
All Annual reports can be found on the Annual Report page on the website.
Organisation and Pay/Grading Structures
Pay scales and travel and subsistence rates for all public servants are agreed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Charities Regulator’s structure provides clear reporting lines and clarity on areas of responsibility. The responsibility for each of the Charities Regulator’s six Business Units is assigned at Principal Officer/Assistant Principal grade. Additional information on the structure of the Charities Regulator can be found on the website.
Location and Contact details for the Organisation
The Charities Regulator offices are situated at:
Charities Regulatory Authority,
3 Georges Dock,
The contact details for the available services offered by the Charities Regulator are:
- Freedom of Information/Access to Information on the Environment requests – FOI@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Data Protection queries - DPA@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Press Office Enquiries – Press@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Concerns or complaints relating to the Charities Regulator - Complaints@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Concerns and Complaints matters relating to Charities- Concerns@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Charities Governance Code enquiries - Governancecode@Charitiesregulator.ie;
- Charities Services unit - Charityservices@Charitiesregulator.ie; and
- Access Officer - Accessofficer@Charitiesregulator.ie.
Oversight and Assurance, Service Level Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) details
The Charities Regulator will ensure, on an annual basis, that the relevant agreements are signed. These Oversight arrangements and MoUs, which are jointly signed off by the relevant Secretary Generals and the Chief Executive of the Charities Regulator, set out agreed levels of performance/service in respect of the Body for the year ahead. They also allow for the adoption of both annual and multi-annual targets, and the development of output and outcome indicators including milestones to measure performance against targets.
The Charities Regulator also enters into MoUs with other agencies. These MoUs provides a framework for a close working relationship between the Charities Regulator and other agencies. It supports cooperation and collaboration in the interest of ensuring appropriate sharing and assessment of information by both parties, in the interest of upholding the integrity of charitable organisations and charitable trusts in Ireland and supporting public confidence in charities operating in Ireland or under Irish law.
The Charities Regulator publishes all MoUs on its website.
Customer Charter and Action Plan
The purpose of the Charities Regulator Customer Charter and Action Plan is to set out the standard of service the Charities Regulator aims to provide to its customers and to ensure that all engagements are carried out in accordance with the 12 Principles of Quality Customer Service. The Charites Regulator’s work greatly depends on a healthy and mutually respectful relationship with its stakeholders therefore the Charities Regulators aim is to engage with its customers in a courteous manner, to ensure the timely delivery of services and to be informative and effective in our engagement.