The Charities Regulator is fully committed to promoting a positive working environment that takes account of the needs of individuals, while at the same time meeting the needs of the organisation. In line with our Statement of Strategy 2022-2024, the next three years will see further organisational development of the Charities Regulator as part of our efforts to continue to build an effective, efficient regulatory authority. The Charities Regulator continues to focus on strengthening and supporting its senior management team and ensuring that staff across the organisation have the skills and expertise to deliver on our strategic objectives and develop in their roles.
The Charities Regulator is made up of 5 separate business units. Here is an outline of the functions and objectives of each of those.
Registration and Reporting
The key functions of the Registration and Reporting Unit are as follows:
- To maintain and further develop an effective registration system for charities
- To register charities according to the registration policy and process
- To establish and maintain an effective reporting system for charities
- To provide support and guidance to organisations applying or considering applying for registration
- To maintain the Register of Charities
Compliance and Enforcement
The key functions of the Compliance and Enforcement Unit are as follows:
- To promote compliance by charity trustees with their duties in the control and management of charities;
- To ensure and monitor compliance by charitable organisations with the Charities Acts;
- To carry out investigations in accordance with the Charities Acts;
- To encourage and facilitate the better administration and management of charitable organisations by the provision of information or advice.
The section engages with the public and relies on a good relationship with the public to carry out its work.
Charity Services unit
The Charity Services Unit is responsible for managing requests for the consent or direction of the Charities Regulator in relation to practical matters which affect how charities deal with their property, assets, internal governance or continue to provide services to their beneficiaries.
Applications may be made by charities and other persons under the Charities Acts 1961 and 1973, as amended. The Charity Services Unit incorporates the functions previously vested in the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland (CCDB), which were transferred to the Charities Regulator further to section 82 of the Charities Act 2009, following the dissolution of the CCDB pursuant to Part 6 of the Charities Act 2009.The range of applications which can be made to the Charity Services Unit includes:
- The appointment of New Charity Trustees – section 43 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended;
- The authorisation of disposition of lands held upon charitable trusts – sections 34 and 37 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended:
- Consent to a Sale of Charity Property for Full Value
- Consent to a Transfer/ Sale of Charity Property between Charities for less than Full Value
- Consent to a Lease of Charity Property
- Consent to a Surrender of a Lease of Charity Property
- Consent to a Mortgage of Charity Property
- Consent to an Exchange of Charity Property
- Settling a Cy-Près Scheme where the original objects of a charity, charitable bequest or charitable trust fail – Section 29 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended;
- Giving an Opinion or Advice in relation to the administration, property of a charity under the Authority’s Seal – Section 21 of the Charities Act 1961;
- Sanctioning a Compromise in relation to a claim made by or against a charity – Section 22 of the Charities Act 1961;
- Authorising the merger of one charity with another or transfer of assets to another charity, where there are limitations (or no power to do so) in the charities’ governing documents or limitations in the terms of the original trusts on which their charity assets are held;
- Authorising the institution of legal proceedings in a charity matter – section 25 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended;
- Notification of litigation / legal proceedings involving a charity – section 53 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended;
- Assisting with the examination of Summary ‘PAS3’ Forms received from the Probate Office supplying details of all charitable bequests – section 52 of the Charities Act 1961, as amended.
Corporate Affairs is an internal support service, responsible primarily for ensuring compliance with a number of governance obligations and improving corporate policies, procedures and outcomes. It is also responsible for organising, overseeing the effective use of, and resolving any resourcing difficulties in order that the Charities Regulator achieves its strategic objectives:
Corporate Affairs oversees:
- Human Resources;
- Financial Resources;
- ICT Resources;
- Freedom of Information requests;
- Secretarial Support for the Authority;
- Quality Management System (QMS);
- Office Accommodation.
The unit is also responsible for supporting the Charities Regulator’s overall information governance arrangements.
Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
The Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Unit is responsible primarily for engaging with the public on the Charities Regulator’s behalf. This includes:
- Handling media queries and press releases;
- Managing website and social media content;
- Organising public consultation events.
In addition, they handle interactions between the Charities Regulator and TDs, Ministers and other stakeholders, and handle the translation of material and correspondence into Irish.
The executive management team consists of:
Helen was appointed Chief Executive in April 2019. She joined the Charities Regulator as Director of Regulation in March 2017. Helen is a solicitor and previously worked in the Office of the Attorney General. Helen also worked in the private sector for over 10 years and during that time worked as a senior associate in the Regulatory and Competition law unit of a large firm and as an in-house legal and regulatory adviser for two telecommunications companies. Helen holds a Barrister-at-Law Degree, a Bachelor of Civil Law Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in EC Competition Law.
Thomas Mulholland joined the Charities Regulator in November 2019 as Director of Compliance and Enforcement. He oversees the concerns function within the Regulator and also has responsibility for investigations. Thomas has significant experience in investigations and insolvency having previously worked in the Corporate Enforcement Authority. Thomas is an ACCA qualified accountant with a further 15 years’ experience in private practice. He holds a Diploma in Forensic Accounting, a Diploma in Insolvency, and a Degree in Accounting and Finance.
Madeleine joined the Charities Regulator in March 2021 as Director of Legal Affairs & Registration. She has responsibility for the Registration function, the Charity Services function and for the provision of legal advice and assistance across the organisation. Madeleine is a practicing solicitor and worked for a number of years in private practice before joining the public sector. She worked with the Pensions Authority in a legal and compliance role, and more recently she was Head of Legal at the Office of the Ombudsman, (including the Office of the Information Commissioner, and the Standards in Public Office Commission). Madeleine holds an LLB and LLM, postgraduate diplomas in Regulatory Management and in Public Management and has a Masters in Leadership and Strategy.
Ger is Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement. She previously worked in the private sector with agencies in Dublin and London, specialising in strategic communications, reputation management and stakeholder engagement. Ger holds a degree in Communications and a postgraduate certificate in Digital Marketing from DCU.
Niall Scanlon was appointed Head of Finance in July 2019. Niall is responsible for leading the finance function of the organisation, he oversees all aspects of financial control, including statutory and regulatory requirements, financial reporting, and budget development. As a member of senior management he actively contributes to the achievement of the Charities Regulator’s strategic objectives. Prior to joining the Charities Regulator, Niall held various senior finance positions within the private sector. He holds a Bachelor of Business (Hons) and is a Fellow member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Malachy Cardiff is the Head of Corporate Affairs and Secretary to the Board for the Charities Regulator. Malachy has responsibility for the governance and the operations of the Charities Regulator. Previously Malachy worked in the charity and private sectors in both the UK and Ireland, holding various governance and management positions. Malachy has a degree in Economics (UCD), Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies (UCD – Smurfit Graduate Business School), Certificate Company Secretarial Law and Practice (Law Society of Ireland), Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance (UCD – Smurfit Graduate Business School) and is a CIMA qualified accountant.
Seán O’Connor was appointed as Head of Charity Services in February 2021. He leads the Charity Services Unit, which deals with applications from charitable organisations for the consent or direction of the Charities Regulator in respect of practical matters such as the sale or transfer of charity property, changes to trustees, litigation, or changes to the application of charity assets. He is Legal Advisor and Secretary to the Charity Services Committee which considers these applications. Seán also provides legal advice across the organisation. Seán previously trained and worked as solicitor in top tier law firms in the private sector for over 7 years, specialising in charity governance, trusts, property and tax. He is a solicitor; a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP); and an AITI Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA). He holds a Bachelor of Civil Law Degree (Law & French) from UCC, a Diploma in Trust and Estate Planning, and a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership from UCD.
Meagan Gill was appointed Head of Registration in March 2021. She leads on the maintenance of a Public Register of Charities, including annual reporting, to underpin trust and confidence in charities. Meagan has significant experience in the public sector with a particular focus on consumer protection. She holds an a Bachelor of Arts from UCD, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies from UCD – Smurfit Graduate Business School, an Advanced Diploma in Data Protection from the Honourable Society of King’s Inn, a Certified Project Management Diploma from the Institute of Project Management of Ireland and a Diploma in Mediation and Conciliation from the Independent College Dublin.
Alan is a qualified barrister and legal advisor to the Charities Regulator. Prior to joining he was a legal advisor in the Data Protection Commission prior having previously worked for a number of years in the private sector as a legal advisor and head of compliance. Alan has a BA in History and French from UCC, a Diploma in Legal Studies and Barrister-at-Law degree from King’s Inns.
Jelena is Head of Compliance Monitoring with responsibility for monitoring compliance with the Charities Governance Code, having led its roll out in 2018. An ACCA qualified accountant, she worked in private practice in the area of corporate and personal insolvency prior to joining the Charities Regulator in 2017.
Here are some of the documents and policies that inform the work of the Charities Regulator: