Aware is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate and clinical governance across all areas of its work. Aware is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. A voluntary Board of Directors is responsible for the strategic development and governance oversight of the charity on behalf of its Members (also voluntary).
13 full-time and eight part-time staff are employed. With over 45,000 people participating in Aware’s services in 2015; 285,000 unique visits to the Aware website, and only 15% of annual income received from the state, staff with relevant professional competencies and skills are required to ensure the organisation and its services operate effectively, professionally and in line with clinical best practice.
Staff also work to ensure the organisation complies with legal requirements under a wide range of Acts, policies and charters including: Registration with the Charities Regulatory Authority; Garda vetting; data protection legislation; employment legislation; health & safety legislation; Children First guidelines; the Irish Charities Tax Reform Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising, and the new Lobbying Act 2015. Aware’s annual accounts are published on aware.ie each year and also filed with the Companies Registration Office.
Board of Directors
- Membership of Aware’s Board of Directors is entirely voluntary and no remuneration is paid to the directors. All directors are Garda vetted and are also required to sign the Aware Volunteer Agreement; this means they are committing to the ethos and culture of Aware and committing to compliance with Aware’s policies and procedures.
- Aware’s Board of Directors meets six times per year and minutes are recorded at every meeting. These minutes are circulated to the directors after each meeting.
- Membership of the Board of Directors is based on:
- Professional competencies and required skill sets (e.g. finance, legal). Many of the directors were sourced through Boardmatch Ireland, the national organisation working to match professionals with not-for-profit boards.
- Voluntary commitment to Aware: Having volunteered with the organisation for a period of time and understanding Aware’s ethos and culture, or currently delivering Aware’s services.
- The board has a number of working committees including a Finance Committee which is chaired by a qualified accountant and practising barrister, and includes the Chairman of Aware who is also a qualified and experienced accountant.
- Aware services are independently and regularly evaluated to ensure effectiveness and any recommendations are considered and implemented by the board and senior management.
- An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held each year to approve the company’s accounts. All directors (excepting office holders) retire from the board at the AGM and are eligible for reappointment at that meeting.
- The Board of Directors report to the Members of Aware. The Members meet independently of the board a number of times per year.
- Other board committees include a Clinical Committee, Services Committee, and Strategic Review Committee.
- The board and Finance Committee have approved a range of financial policies and procedures which are subject to review and external independent audit each year.
- Aware is independently audited (current auditors are PWC) and annual accounts are published each year in line with best practice. The accounts are posted online for members of the public to view.
- The 2015 accounts have been prepared in accordance with the new standard FRS102 (The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland). FRS102 is the applicable standard for Public Benefit entities whose financial statements are intended to give a true and fair view of the financial position and income and expenditure for a period.
- The Board of Directors agreed a Strategic Plan for the organisation for the years 2014-2017 and as the organisation is now in year three of that plan, the Board is currently developing a Strategic Plan for 2017-2020.
Fundraising, Income and Expenditure
- Aware is fully committed to achieving the standards contained within the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising from the Irish Charities Tax Reform group. The Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising exists to:
- Improve fundraising practice
- Promote high levels of accountability and transparency by organisations fundraising from the public
- Provide clarity and assurances to donors and prospective donors about the organisations they support
- Cash and cheque donations are receipted and recorded.
- Donations received online through aware.ie receive an automated thank you reply for the donor’s records; further receipt is provided on request.
- Donations received from charity fundraising online giving websites (e.g. justgiving.ie, everydayhero.ie) are lodged directly to Aware’s Fundraising bank account by the websites and a monthly report is issued to the charity.
- All payments have to be authorised for payment by the Accounts administrator independent of the CEO and then approved by the CEO. Before any of these authorised payments are paid out they must be submitted to the Chairman of the Finance committee and the Chairman of Aware for approval for payment. Only when both of these directors have approved payments can they be made.
- Any out-of-pocket expenses must be vouched and receipts attached.
- 13 full-time and eight part-time staff are employed to manage Aware’s services and provide associated required administration support. All staff are Garda vetted.
- No one in the organisation earns more than €95,000 per annum and no bonuses or health insurance premiums are paid to senior management.
- Aware’s support services are managed by individual service managers and are delivered by 350 trained volunteers across the country. Volunteers take part in a rigorous recruitment process before they are accepted for training and all volunteers are Garda vetted.
- All volunteers receive initial and ongoing training from Aware, and in 2015 the organisation was awarded the Investing in Volunteers Standard in recognition of the quality of training provided.
- Volunteers and services operate in line with Aware’s policies and procedures.
- As part of the volunteer training and recruitment process all volunteers are required to sign the Aware Volunteer Agreement; this means they are committing to the ethos and culture of Aware and committing to compliance with Aware’s policies and procedures.
- Aware’s education programmes are delivered by professional trainers who are trained and employed by Aware on a contract basis to deliver standardised programmes. A set fee per session is applied. All trainers are Garda vetted.