Nicva governance reviews proceed

Northern Ireland's voluntary sector umbrella group Nicva has completed the first of 40 governance reviews of charities as part of a programme to improve the sector's governance before new charity regulation comes into force.

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action spent a total of seven days with Banbridge and Craigavon Carers, spread over several months. It interviewed trustees and managers and provided a written report giving recommendations. It will also offer follow-up sessions.

Last year, the umbrella body received funding from the Northern Ireland Executive's Modernisation Fund to carry out 40 such reviews with organisations with incomes of less than £500,000.

"Governance is generally good in the sector," said Oonagh Kane, governance officer at Nicva. "But a lot of people haven't had any formal training, and they realise that with the forthcoming charity regulation they will need to formalise it."

Kane said that organisations taking part in the scheme were required to sign a form confirming that they would participate fully in the review process to ensure that the funding was well spent. She added: "Because we have limited resources, we don't want this to be a rubber stamp."

In a video posted on Nicva's website, Patricia Jordan, manager of Banbridge and Craigavon Carers, said: "Our procedures had never been reviewed and the organisation needed to become more up to date." The video is available at www.nicva.org.

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