Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Wednesday) proposed the establishment of a quality standard for charities, to help restore confidence in the sector. Senator Noone added that this quality mark could be awarded to charities that adhere to certain standards, such as publishing annual accounts and using a fixed amount of donations to pay for administration.
“Charitable donations have slumped this Christmas, in no small part due to the fallout from the top-ups scandal at the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC). The St Vincent de Paul has suffered a massive 25% drop in donations, and there is little doubt that other voluntary organisations are experiencing a similar drop-off in charitable giving.
“Public confidence in the charity sector is understandably shaken, and we need to have an urgent reappraisal of how we can benchmark and grade our charities. Establishing a quality standard for charities would help people to feel that they are donating with confidence, safe in the knowledge that their money will be spent on services for the vulnerable or needy.
“A set of standards, to include simple measures such as publishing annual accounts and committing to spend a fixed percentage of donations on administration, could easily be drawn up by the charities sector. A logo to represent the ‘Charities Quality Standard’ could be displayed by organisations in compliance. This would be a simple and effective way to give the public reassurance that they are giving to reputable sources.
“The significant drop in donations to the St Vincent de Paul and other worthy organisations highlights the urgent necessity for action. But I believe that if charities can come together quickly enough, the sector can respond positively by embracing regulation and reform. We must ensure that hard-working charities serving the needs of vulnerable people do not suffer in the long-term as a result of irresponsible behaviour by a minority within the sector.”