Chairperson statement to CIDP AGM 2016
I will begin this brief statement by thanking the Board and staff for their commitment and hard work throughout the past year. A lot happens across a complex organisation in a year; our services to residents and students are founded on the dedication and competence of staff on a daily basis, as well as on the rigour and independence of the Board members, given on a voluntary but part-time basis. Both staff and voluntary commitment are essential to the good functioning of the organisation.
Yesterday, I reviewed all of the Board minutes for 2015, which clearly was a difficult year, financially, for CIDP. The accounts demonstrate the fragility of our position at year end; income from the sale of land at Brewery Road was slow coming in, and there was temporary borrowing from the Esther Foy Fund to meet immediate expenses. Importantly, all services were maintained and bills were met, but it was evident that significant changes needed to be made.
Since this time last year we have both advanced matters which were in train and taken necessary new initiatives also:
- St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Schools have been amalgamated, and the successor Holy Family School is successfully into operation – supporting its further development is an important priority for us,
- Outstanding matters in relation to the Sisk construction contract have been addressed, and we are almost at finality in relation to the required remedial works; in particular we can now move forward with energy auditing and efficiency measures,
- St Joseph’s House continues to operate under HIQA accreditation and planning and development of potential options for its re-location to Cabra are now being intensified,
- The Board is actively leading the updating of our Safeguarding policy, with a view to full compliance with the Children First Act 2015 when this is commenced,
- Detailed review of costs has substantially reduced reliance on consultancy, resulted in new financial and budgetary procedures being initiated, and led to a re-structuring of administrative services with greater efficiency and some new employment opportunities,
- Board governance training has been undertaken and new Board committees put in place, beginning a period of renewal to ensure best practice compliance with the Code of Governance for the charities sector.
Above all, our continuing commitment to the vision for Deaf Village Ireland is a core value for us, and a Working Group comprising the Chairs and CEO/Managers of CIDP, DVI and NDVSLC has been formed to look at how we best achieve this.
In my 6 -7 months here as Chair, I have been welcomed and supported, and have seen much that is very positive and progressive – in the work of the national chaplaincy, in the school and school residences, in St Joseph’s House, and in our CEO’s energy, expertise and sure guidance – but we know we have work to do. It is now our task as a Board to lead and deepen the renewal to which I have just referred. As part of that renewal, we will also review our Strategy and clarify our key priorities for the next three years. I look forward to working with the Board, the Executive and indeed the other companies and organisations here, as appropriate, in these regards over the coming year.