Chairperson statement to CIDP AGM 2018
This is the third AGM I have chaired for CIDP, and in reflecting on what I would like to say, I recently looked back at the statements I made at our AGMs in 2016 and 2017. The positive progress we were making on a number of fronts was necessarily set against a background of difficulties all laid bare in a bitterly disappointing HSE Internal Audit report released last summer. Two years of work, both anticipating and addressing the findings, are now behind us. A much greater proportion of our time can now be spent preparing the future rather than remedying the past; all our energy and enthusiasm can be directed towards the core mission of CIDP and our contribution to social good within the deaf community.
I thank the Board and staff for coming on the journey thus far: the generous and voluntary commitment of Board members has provided steady leadership and direction, as well as a reservoir of experienced advisors to guide the organisation through change, increased regulation and more intensive and necessary public scrutiny. I also thank all my Board colleagues for giving extra time to serve on Board Committees. Here as well, external members kindly lend us their expertise, reinforcing the independence of our governance tier and guarding us against “group-think” at Board or management level.
Our residents and service users judge us on their front-line experience and I – and the Board – greatly appreciate the leadership of our central team and senior managers, and the range of work by our staff on a daily basis. Most especially, I thank our CEO, Keith, for his pivotal role in CIDP over the past couple of years and his commitment to taking the organisation forward to end 2020. The transformation he has already achieved, his drive, and his understanding of the not-for-profit sector, reinforce my own confidence about what we can achieve in the period ahead.
The time and effort put into improved governance and updated policies and procedures has paid off – we have completed the Governance Code journey; we have met our HSE annual compliance requirements; St Joseph’s House has met HIQA re-registration requirements; our Safeguarding Policy has been updated to reflect the coming into effect in 2017 of the Childrens’ Act 2015. We have reviewed and updated our statement of values in preparation for the development of a new strategy for the post 2020 period.
We are also looking outwards, well beyond CIDP itself. We have finalised the contract arrangements for the new nursing home on the Navan Road, which will have dedicated provision for members of the Deaf Community who wish to avail of nursing home care. We continue to be actively engaged with DVI on the transfer of control of National Deaf Village Sports and Leisure Company, and Inspire Fitness, to DVI for the benefit of the Deaf Village. The National Chaplaincy undertakes a major workload of pastoral and social outreach both in Dublin and throughout the country, crowned by a successful pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Autumn 2017.
Our biggest current initiative is the St Joseph’s House project under the HSE’s Time to Move On policy focusing on supported living in the community. With John Lamont’s guidance on behalf of the Board, Tara McBreen’s dedication as Project Manager, the Transition Team led by Linda, and Geraldine’s leadership of all our committed staff in SJH, we are working through the complexity of this project whilst at all times keeping each person in SJH at the central in our focus. Our central objective, giving choice, control and decision making about their lives back to our residents, to the greatest extent possible, will be achieved in a careful and phased manner, with our own and HSE support. CIDP’s relationship with our residents, however, will remain just as strong and supportive in de-congregated settings as in SJH.
CIDP continues to provide significant support to Holy Family School for the Deaf, and another key initiative will be our project to integrate the boarding residences, creating a stronger and more homely environment for young people attending the school. This will also be an important step towards the longer-term objective of a fully integrated educational campus with Holy Family School at its centre.
Life is not all “plain sailing” of course – CIDP is cash poor and has to continue to find savings, and make its case to Government funders alongside many others in the not-for-profit sector. But I thank the Board, CEO and staff for all the improvements we have achieved, and I ask you to be ambitious and energetic in the year ahead so that we can do more to meet the needs and aspirations of our residents and service users.