In 2018 Mercy Law Resource Centre, a charity fully compliant with Revenue and the Charities Regulator obligations, began to further enhance its governance provisions in alignment with Ireland’s new Charities Governance Code.
The Board, which has a diverse range of skills and a good gender balance, has recently started gearing up for the review and renewal of policies, systems and processes – with training and advice from the Carmichael Centre – to ensure it complies fully with the Charities Governance Code.
MLRC is well placed to demonstrate good governance under each of the six principles of the Code, and is working to gather the documentation that the Regulator will require of charities to evidence that the principles are being put into action through 32 core standards.
MLRC has increased the visibility of its work and processes through extensive, yet accessible, documentation on a newly upgraded website, including staff and board details, annual reports and audited accounts, Strategic Plan 2019-2024, and details of funders.
The MLRC team, Board and stakeholders started work in 2018 to develop a new Strategic Plan, important for clarity around the future direction of the organisation as well as for Governance Code requirements. The Strategic Plan, approved by the Board in May 2019 and which will be formally launched in autumn 2019, clarified four strategic objectives as well as two enabling objectives: to be a learning and supportive organisation, and to ensure sustainability, transparency and accountability.
The Centre’s four core objectives from 2019 to 2024 include:
- Providing free, accessible and effective legal advice and representation to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
- Offering legal support and training to stakeholder organisations and professionals working on homelessness, social housing and related social welfare law;
- Effecting positive policy and social change for its client group, grounded in the Centre’s casework and research;
- Providing a befriending service to benefit clients who are particularly without supports.
MLRC always strives, too, to achieve its objectives transparently and with integrity – in line with its founding ethos of respect for dignity, and commitment to the principles of human rights, social justice and equality.
In that light, the Centre was very gratified to see clients, partner organisations, interns and others use words like dedication, passion, compassion, commitment and empowerment – as well as expertise, quality and impact – in their comments through the 2018 Annual Report. MLRC will continue to check that it is living its values through the Strategic Plan period and beyond.