Jillian van Turnhout to review Scouting Ireland

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has ordered a second review of Scouting Ireland operations. She has asked Jillian van Turnhout, who last year carried out an external governance review, to examine if the scouting body had comprehensively implemented the recommendations in the original review.

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Update 31 January 2020

Statement by Jillian van Turnhout, Review of Scouting Ireland

“In December 2019, Minister Katherine Zappone appointed me to undertake a follow-up review of the current governance of Scouting Ireland, with a particular focus on the implementation, or otherwise, of recommendations contained in my report on the organisation published in June 2018.

Following my appointment, an issue was raised by an individual in Scouting Ireland regarding a potential conflict of interest relating to me undertaking this specific piece of work. I have considered the matter carefully and I am satisfied that there is no conflict of interest. I am, however, conscious of the pressing need to complete the governance review of Scouting Ireland to enable the Minister to finalise funding decisions concerning the organisation. I would not wish for any further discussion on a perceived conflict of interest, regardless of its validity or otherwise, to be employed in a manner which may have the effect of frustrating or delaying this important work: the review and future sustainability of Scouting Ireland is simply too important.

As a consequence, I have asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to appoint a different independent governance expert to undertake this vital piece of work

I will not be making any further public comment on this matter.”

Zappone appoints Jillian van Turnhout to monitor scouts

Article from The Irish Times, 1st May 2018

Minister says she will restore funding when assured governance at required standard

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has appointed former senator Jillian van Turnhout to assess the implementation of Scouting Ireland’s governance reforms.

Ms Zappone informed the Dáil that “I have asked Jillian van Turnhout as an independent expert to examine this situation over the coming weeks”.

She said: “In accordance with her terms of reference she is being asked to provide me with a clear assessment of the adequacy of Scouting Ireland’s governance arrangements and to advise me on whether I can be assured about scouting Ireland governance and related matters.”

Ms van Turnhout, a former chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance and former chief commissioner of Irish Girl Guides, was appointed in the last few days, the Minister said.

She will work with the Minister to ensure the pledged reforms by Scouting Ireland of their governance process “are in the best interests” of the organisation.

This follows the controversy over the handling by senior members of the organisation of a rape complaint in 2016. Four senior volunteers have temporarily stood aside after they were criticised in a confidential review by child protection expert Ian Elliott.

Mr Elliott’s review led to the establishment of a barrister-led inquiry of the handling of the complaint, in which an adult volunteer in 2016 claimed she was raped by a male leader on a camping trip in 2009.

Ms Zappone said Scouting Ireland had pledged to implement all the recommendations of Mr Elliott’s report but “a lot of work” and action had to be completed and Ms van Turnhout will keep her informed about that implementation in the coming weeks.

Confidence

Labour’s Sean Sherlock asked if the Minister had full confidence in the process underway in Scouting Ireland and in relation to historical cases, following reports that a file had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over an alleged case of child sexual abuse during a scout camping trip in 2014, at Larch Hill, south Co Dublin by an active male leader in the organisation.

Mr Sherlock asked if there was “only one sample cases or are there other further complaints”.

He also asked the Minister when she would restore funding to the organisation and if she acknowledged the work of the thousands of volunteers in the organisation.

Mr Sherlock added that there “seems to be a disparity between what happens at the head of the organisation and the bottom of the organisation”.

Ms Zappone said that all her actions were guided by her “deep respect” for the volunteer ethos of the organisation.

She said she had funded Scouting Ireland until the end of June. They had received €430,000 this year in State funding. “Scouting Ireland have informed me that they have reserves,” she said.

But Ms Zappone said when she is assured “that I can accept their governance, at that point I will restore their funding”.

She said she had not seen Mr Elliott’s report and expected to receive his review with the inquiry report, which is due at the end of May. She said it would be useful if the report was published, but usually legal advice was necessary for this.

Jillian van Turnhout appointed to Governance Committee of WAGGGS

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. The diverse Movement represents ten million girls and young women from 150 countries. For more than 100 years Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world.

I was recently appointed to its GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE, the purpose of which is to evaluate and advance effective governance policies and practices at the global, regional and Member Organisation level:

  • Oversee all matters relating to Member Organisation constitutions and bye-laws and WAGGGS Constitution and Bye-Laws;
  • Apply knowledge of CIO regulations and responsibilities and of relevant UK Law to ensure compliance as well as strengthen WAGGGS’ current and future position;
  • Review key governance policies which pose potential benefits or barriers to MO success and make recommendations for improvement;
  • Communicate and promote adoption of best practices in Board governance to continually strengthen leadership from the MOs to the World Board;
  • Plan and oversee preparations for governance aspects of Regional and World Conferences, including development of conference Rules of Procedure and training and guidance of Procedural Teams;
  • Offer advice and support for board orientation and development throughout the Movement;
  • Monitor Committees’ and Working Groups’ compliance with Terms of Reference and recommend changes to processes and practices based on these observations.
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    Members:

    Jayne Wachira (Kenya) (Chair)
    Katerina Agorogianni (Greece)
    Helene Gestrin (Sweden)
    Fiona Bradley (New Zealand)
    Deborah del Duca (Canada)
    Jillian van Turnout (Ireland)
    Candela Gonzalez (Argentina)
    Ana María Mideros (Peru) (ex-officio)
    Tashia Batstone (Canada) (ex-officio)
    David Coe (ex-officio)
    Staff lead: Clare Parry

    Governance Workshop

    I was honoured to train the Board of Aidlink Ireland. It is great to see the passion, diligence and rigour it brings to its work. And very happy with the feedback on Twitter:

    “Many thanks to @JillianvT and @CarmichaelCntr for an excellent workshop with @AidlinkIreland board of directors today on governance and effectiveness. Challenging, relevant & current.”

    10:22 AM – 27 Jan 2018