Jillian van Turnhout delivers training for Charities Regulator

I am honoured to be one of the panel of trainers for the Charities Regulator to deliver online training for charity trustees. The training is designed to support charities to apply the six core principles and meet the 32 core standards contained in the Charities Governance Code.

As a trainer, it is energising to “meet” such dedicated volunteers.

All training is of course delivered via Zoom from my dedicated home office.



If you are involved in a charity, ensure you are signed up:




New ways of work – using Zoom for Board meetings

As we all adjust to this new reality, we need to find new ways to connect and ensure good governance of our organisations whilst supporting the government’s public health advice. One way is to utilise Zoom video conference.

If you have don’t have a subscription, you will have to limit your time to 40 minutes – although Zoom have lifted this limit for some groups and organisations. I have had a subscription for the past year and have found it good value – even more so in recent weeks. As a first step, you need to set up a Zoom account basic (up to 40 minutes) or a pro account (€13.99 per month) or business (€18.99 per month).

The next step is to sign in to Zoom and ‘Schedule a Meeting’. Zoom gives instructions on how to do this, but here are some tips:
• Allow others to join before the host (recommend you use a password)
• Mute all participants
• Put video on for all
• Consider using the option to add a password for entry or enable a waiting room
• Ensure you give the meeting a name relevant to all, e.g. Organisation Name Board meeting
• Under ‘Audio’ ensure you add the option for a dial-in from Ireland (default is set to the USA only)

I would strongly encourage the use of video where possible as it helps the dynamics of the meetings and allows for increased engagement. If a Board member(s) can only join via audio, then use the chat feature to alert the chair you wish to speak.

If everyone uses video, with your mic on mute, it cuts down on background noises. When you wish to speak, raise your hand or take the mic off mute. Using video is handy as it allows for Board members to nod in agreement with the chair or a member can raise their hand to input.

Like any board meeting, ensure you have a clear agenda, front load items needing decision and be clear about the purpose for each agenda item. It is good practice, if the chair at an early point in the meeting, does a ‘tour de table’ as this allows everyone to be comfortable with how the meeting will operate. Set a definite start and end time. If needed, schedule an additional meeting.

When you get more advanced you can change your background, you can record the meetings (ensuring you have meetings permission) and you can share files via Dropbox and make presentations. Within weeks, I imagine we will all be experts and adjust to this new way of work. I encourage organisations to give it a good and am happy to chat one-to-one if I can help or assist anyone with your initial steps.

Jillian van Turnhout Member of National Screening Advisory Committee

“I am honoured to be appointed to the National Screening Advisory Committee by Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD. This Committee will provide independent expert advice in evaluating the evidence for population-based screening programmes in Ireland. I hope our work can result in significant population health benefits. I look forward to working with such eminent committee members.”

Below is the text of the press release from the Departement of Health:

Minister for Health announces membership of Screening Committee.

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has announced the appointment of the membership of the National Screening Advisory Committee (NSAC). The appointments follow an expression of interest for the expert roles which form the membership of the Committee.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Harris said:

“This is an important milestone in the continued evolution of population screening programmes in Ireland. I would like to thank each member of the Committee who are volunteering their time and expertise to ensure our screening programme is scrutinised in accordance with international best practice. This Committee intends to work closely with their UK counterparts and other European colleagues, and I am confident that this will ensure that we have a process that is robust, transparent and inclusive and which will ensure that screening programmes in Ireland have a strong supporting evidence base.

“Screening has faced a number of challenges over the past year and the work of the screening committee will play a vital role in helping us to educate the population about screening, its limits and ultimately increasing our screening rates across the country. Screening saves lives.”

The Chair of the Committee Prof. Niall O’Higgins said:

“I welcome the appointment of the members of the Committee. They will bring a range of knowledge and experience to ensure the provision of independent advice on population-based screening programmes. A distinctive element is that the members have been appointed on the basis of their expertise and not because of representation or affiliation.

“The Committee will consider new proposals for screening and also revisions to existing programmes. Recommendations will be based on internationally-accepted evidence and verified standards of current best practice. Among the first functions of the Committee will be to establish a methodology for accepting applications and setting out a prioritisation process for recommended programmes.

“I am confident that with the strong support of the medical profession and the Department of Health the Committee can contribute to efforts to restore and sustain public trust and confidence in population health screening in Ireland.”

The National Screening Advisory Committee will begin its important work with its inaugural meeting on 18 November 2019.

Chair of the National Screening Advisory Committee
· Prof Niall O’Higgins, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, University College Dublin.

National Screening Advisory Committee Members
· Dr Abigail Collins, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, National Cancer Control Programme
· Dr John Ward, Consultant Radiologist, University Hospital Galway
· Dr. Mary Codd, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCD
· Dr Sheelagh McGuinness, Reader in Law, University of Bristol Law School
· Dr Velma Harkins, General Practitioner, Offaly
· Professor Andrew Green, Consultant in Clinical Genetics and Professor of Medical Genetics, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital.
· Dr James O’Mahony, Assistant Research Professor, Centre for Health Policy and Management, School of Medicine, Trinity College
· Martina Fitzgerald, Journalist
· Irene Regan, Chief Medical Scientist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
· John Gleeson, Solicitor and former partner in Mason Hayes and Curran Solicitors
· Dr Susan Kent, Assistant National Director, HSE and former Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health
· Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Cork University Maternity Hospital
· Dr Ellen Crushell, Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Temple Street, Children’s University Hospital and Our Lady’s Children Hospital
· Dr Paul D’Alton, Associate Professor Principal Clinical Psychologist, St Vincent’s University Hospital.
· Dr Paul Kavanagh, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE.
· Anne Burke (Public Voice)
· Jillian van Turnhout (Public Voice)
· Professor Michael Rigby, Professor Emeritus of Health Information Strategy, Keele University.
· Prof Ciaran O’Neill, Professor of Health Economics, Queens University Belfast.

When things go wrong in charities and what to do.

Jillian van Turnhout was invited to be the first external person invited to record on the Carmichael Centre podcast with Host Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí. It is 26 minutes of Diarmaid and Jillian sharing their experience and providing some signposting on what to do if/when things go wrong.

Click on the picture above (you will be redirected to ‘soundcloud.com’) or subscribe to the Carmichael Podcasts from wherever you listen to podcasts.

Changing the law in Scotland

The powerful feeling of changing the law!

3 years ago, I participated in a conference call to share my learnings of changing the law in Ireland with Scottish colleagues. Since that call, I have visited Scotland several times to share ‘the Irish experience’ with members of the Scottish Parliament by meeting MSPs from each party, attending Scottish party conferences and seminars.

Last Thursday, the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly for John Finnie MSP “Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act”. In the debate Minister Maree Todd said “I pay tribute to Jillian van Turnhout, who I know is here today. Ireland led the way in these islands.”

Through this journey, I have made lasting friends across the political spectrum. THANK YOU ALL for letting me be part of this journey. 

Legislation against corporal punishment of children in Canada

I recently visited Ottawa, the capital of Canada, to further the progress of legislation against corporal punishment of children.

I met with Natasha and Jane who assist Senator Murray Sinclair who is renowned for his work as former Chair of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He is sponsoring a bill to this end.

I met also met with Ron Ensom, former coordinator of the child protection program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. It was super to share and learn from one another. Along with Joan Durrant, Ron has been a stalwart in the campaign for equal protection.

I also took the opportunity to meet H.E. Ambassador Jim Kelly.  It was great to have an opportunity to share my work in Canada to further their child protection laws and to gain useful insights from the Irish Ambassador to Canada. I am always proud of Ireland’s team abroad and none more so than Jim.

Finally, I also took the opportunity to visit the House of the Senate and the House of Commons. It is always interesting to see and learn the legislative process in other countries.

Jillian van Turnhout awarded European Medal of Service by WAGGGS

Jillian van Turnhout was awarded a World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) Europe Region medal of service in recognition of her outstanding service to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting at European level. She was thanked for bringing purpose and meaning to Regional planning and praised for her “generous and inclusive leadership” and for her “vision, intelligence and deep commitment”.


Jillian’s role in banning corporal punishment for children acknowledged

Jillian van Turnhout has long been campaigning for the rights of children. First in a voluntary capacity, later as CEO of the Children’s Rights Alliance. After being appointed Senator by an Taoiseach Enda Kenny, one of her proudest accomplishments was to get legislation enacted that banned corporal punishment, including slapping, of children. in all settings.

Not being slapped is not only a child’s right, but slapping is also ineffective and can have a negative effect on the development of the child. And there are no positives!

Her role was acknowledged in the recent article in the Irish Medical Journal by Prof Alf Nicholson, National Clinical Lead for Paediatrics: “Moving Away from Slapping and Promoting Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children in Ireland”.

(Click the logo for a PDF of the article)

The article also got good coverage in the Irish Times.

(Photo of Prof Alf Nicholson © Irish Times)

Jillian has since been working with legislators and NGO’s in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to help pass similar bans in these nations.