CoderDojo Ireland - Key Decision on registration with Charity Regulator


  • MegaDojo

    Up until recently the CoderDojo Foundation has acted as the support and umbrella body for Dojos in Ireland. This situation is unique to this country and occurred primarily as a result of the CoderDojo movement starting in Ireland. In the rest of the world each larger region has its own umbrella body, (formal or informal) which coordinates, supports and assists the activities of CoderDojo in that country. In line with this structure we are delighted to announce that in recent weeks ‘CoderDojo Ireland’ (CDI) has been formed as the umbrella body for CoderDojo in Ireland.

    The board of CDI are writing to seek your input in relation to a key decision, which CDI must make on your behalf in the coming weeks. This decision relates to how the CoderDojo community registers with the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA). The CRA was established in 2014 and its purpose is to regulate all charities in Ireland. The Charities Act 2009 requires that all charitable organisations, regardless of size, must register with the CRA and provide an annual report comprising details of all financial transactions, supporters and volunteer numbers. This means that it is a legal requirement that all Dojos within Ireland must be registered with the CRA. Further information on the CRA can be found on this website.

    The Charity Regulator has presented two different options for registration and ongoing compliance with the law for the CoderDojo movement in Ireland. The first option being that CDI as the umbrella organisation in Ireland would register all Dojos and provide annual reporting to the Regulator on behalf of all Dojos. The second option being that each Dojo registers individually and reports directly to the Regulator annually.

    Each of the options proposed has a number of implications, which are summarized below:

    Option A - CDI Register as Umbrella Body

    For this option all Dojos in Ireland would be required to return a yearly report to CDI, which would then be aggregated into an overall report that would be submitted to the Charity Regulator.

    Implications:

    • Reduced administration for individual Dojos, particularly for the initial setup of new Dojos
      CHY number can be a resource for individual Dojos across the country
    • This option will generate administrative work for CDI resulting in a staff cost to consolidate and collate returns from each Dojo requiring CDI to fundraise / apply for grant aid to cover such costs.
    • May require accounts of CDI to be audited. The Regulator has indicated that the income threshold triggering an audit requirement will be increased to at least €200,000. (Current limit is €100,000)

    Option B - Each Dojo to register Individually.

    For this option CDI would provide a list of all active Dojos in Ireland and a sample constitution to the Charity Regulator who will then automatically register all Dojos. From 2017 each Dojo will be required to return an annual report to the Charity Regulator.

    Implications:

    • Reduced need for CDI to fundraise/apply for grants to cover such administrative costs.
    • Each Dojo will have to appoint trustees who will be legally responsible for the finances of the Dojo.
    • Individual Dojos could purchase Insurance to protect volunteers who agree to be trustees. This would have to be funded by each individual Dojo.
    • Creation of new Dojos – A large amount of initial administration may be required before a new Dojo can be formed and this may be off-putting for prospective champions and mentors
    • Unless a Dojo applies also for Charitable Tax Exemption separately it will not have access to a CHY number.
    • CoderDojo brand reputation in Ireland – If a large number of Dojos fail to register this could be negative media story that will affect current and potential Dojos

    Information from the Charity Regulator for those who want to delve deeper and gain greater understanding into the process can be found here.

    As the option chosen will have a substantial impact on individual Dojos, we would like as much feedback from the CoderDojo movement in Ireland as possible. We are asking that each Dojo register their preferred option no later than the 20/05/16. An email has also been sent to the master email address for all Irish Dojo's. Please select the preferred choice for your Dojo from that email.

    Feel free to give a more detailed response if you have the time on here. This will help to inform the board of CDI on the sentiments of the community when the decision is made.

    Regards,
    The Board, CoderDojo Ireland.


  • CoderDojo Ireland

    As a mentor & champion of a small Dojo that barely deals in cash at all, neither option is at all attractive. We have a small pool of mentors that can't regularly commit time so the overhead of managing Option B is quite simply impossible.. My concerns with Option A are that the CDI fundraising will eventually end up requiring a registration fee from each Dojo.

    Over the first year of our operation, we've collected about a hundred euro mainly to fund refreshments for mentors and ninjas and the majority of that has been donated by mentors. Without the ability to collect a registration fee or attendance fee from ninjas, I fear that the result of this is that mentors are going to end up funding this paper-generating enterprise out their own pocket.

    I do appreciate that this is an administrative burden imposed by CDI as a result of abuses by much larger charities but is there no option to completely opt out of dealing in cash and so avoid the need for messing about with accounts and paperwork.


  • CoderDojo Ireland

    Why not just make each individual dojo a club that is simply linked with CoderDojo Ireland (The charity). The Dojo's are not charities they are clubs more than anything else. Just eliminate any handling of cash at a dojo level.


  • MegaDojo

    *** Personal response and not on-behalf of the board ****

    Hi @James-Howard,
    While Option A would be the easiest route for now I also have worries in relation to the need for ongoing funding for it. I never see a time when Dojo will have to pay a registration fee however my worry is that some year down the road we don't raise the necessary funds to pay staff and miss a filling. CoderDojo Ireland missing a filling will have a far larger impact than one Dojo being late or missing a filling.

    For Option B, I see parents who have not being able to help to-date because there skill set lies elsewhere stepping up and taking over this yearly responsibility from the champion & mentors. This would follow Bills tagline of "CoderDojo is free, but not a free ride"

    Regards,
    Eugene McDonough
    CoderDojo Limerick Co-Founder / Dojocon Founder
    T: @eugenemcd @CoderDojoLim @CoderDojo
    Skype: eugenemcdonough G+: eugenemcd m: +353(0)87 653 7694


  • MegaDojo

    Hi @Robert-Gray
    The advise we have been given is that if you are event donated the use of space to run a charitable entity you have to register with the Charity Regulator even if money never changes hands :-(

    Regards,
    Eugene


  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @James-Howard Hi James - Myself and Rosa spent considerable time in the run up to Christmas speaking with the Charity Regulator raising the point that this places a burden on Dojos particularly those that do not touch funds (which is over 50% of Dojos) Unfortunately the response has been clear - every Dojo regardless of size or funds received is considered operating as 'charitable activities' therefore it either needs to register with the regulator individually or under an umbrella organisation. For a Dojo that does not deal with money, reporting would be very straight forward, a nil return and a summary of X amount of Dojos run with roughly X amount of youth throughout the reporting period.



  • Hi All,

    Giustina has covered all points about having to register - we were equally disappointed to hear this would be an administrative burden for those who do not fundraise but there is no way around it.

    Also question that has come in offline that I thought would be relevant to post;

    Question; If I am affiliated with another organisation in my area (e.g. YWI, Foroige) do I have to be affiliated with CoderDojo Ireland for Charity Regulation?

    Answer; If you are affiliated/covered under another body you will have to opt out of the CoderDojo Ireland umbrella registration if Option A is chosen. I imagine CoderDojo Ireland will seek proof from this other organisation or proof of individual registration with the Charity regulator to ensure that all clubs are still compliant with the registration.

    It's great to see some debate on this and if there are any further questions please feel free to ask them here or lay out any concerns.

    Best wishes,

    Rosa


  • CoderDojo Ireland

    I've seen the issue of funding option A brought up several times in different channels now. Hopefully it would be seen as unlikely but in the case that @Eugene-McDonough mentions and funding does become an issue (e.g. sponsors become uninterested in continuing partnerships, etc), is there a path for request for funding to be made upwards, i.e. through the Foundation, rather than downwards to the dojos?
    Regards,
    Toby


  • CoderDojo Ireland

    Under the 2014 Charities Act CDI will need to prepare an annual set of accounts under UK and Ireland GAAP, examined by an accountant and audited if income exceeds 100K. Any money received from CDF to CDI will need to appear in those accounts. Trying to repeat this at a local Dojo level is not practical. Ideally, CDI should act as an umbrella organization making it easier for CoderDojo's to be created and function. Organizing group insurance would be a simple task and remove the need for individual dojo's to arrange their own. Local dojo's could operate a simpler summary of money in and out to CDI rather than a full set of accounts and including this into CDI accounts would be a small incremental effort. The last thing we need is for Dojo Champions to try to run a charity.


  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Toby Making grants to CDI wouldn't be sustainable for CDF in the long run, although we are supporting CDI in whatever routes we can (pro bono legal support, hopefully pro bono auditors etc). We are also actively cultivating potential funding leads seeking to support an Irish regional body. When approached by companies seeking to get involved at a local level we always pass these to regional groups, or in the absence see if we can develop a partnership to positively impact the region.


  • MegaDojo

    On the 6th May CoderDojo Ireland sent all Dojos an email regarding registration with the Charity Regulator. We would be grateful if you could review the information on that email or on the community forum and select your preferred choice for registration either on the original email or on the reminder sent today if you have not already done so. To proceed with a clear mandate we need your Dojo to respond with your preferred choice by Sunday the 5th of June.

    If you want to join the discussion on these options please go to Community Forum.

    Regards,
    The Board, CoderDojo Ireland.


  • CoderDojo Regional Bodies


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