Youth Work Ireland and its 20 Member Youth Services work to develop the potential of young people, to strengthen communities in Ireland and provide quality youth services. Young people are at the heart of the organisation and are supported with excellent standards in governance, volunteers, leaders, staff and services.

Youth Work Ireland is an independent not for profit national organisation, established over 60 years ago with a Federation of local youth services run by local communities. Our services are closely aligned with Local Government, ETBs & CYPSCs working to form key strategic partnerships to deliver on national priorities. In 2011, Youth Work Ireland introduced a major new governance structure, which aimed at ensuring maximum membership involvement in our work while ensuring efficiency and transparency in everything that we do.

Youth Work Ireland have a suit of three fundamental Governance documents

  • Youth Work Ireland Constitution The constitution governs Youth Work Ireland’s internal management. Is an essential and crucial legal document that oversees the activities of our company as well as the relationship of our company’s directors and Members.
  • Membership Charter.  This charter reviewed and updated on a regular basis at Annual General Meeting.  The document contains:
    • The current governance structure of the Federation.
    • An articulation of what Member Youth Services can expect in terms of support and services from National Office.
    • A list of Hard and Soft governance rules which Member Youth Services agree to abide by.
    • Dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Service Level Agreement: As an intermediary body for exchequer funding we are required to have an SLA in place with all Member Youth Services in receipt of funding from National Office. This document lays our the undertakings of both Member Youth Services and National Office in relation to allocated funding. It is issued to Member Youth Services on an annual basis.

Board Plan and Key Priorities

The board of Youth Work Ireland deals with a multiplicity of issues on an ongoing basis and will continue to do so. This priority list is intended to capture the top Strategic Priories of the Board as outlined in our new Strategic Statement 2022-2027.

As a federal organisation, Youth Work Ireland has created a variety of sub-groups, networks and working groups to support the delivery of its strategic and operational objectives.  

Board Structure

With the establishment of four subgroups of the board, we can ensure that a wide spectrum of people contribute to decision making within our Federation. Similarly, our governance structure ensures that we broaden the relationships between members and national office and ensure a good flow of communications.

Youth Work Ireland National Organisational Activity Chart

Youth Work Ireland Report Structure

Membership Charter

The Youth Work Ireland Membership Charter sets out the context and standards to which Youth Work Ireland and its affiliated Member Youth Services subscribe and pledge to work together in a spirit of partnership.  This is in order to achieve our common objective of supporting local communities to provide quality and Integrated Youth Services and supports to young people. The Membership Charter maps the governance structure of the Federation, the decision making mechanisms, the benefits and requirements of membership and the broad role of National Office.  It also contains a dispute resolution mechanism for used in the event of internal stakeholders to the Federation requiring formal resolution of issues.

Youth Work Ireland is a membership led organisation governed by a Constitution and each year the National Board is elected from within the Member Youth Services (Membership) and the Board has responsibility for the governance of the Federation. From time to time the Membership of Youth Work Ireland agrees policy positions, procedures and protocols which are binding on the membership. These can only be agreed at an Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting. The Youth Work Ireland model of governance endeavours to:

Service Level Agreement

Youth Work Ireland receives Exchequer Funding annually in order to support the implementation of national public policy objectives in the area of Youth Development and Youth Support identified in the Youth Services Grant.  In accordance with the Grants Dispersal Policy the Board of Youth Work Ireland disperses a portion of the Youth Services Grant to Member Youth Services and retains a portion in order to fund the supports and services provided by the Youth Work Ireland to Member Youth Services. Our Service Level Agreement outlines the terms and conditions under which Youth Work Ireland will provide specified Services to its Member Youth Service or its affiliates through the support of the Youth Services Grant. The objective is to provide a basis and framework for the delivery of high quality services that meet the needs of the Member Youth Service.

Youth Work Ireland requires and expects the highest possible standards in Youth Services Provision, Finance, Governance and Compliance. The Service Level Agreement holds Member Youth Services accountable as recipients of the Youth Services Grant. Should problems be identified through the monitoring measures, an immediate process of performance management will commence. Failure to engage satisfactorily with performance management could lead to sanctions up to and including the withdrawal of funding and the withdrawal of membership of the Federation.

National Code of Governance for the Community & Voluntary Sector

Youth Work Ireland is committed to the highest standards in the way we conduct ourselves and our business. We aim to be fully transparent and accountable meeting the standards for the charity sector. We are fully compliant with the Charities Governance Code set out by the Charities Regulator.

This Governance Code is for board members, managers, staff and volunteers of community, voluntary and charitable organisations and is a tool to help organisations perform to the highest standards possible. Good governance means that policies and procedures are in place to ensure an organisation is run well. It is also about an attitude of mind, ethical culture of the organisation and the behaviour of the people on the governing body.

The Governance Code aims to make sure that organisations are run responsibly and that they are rewarded for compliance with elevated reputations and greater efficiency and effectiveness. The Governance Code clearly outlines the roles, duties and responsibilities of all those who sit on the boards and management committees of community, voluntary or charitable organisations – from the smallest organisation to large domestic and international charities, from all-volunteer groups to organisations with hundreds of staff.