Posts Tagged ‘Brothers of Charity’

Executive Pay In State Funded Disability Organisations- A Disgrace!

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Payroll

HEALTH Minister Mary Harney has claimed that the salaries of executives in state-funded disability organisations are “disturbing” and break public pay guidelines.

The Irish Independent can reveal that chief executives of some leading voluntary organisations providing disability services are on salaries ranging from €90,000 to more than €176,000.

Revelations of the generous salary levels come in the wake of emotional scenes earlier this week on the streets of Dublin, Galway and Mayo as people with disabilities and their relatives protested at the threatened withdrawal of services.

The Brothers of Charity, which threatened to close some respite services in Galway and Limerick over cuts in state funding, has six regional chief executives, each of whom earn public-service rates of between €90,000 and €113,000.

It has a national chief executive, Winifred O’Hanrahan, who is believed to be on a salary of €113,000.

When asked why the organisation had six regional chiefs — based in Galway, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Ennis — a spokesman for the Brothers of Charity said the structure had been worked out in 2007 in conjunction with the community care areas of the old health boards.

The spokesman said the posts were within staffing levels approved by the HSE.

The Brothers of Charity “back office” functions — human resources, accounts and payroll — account for 2.2pc of its overall budget.

Budgets

The highest disclosed salary of €176,000 is paid to the chief executive of St Michael’s House in Dublin, Paul Ledwidge.

However, Angela Kerins of Rehab — who has refused to reveal her salary — is believed to top the league.

A spokesman for Rehab defended the decision not to reveal her salary, saying her remuneration was not funded by public monies and came from income from its commercial and non-commercial activities, which are spread across four EU states.

However, Rehab received €54.4m from the HSE this year, which amounts to around 27pc of the organisation’s income.

The spokesman said all remuneration in Rehab was “competitively” benchmarked.

One of the other big providers, St John of God’s, has employed Andy Heffernan to run its community services section since last year.

A spokesman said his salary was on a public-service scale, although he would not disclose the sum.

Enable Ireland chief Fionnuala O’Donovan received pay rises in both 2008 and 2009 as her salary increased from €158,000 to €169,000.

However, this was cut to €156,240 this year in line with the public sector pay reduction that was announced in last December’s Budget.

A spokeswoman said there were “no extras” attached to Ms O’Donovan’s remuneration. Enable Ireland has 55 staff in 40 locations.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the proposed closures of respite care in Brothers of Charity services will not now go ahead.

Talks are also believed to be under way with the aim of re-opening a service that was shut down in Limerick.

Despite this week’s protests, Ms Harney said there was no extra money available from her department this year.

The minister said the Brothers of Charity were already in receipt of a “big budget”.

Ms Harney also described some of the senior salaries in the voluntary bodies as “disturbing”.

She added: “Many of the organisations have to live within the public sector norms, with salaries that are funded by the State and pensions paid by the State.”

The minister said she was currently awaiting a value-for-money review of the 600 organisations in the disability sector.

She added: “Well in excess of 200 of them are providing services. That’s a huge amount of administration for a population of 4.5 million. A lot more can go on frontline services.”

– Eilish O’Regan

Irish Independent 9th July 2011

Eilish O Regan – You are so so right! Well Done!!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Have families who rely on disability services been used as pawns? Why were they forced to take to the streets across the country yesterday , disrupting their already highly stressed lives caring for people with a disability to protest about cuts in frontline services?

Behind the scenes was a carefully orchestrated public relations battle between private companies, hired by the voluntary bodies, and government spokesmen.

On the face of it, people with a disability and their families are victims of years of inertia on the part of the Department of Health, health boards and the Health Service Executive (HSE) to ensure the vast sums paid to disability organisations are properly accounted for .

The 40-plus voluntary bodies, which received over €1bn to provide disability services this year, are failing to show proper financial transparency and have highly paid executives on their staff as well as outdated management structures.

Health authorities here have been content to hand over taxpayers’ money to these organisations for years without tackling inefficiencies that have now come to a head due to the cuts imposed this year.

The response of the Brothers in Charity was to warn that respite and other services might have to be cut while the Sisters of Charity is to impose similar reductions in service in Dublin.

Yet we know little of how these organisations are run, the level of salaries paid and what efforts have been made to follow up on a highly critical report by the Comptroller and Auditor General four years ago which called for a massive overhaul of this whole area.

It found that one leading provider of disability services got €288m in health funding without furnishing any audited accounts.

Despite this lack of transparency, the health service imposed no sanction and did not alter its level of funding.

The investigation by the taxpayers’ watchdog found poor controls generally over non-profit organisations providing services to people with a physical or mental disability.

A spokesman for the St John of God organisation at the time confirmed it was the unnamed organisation referred to in the report. It said pressure on resources meant the emphasis was put on hiring frontline workers rather than adminstrative staff. It later produced audited accounts.

The report showed that, in one year, the bodies received €877m in funding to care for 65,000 people with a physical or mental disability. Yet, in many cases, financial reporting norms were not being followed.

In one year, 25 organisations got more than €10m; another 75 got between €1m and €10m; while another 683 grants, averaging €100,000, were distributed to smaller bodies.

In 12 of the 42 cases examined, financial statements for 2003 were not on file, although the bodies concerned received €100m in funding.

Checks of annual financial statements varied. It was noted that spending on headquarter costs and overheads was not generally reported.

And remuneration packages of executives and management of non-profit organisations were not generally disclosed.

Junior Health Minister John Moloney was yesterday talking about the need for backroom savings in areas like transport services and procurement where voluntary bodies could band together to get greater value for money.

There are other key issues that need to be tackled, such as the quality of service provided by several of the voluntary organisations, and anecdotal accounts of families being afraid to question what they were receiving for fear of losing out.

There is now talk of sending auditors in to examine the accounts for these organisations in advance of the Budget.

The run up to the Budget gives both sides time to do a overdue root and branch overhaul.

– Eilish O’Regan

Irish Independent Thursday July 8th