President Higgins delivered a lecture at the University of Melbourne last week. It was well received. Given the content, I thought readers of this blog might like to listen to it. The President also gave a podcast which summarises some of his views on economics here.
This is a guest blog from Benefacts.ie’s MD Patricia Quinn.
There’s no tag on the Irish Economy for “nonprofit” or even “charity” – maybe a symptom of the almost total lack of data until now on the organisations that make up this sector in Ireland. Hopefully, this is about to change.
Since 2015, Benefacts has been drawing on a variety of open data sources to create a dataset of unprecedented currency, granularity and reach. The Database of Irish Nonprofits is derived from all of the files placed in the public domain by ~20,000 organisations that would be classified by by statisticians as “NPISH” – nonprofit institutions serving households. According to Eurostat:
“Non-profit institutions serving households, abbreviated as NPISH, make up an institutional sector in the context of national accounts consisting of non-profit institutions which are not mainly financed and controlled by government and which provide goods or services to households for free or at prices that are not economically significant. Examples include churches and religious societies, sports and other clubs, trade unions and political parties.
NPISH are private, non-market producers which are separate legal entities. Their main resources, apart from those derived from occasional sales, are derived from voluntary contributions in cash or in kind from households in their capacity as consumers, from payments made by general governments, and from property income.”
A simpler way to think of this set of organisations is: all those that are neither part of the private sector, nor part of government.
Some are charities, some are not – either because they are explicitly excluded from the definition in law by the Charities Act, 2009, or because they haven’t got around to registering yet.
About half are incorporated, mostly under the Companies Act (as CLGs), although there are also hundreds of industrial, friendly or provident societies including trade unions, and a handful that were incorporated by statute, some of them – like some major voluntary hospitals – prior to the foundation of the State. There are also thousands of church or faith bodies, as well as sports, cultural and recreational clubs, societies and associations.
The number of ~20,000 includes all of those nonprofits that are registered with and required to return information to at least one national public authority – the Companies Registration Office, Revenue (for tax relief as charities, schools or sports bodies), the Charities Regulator, the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Many thousands more are not included on national registers but are governed by national bodies (for religion, sport etc) – hopefully for future inclusion in the Database.
Having identified its scope, Benefacts harvests data every day from multiple public sources, sometimes availing of open data files and – for financial and governance data – extracting it manually from financial statements and other regulatory filings. Benefacts doesn’t ‘scrape’ other peoples’ websites, but we do add some additional information including a classification (following Eurostat norms), the URL of each nonprofit, and information about compliance with some voluntary codes. This model, which is co-funded by government and philanthropies, means that there’s no effort required of any nonprofit to be included.
Accessing the Database of Irish Nonprofits
To see who’s in the Database, have a look at the open datasets generated by Benefacts from the data derived from these public sources. This is updated every day on data.gov.ie. The list is sortable by
- Registered name(s)
- Benefacts classification
- Name(s) of authorities by which the nonprofit is regulated
- Regulatory number(s)
- Link to each nonprofit’s listing on Benefacts.ie
A free public website – benefacts.ie – provides user-friendly access to extracts from the currently available data and public files on each listed nonprofit, there’s a public API that allows users to download the same information as a data feed, and a new customised service for institutional users to support governance, risk and compliance analysis (Benefacts Analytics). Users in government like the CSO, the Charities Regulator, IGEES analysts and internal auditors have had bespoke reports with more granular data extracted from financial statements (balance sheet, I&E, notes to the accounts), reflecting their particular requirements.
What does the data tell us?
Earlier in 2017, using the full population of available data, we published the first in an annual series of reports analysing the nonprofit sector in Ireland. We intended this as a billboard, drawing public attention to some of the main features of the sector, and starting to explode some myths.
The Irish nonprofit sector is hidden in plain view. It employs 150,000 people, and has an aggregate turnover of €11bn, only 18% of which is derived from government grants. Service fees from Government account for 31% of the sector’s revenues – mostly in the health and social services sub-sectors – but only 2,700 nonprofits rely on government funding of any kind. Remuneration data available for the first time in 2015 under FRS102 indicates that only 0.5% of people working in independent nonprofits – excluding those where salaries are pegged to governmental paygrades – receive annual remuneration of more than €70,000: this compares to 12.8% of people in the population at large.
This is all very interesting, but it is only scratching the surface. Since 2015, Benefacts has been harvesting extensive financial and governance data from the financial and constitutional documents of thousands of nonprofits, and socialising the data on various platforms.
The nonprofit sector will continue to be the Cindarella of the Irish economy until such time as the Database of Irish Nonprofits starts being used by economists who will put our dataset in the wider context. Where is Prince Charming?
From the Chamber’s Aebhric McGibney:
Job Title: Economist
Reporting to: Director of Public & International Affairs
Company: Dublin Chamber
Location: 7 Clare St. Dublin 2
Dublin Chamber is recruiting an Economist to work as part of the Chamber’s dedicated policy team.
The Economist will be responsible for the development and dissemination of accurate, timely reports and analyses.
- Research and policy development.
- Prepare economic research and policy positions on issues of relevance to the Dublin business community.
- Analyse and disseminate information on Dublin and the Irish economy.
- Analyse public policy developments for their impact on Dublin and on business.
- Draft key policy documents and reports.
- Contribute to the research agenda of the department, including servicing policy taskforces.
- Prepare member-driven submissions to Government and contribute to Dublin Chamber’s work on policy briefs which enhance its reputation as a thought-leader on policy research.
Competencies & Qualifications
- Honours degree in economics or closely related discipline. A relevant post graduate qualification is an advantage.
- Thorough understanding of economic theory and policy, and current economic issues.
- Familiarity with economic data sources and other information.
- Excellent numerical analysis and report writing skills.
- Strong interpersonal skills.
- Ability to communicate succinctly and utilise a range of communication methods as appropriate.
- Excellent organisational skills.
- Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
- Strong IT skills
- Ability to work in team environment
This challenging and rewarding role requires building close professional relationship with senior leaders in business, research institutions and the public sector.
The ideal candidate will have 5 year’s relevant experience. This is a full time permanent contract, with salary commensurate with experience. Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to email@example.com by 5pm Friday 28th July.
Many posts on this blog are of the ‘event’ or job posting category, so I’ve created an ‘events’ tab which integrates with calendars and so forth, and this is over to the right. Posters can add a new event in exactly the same way as new posts.
Readers may be interested in the evidence given by Aedin Doris, Darragh Flannery, Shaen Corbet and Charlie Larkin on the subject of income contingent loans.
This is a very important job, directing something many people including me have called for for years. The particulars for the role are here. The PBO will be a key part of the new budgetary framework for the state and the Director role is obviously vital to achieving sound fiscal policy. You can apply for the job here.
From the ad:
The Houses of the Oireachtas Service is the independent civil service agency which supports the running of both Houses of the Oireachtas (Dáil and Seanad Éireann) and provides administrative services on behalf of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.
The establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is a key strategic priority for the Oireachtas in the context of the current Parliamentary Reform Agenda.
The Director will drive the establishment and shape the role of the PBO in consultation with members and other stakeholders. S/he will develop and manage the service capacity of the PBO, will set the strategic vision, provide leadership and deliver objectives.
The successful candidate will have:
• an understanding of fiscal governance requirements and the Irish budgetary process, including key constraints on budgetary policy which applies to general government revenue and expenditure;
• the ability to set the strategic direction and vision for the work of the Parliamentary Budget Office, having regard to the external environment, including the international, EU, and broader public policy and political context;
• a proven track record of significant achievement at a senior level that demonstrates leadership, management and interpersonal skills required for this role.
The Annual IMF Article IV mission to Ireland is taking place for the first two weeks of May. The IMF Special Issues Papers seminar will be hosted at the new Central Bank HQ, North Wall Quay.
The seminar takes place on Monday May 8th from 10am, Heaney Room, 7th Floor, Central Bank of Ireland, NWQ.
For access and security arrangements can you please let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you intend to come.