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NGO Accountability – Policies and Practices in Ireland. A Focus on Trust – A Case study of Concern Worldwide

This research takes place at a time of immense change within the Voluntary and Community sector in Ireland. Calls for a reform of the legislation from inside and outside the sector have resulted in the Charities Act 2009. The objectives of this reform are to ensure accountability and increase transparency which it is hoped, will enhance public trust and confidence for the sector.

Irish NGOs are now pursuing varying forms of regulatory and self administered accountability mechanisms. The maintenance of public trust is one of the objectives of this exercise. The question this research is asking is, are these accountability efforts positively correlated with the maintenance/generation of trust within individuals and if not, what are the variables that are?

This research is of a qualitative nature and concentrates on Concern Worldwide. A total of fourteen interviews were conducted. The aim was to gain a deep insight into the sample units’ rationale for trusting/distrusting Concern Worldwide and to uncover whether Concern Worldwide’s accountability efforts are positively correlated with the generation/maintenance of trust. The research can make no claims to representativness. However, some interesting findings were uncovered in the process, which highlight areas where further inquiry into this issue may be directed.

The majority of the respondents believed Concern Worldwide to be a trustworthy organisation. The findings indicate that accountability mechanisms had little to do with the sample units’ rationale for trusting. Respondents were not only unaware of the majority of these efforts; they were uninterested in them. It appears that this trust can be, in part, attributed to the longevity of the organisation and the absence of negative reports resulting in a positive reputation. But more importantly it seems to have stemmed from a perceived value alignment and a belief in the moral imperative
of this kind of work. Respondents’ appeared to trust the organisation because of the work that it does, and not because of how it does it.
Amy O’Leary 2010

Permanent link to this article: http://kimmagedsc.ie/dissertation/ngo-accountability-policies-and-practices-in-ireland/