The Wheel: Independent External Review of Board Effectiveness

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The Wheel

The Wheel is Ireland’s national association of charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises. We are a representative voice and a supportive resource that offers advice, training, influence, and advocacy for the sector. Rotha (trading as The Wheel) is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. It employs 30 people and has an annual turnover of just over €2.7m

Our Vision

We want to see a thriving community and voluntary sector at the heart of a fair, just and inclusive Ireland.

Our Work

Our mission is to champion the role of Irish charities and community organisations in building a flourishing society and to support them to do work that has a positive impact. Our four strategic aims are:

  1. Being an authoritative sector voice
  2. Supporting a diverse sector
  3. Building a vibrant community of members
  4. Performing well to deliver success

Our values

  • COURAGEOUS: we are confident in standing up for what is right, we are not afraid to challenge the status quo and we dream big
  • INCLUSIVE: we work hard to be truly inclusive in all aspects of our work, with a particular emphasis on listening to and acting on those voices that have previously not been heard
  • ACCOUNTABLE: we recognise that we are accountable to those we serve, the public and anybody else with an interest in our work
  • COLLABORATIVE: we work in a collegial manner with our members and everyone else who wants our sector to succeed

Context for this review

Since its founding, The Wheel’s board of directors has endeavoured to follow best practice in its governance of the organisation, key aspects of the current governance arrangements include:

  1. A board structure which includes directors elected by the companies over 2,150 members and directors which are co-opted by decision of the board;
  2. Sub-committees which, since 2015, include non-board members;
  3. Consciousness of the need for diversity and inclusion particularly in relation to the balance between men and women;
  4. Regular meetings of board and sub-committees with appropriate agendas, information and minutes;
  5. Regular communications and information sharing between chairperson and CEO and between executive and Board/sub-committees for appropriate content;
  6. Annual board ‘away day’ which includes a review of governance and pre-review evaluation questionnaires to board and sub-committees.

Re the 6th point, the annual governance review, the Board has adopted different approaches over the years to try and ensure maximum participation, openness, and diversity of approach in order to allow any actions and/or improvements to be identified.

In 2019 the board commissioned an independent review of its governance. The objectives of the assignment were as follows:

  • Assess the current governance and performance of the Board and Committee Members against what would be considered good practice for organisations like The Wheel and any relevant codes.
  • Identify the issues that need to be addressed and highlight these issues to the Board and the Governance Committee.

The recommendations from that review were all accepted at the Nov 2019 meeting and the action plan to address them was implemented during 2020 and into 2021 by the executive under the oversight of the (now renamed) Governance & Nominations sub-committee. The board also committed to doing an external review / evaluation of its work every three years.

The Assignment

The Wheel is inviting interested parties to submit proposals to review the overall effectiveness of how it does its work and how its structures and processes align with the implementation of The Wheel’s new strategy (2022 – 2026).

Points of relevance include:

  1. The current board and sub-committee structure has been in place since 2015. The organisation has changed a lot since then (especially re numbers of staff and turnover). A review should highlight whether this structure is helping with the functioning of the organisation and if improvements in effectiveness and efficiency can be identified.
  2. In the context of balancing the board’s leadership as well as oversight responsibilities, the review should look at the effectiveness and efficiency of the board in terms of work planning for the year, meeting agendas and preparatory documents.
  3. The review should consider the results of the Nov 2021 annual surveys of board and sub-committee members.
  4. The review should also include the following:
    • Identification of whether any delegation of decision-making to sub-committees might be recommended to enable the board to focus on strategy.
    • Identification of learning and development framework and pathways for board members.
    • Identification of a model or framework which the board can use to assess effectiveness and efficiency over the lifetime of this new strategy.
  5. The review should also include a final workshop / session with the board at its ‘away day’ on Dec 1st/2nd that beds down this new framework for assessing effectiveness over future years.

Deliverables and outputs

It is expected that through desk research, a series of engagements with the board, its sub-committees and other relevant people from the executive, the consultant appointed will complete their work with a report which contains a series of recommendations that address the full scope of the review as
outlined in the points 1 – 5 above.

Qualification and Requirements

Consultants that wish to submit a proposal shall meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Proven track record in conducting board effectiveness reviews for organisations in the nonprofit sector and of similar size to The Wheel.
  2. A strong understanding of the various frameworks and codes and standards that apply across various sectors, including nonprofit.
  3. Demonstrable ability to render consulting services in the most professional, effective and efficient manner by providing references

The following criteria will be used in shortlisting of consultants to meet.

  • Qualifications – 10%
  • Approach – 20%
  • Similar experience in nonprofit sector – 30%
  • Price – 40%

The selection of the successful consultancy company / candidates will be based on these criteria.
Shortlisting will apply.


The Wheel is seeking proposals by Thursday 7th July 2022 (10am)
Interviews for a small number of shortlisted candidates will take place in person on the afternoon of Tuesday 19th July.
Confirmation of appointment for this project will be done with the successful contractor no later than Friday 22nd July 2022.

It is anticipated that this review will be an agenda item at the ‘Nominations & Governance’ sub-committee meetings as follows, so the contractor will need to be available for relevant item at the online meetings of the sub-committee:

  • Sept 19th: 2pm – 4pm
  • Nov 10th: 11am – 1pm

The contractors should also note the following date and time for the September in person board meeting at which there can be an agenda item tabled on this review, if required:

  • Sept 28th: 2.30pm – 4pm, at Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2

The final report to be considered by the board at its in person ‘away day’ which runs from 2pm on Thursday Dec 1st through to 1pm on Friday December 2nd. The contractor is expected to be present for the relevant agenda item.

Proposal Submission

Those wishing to be considered should submit a brief proposal (max 4 or 5 pages) to the CEO, Deirdre Garvey at
It should include:

  • Justification of why s/he is the most suitable consultant for the work, and a brief methodology on how the work will be conducted
  • Work and time plan including the scheduling of main activities and time inputs required per consultant/s
  • Insurance details
  • Three (3) referees

The financial proposal shall be in Euro and include:

  • Fee rate excluding VAT and time inputs required as presented in the work and time plan. The total price shall be in a broken down by specific deliverables and outputs
  • Any reimbursable expenses envisaged

Proposal should not exceed €8,000 plus VAT (including expenses)
The payment shall be based on approved deliverables and outputs and production of invoice.

The information provided shall also incorporate:

  • Company profile (clearly stating full contact details, physical address, email and phone numbers)
  • Declaration of relationships – describe if your organisation/employees have any business or personal relationships connected to The Wheel or any of the staff or board members of The Wheel
  • A statement of availability of key consultant/s during the timeframe of the assignment period
  • Certificate of incorporation or registration (where relevant)
  • Tax status and any appropriate certificates

For further details on the tender please contact:
Deirdre Garvey
Chief Executive Officer
Registered Charity Number: 20040963
Company number: 302282


Attachment Size
Tender Brief 856.33 KB

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
22nd Jun, 2022
Expiry Date
7th Jul, 2022