SEC Governance

Overview

The Secondary Education Committee was established in 1968 by a joint resolution of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It was established with two primary objectives: to advance a common policy on secondary education in schools of a Protestant ethos, and to administer the Protestant Block Grant on behalf of the state.

The SEC operates as a Company Limited by Guarantee not having a share capital, with the Registered Company Number 349370. It is also a charity, subject to the regulatory oversight of the Charities Regulatory Authority, with Registered Charity Number 20012021, and has been exempted from taxation by the Revenue Commissioners under the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, holding CHY Number 6487.

The SEC is led by a Board of Directors, who are also the charity’s trustees for the purposes of Charity Law. The Directors/Trustees are responsible for supervising the work of the organisation and ensuring that the SEC operates effectively, efficiently, and in the best interests of the constituencies the organisation exists to serve. The Directors/Trustees are appointed at the Annual General Meeting, which is attended by representatives of the four member churches of the SEC.

The Board has a number of standing sub-committees that assist and advise the board in the decision-making. Currently there is a Grant Appeal’s Sub-Committee (reviews grant appeal’s from applicants through the appeal’s process), an Audit Sub-Committee (advises on the annual audit and select regulatory compliance matters), a Governance Sub-Committee (reviews organisational governance and best practice in charity management), and a Religion Sub-Committee (reviews and advises on the registration of applicant churches to join the Protestant Block Grant scheme).

The day-to-day operations of the SEC are managed by the SEC executive staff.

Our Board

Directors and Trustees:

Hazel Corrigan (Chairperson)

Bill Thompson (Deputy Chairperson)

Roy Crowe

Joyce Ryder

David Lee

Áine Ennis

Rev. Robert Jones

Kara Turner

Elizabeth Hassell

Wilfred Baker

Rev. Gerard Clinton

Rev. Ken Rue

Secretary:  Dr. K.W. Fennelly

Registered No. 349370.  Registered Charity No. 20012021. CHY No. 6487.

Senior Management

SEC Manager: Dr Eimhin Walsh

Deputy Manger: Ms Bridie McLaughlin

Finance and Reports

The SEC is funded through the Protestant Block Grant. The grant is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between the SEC and the Department of Education and Skills. The SEC confirms its compliance with the terms of the MOU and with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform circulars on the use of public monies each year.  The SEC is subject to the highest standards of financial accountability. The SEC’s accounts are subject to inspection by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and to public procurement rules. The SEC’s financial statements are audited.

The SEC does not currently engage in any fundraising from private sources.

The SEC has adopted the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Charities Governance Code and reports on its implementation of the code annually.

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2019/2020

Complaints

The SEC endeavours to be fair, consistent and transparent in its administration of the grants scheme.  If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of a grant application, believing that the criteria of the scheme have not been followed, you may appeal the decision through the appeal’s process. You may also appeal a grant decision if your circumstances have changed substantially since you made your original application to the SEC. Please see the Appeals page for more information on how to appeal. If you wish to have a grant decision reviewed the appeal process must be used, not the complaint procedure.

The SEC is committed to offering an excellent service to all our stakeholders. If you are unhappy about any other aspect of the operations of the SEC and wish to make a complaint, we will try to address your complaint at the appropriate level.

If you complain over the phone, we will try to resolve the issue there and then. Similarly, if you complain by email or in writing we will always acknowledge your complaint within 7 days, and do everything we can to resolve it with 21 days. If this is not possible, we will explain why and give a new deadline.

All complaints will be logged in our ‘complaints register’ and tracked until they are resolved. The complaints register is reviewed by the board of directors annually.

If you are not happy with our response, you may get in touch again by writing to the SEC Manager, who will ensure your complaint is addressed at Senior Management and Board level. You will receive an update within two weeks of the consideration of your complaint by the Board. The SEC Manager can be reached by email marked FAO SEC Manager sent to info@secgrant.ie or by post to SEC Manager, PO Box 12924, Dublin 14.

As the SEC is regulated by the Charities Regulatory Authority, you also have the right to make a complaint on certain grounds to the Authority. You can find out more about the types of complaint you can make here.

The SEC is the data controller for all grant applications. You can read the data protection statement here https://secgrant.ie/about-us/. If you wish to make a complaint about the SEC’s compliance with Data Protection legislation you should contact the Data Protection Commissioner