The company called Gasóga na hÉireann / Scouting Ireland, previously called Scouting Ireland Services Company Limited by Guarantee, and commonly referring to itself as Scouting Ireland has recently circulated to its members the accounts for the year up to end of August 2022 in preparation for a somewhat overdue Annual General Meeting.
It is understood that there was considerable friction amongst the board about these accounts and, in particular, the declaration that the company is a “Going Concern”. Ultimately the AGM which should have taken place in April 2023 is now taking place by teleconference in February 2024, which is somewhat beyond the 15 month time lapse between AGMs permitted by the Companies Act. In fact, in the normal course, one would have expected visibility of the accounts for the year ending August 2023 at about this time with an AGM in April of this year.
The accounts (to the end of August 2022) can be viewed or downloaded here.
Some context may be helpful in reviewing them and so you can find a table providing an overview of the accounts for each of the years ending August 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 here.
Some of the headings from the relevant accounts have been merged for brevity and in an attempt to align income and expenditure items from year to year for comparison purposes.
The following observations may prove worthy of consideration. A printable and downloadable version of these observations can be found here.
If questions occur, perhaps the upcoming Commissioners Conference and the AGM present opportunities for such questions. It is understood that the procedures for raising such questions have recently been communicated.
Re. the Solidarity Fund
- Money seems to have been put aside during 2019 (11k) and 2020 (21k) for a Solidarity Fund, 32k in all.
- Nothing seems to have been set aside since, and it seems unclear if it is still set aside.
Re. National Fundraising
- In the past 5 years national fundraising seems to have cost more than it raised with the exception of 2020 where it raised 110k for a cost of 43k.
- Total arising to national organisation from this source over the five year period appears to have been 72k.
Re. National Centres
- Surplus from National Centres (Larch Hill, Lough Dan, Killaloe) seems to be 179k (639k-460k)
- Castle Saunderson is not included as this is handled by a different company, see this article for more information.
Re. income sources and expenditure categories
- Main income stems largely from a core Government Grant of 1.505m and membership fees 2.034m.
- Most significant expenditure is for staff costs of 1.702m, this cost has been fairly static over the past 5 years.
- There are three reported high-earning staff members, 1 with a salary > 70k and 2 > 90k.
Re. Provision for Historic Cases
- The annual accounts since 2018 show a provision each year for historic cases and this has impacted the reported surplus / deficit each year in that period.
- The 2022 report also indicates that an amount has been reclassified in the 2021 accounts from “creditors amounts falling due within 12 months” to this provision.
- This adjustment has the effect of increasing the booked amount for the provision by 560k, giving an accumulated amount for this provision as 7.403m.
Re. Annual Surplus / Deficit
- The provision for historic cases each year since 2018 has impacted the reported surplus / deficit each year.
- The report states that there was a 1.7m shortfall in 2020, caused by a number of matters, and that this has improved to a 242k surplus in 2022.
- It is worth noting that if the provision in 2020 (2.06m) was taken out of the picture then there would have been a surplus that year of
- In fact the underlying results for each year seems to be -383k (2018), -238 (2019), 333 (2020), -71 (2021), 482 (2022) which sums to a surplus of 123k for the 5 year period.
Re. Going Concern
- The annual report states that the assessment that the company can continue to operate and pay the bills covers the period up to January 31st 2025. Based on the annual report it seems that if the legal cases were to be successful we would then become liable for payments amounting to an estimated 7.4m.
- There is provision in the accounts for this amount but there does not appear to be any cash or assets to cover the cost, so it seems we would have to find that money or cease trading.
- Per the 2022 accounts, assets exceed liabilities by 1.8m, and this doesn’t take account of any costs which would arise from a cessation. It seems not unreasonable to think that such costs, were they to arise, would go a long way towards absorbing that amount.
- So in the event of the estimated cost of historic cases arising, it seems that the company could have to close down owing something in the region of the 7.4m.