Children First: Better Public Spending for Better Outcomes for Children & Families

Public spending must be for the public good. We believe there is no more effective way of building more cohesive and resilient communities than investing in children and families, particularly the most vulnerable.

Eurochild's Annual Conference 2014 (26-28 November, Bucharest, Romania) addressed important questions around public spending choices. What evidence is needed for good decision-making? How should evidence be used? How can we measure long-term social return on investment? How does this influence budget decisions? What is the role of the public and private sectors? How do we ensure accountability in service delivery, as well as efficiency and effectiveness? How can we meaningfully involve and empower the children and families we support?

The European and international context

The conference reflected on implementation of the 2013 European Commission Recommendation ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’ and the broader Social Investment Package. It looked at how EU structural and investment funds can be better deployed in the next programming period to stimulate reforms and develop innovative practice.

The event was also set within the context of States obligations to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which celebrates 25 years in 2014. According to Article 4, all States Parties ‘shall undertake measures [to implement the UNCRC] to the maximum extent of their available resources’. The UNCRC Committee has agreed to develop a General Comment on ‘Public Spending to Realize Children’s Rights’ to which this conference can provide valuable input.

Click here to download the Annual Conference 2014 Report.

Download here the report from the side-event on child-friendly justice.

Criteria and Assessment Process

1. Statutory membership categories

Eurochild has 3 statutory membership categories: full (effective) members, associate members and honorary members.

Statutes - Article 4. Members

Membership is available to organisations with legal personality and individuals who can demonstrate they are able to meet the criteria laid down by the Management Board and approved by the General Assembly. The association is open to Belgians and to other nationalities.

Effective Members shall include:

  • NGO’s with an interest in the welfare and rights of children and young people
  • Statutory bodies with an interest in the welfare and rights of children and young people
  • Academic and research institutions with an interest in the welfare and rights of children and young people
  • Professional Associations with an interest in the welfare and rights of children and young people

Associate Members may include:

  • Government Departments;
  • Any organisation or individual approved by the Management Board, concerned with furthering the objectives of Eurochild;

Honorary Members may include:

  • Any organisation or individual approved by the Management Board, concerned with furthering the objectives of Eurochild;

------

The General Assembly 2013 defined the eligibility criteria and membership benefits & responsibilities for each statutory membership category as follows

All Full (Effective) Members

Eligibility Criteria

Eurochild membership is open to all organisations with an interest in the well-being and rights of children and young people in Europe that:

  • Are based in an European country (definition of the Council of Europe)
  • Sign up and commit to Eurochild’s vision, mission and values
  • Are formally constituted and have a legal personality according to the laws and usages of the country in which they are established (at least 2 years prior to their application for full (effective) membership)
  • Ful lled formal application procedures and been approved as member through the man agement board & endorsed at the annual General Assembly
  • Base their work on the principles enshrined by the UNCRC

Responsabilities

  • Participate in Eurochild’s decision-making through Eurochild’s working structures, including participation in the General Assembly (once a year)
  • Contribute to the financial sustainability and independence of the network by paying a membership fee & where possible contributing to the Eurochild work programme
  • Make visible their membership of Eurochild and promote the network externally
  • Proactively inform the Eurochild secretariat of their activities and provide their annual report & financial reports every year
  • Not knowingly or negligently act in a way that could discredit Eurochild or bring it into disrepute

Membership Benefits

  • Information services: bi-weekly info-flash, access to members-only webpages, dissemination & promotion of members’ activities
  • Networking & exchange: participation in Eurochild working groups & events, partnership searches etc.
  • In uence policy: contribute to policy positions, access Eurochild materials, contribute to external events, consultations etc.
  • Training and capacity building: membership exchange seminars, ad-hoc training & capacity building activities

All Associate Members

Eligibility Criteria

Associate members include:

  • Individuals,
  • Informal coalitions that have no legal status,
  • Organisations that have been legally constituted less than 2 years prior to their application for membership or other entities that are granted associate status by the MB. (This category should be regularly reviewed by the Management Board for upgrade). After 2 or 3 years, the Management Board will automatically propose their upgrade into full (effective) membership.
  • Federal/national government departments, federal/national authorities and federal /national public bodies
  • Associate members are subject to the same eligibility criteria as full (effective) members (except for point 3).

Responsabilities

As for full members (except associate members have no voting rights)

Membership Benefits

As for full members, although priority is given to full (effective) members for sponsorship to Eurochild or external events.

Honorary Members

Honorary members will not necessarily fulfil the criteria set out in for full or associate members.

However they will become honorary members of Eurochild by invitation of the Eurochild Management Board, which, at the time of issuing the invitation, will set out the role they wish the individual to play as an honorary member and the period of time for which the organisation or individual will hold the position of honorary member.

Responsabilities

As for associate members (honorary members have no voting rights).

Membership Benefits

As for full members, although priority is given to full (effective) members for sponsorship to Eurochild or external events.

2. Membership types

The following membership types were created additionally to the statutory membership cate- gory to give more clarity to the composition of the Eurochild membership and to enhance the role of national networks by creating the National Partner Networks. These membership types were approved by the General Assembly on 25-26 June 2013.

National Partner Networks

National Partner Networks are :

  • NGO/not-for-profit national co-ordinating bodies whose primary role is to advocate for the rights & well-being of children & young people towards government and politicians.
  • The ‘go to’ organisation in their country / region on a broad range of issues concerning children’s rights and well-being.
  • Membership-based organisations which aim to provide a collective opinion on different policy matters, rather than the opinion of a single organisation

Only one organisation per country in Europe (EU & accession countries) can be appointed as a national partner network (more in countries where children’s policies are devolved at a sub-national level).

In countries where there is more than one network of children’s organisations (whether at national or sub-national level), the choice of network is made according to (1) the breadth of issues that they cover – as far as possible these should mirror the main advocacy priorities of Eurochild; (2) their capacity to o er a representative voice; (3) their capacity to engage with national (or sub-national) governments; (4) their capacity to work on EU issues and translate this to the national (or sub-national) level.

National Organisations

Sub-categories: service provider, advocacy/campaign organisation, training/consultancy, networking/membership organisation, knowledge institute

Organisations with an interest to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people and working in Europe – either at national or sub-national level. This category includes many different types of organisations including: ngos; not-for-profit and for-profit (for-profit service providers are subject to particular scrutiny in the membership application process. Eurochild membership cannot be used for commercial interest) service providers (organisations that engage in inter-country adoption services must declare that no association will be made between their membership of Eurochild and their work on inter-country adoption.) foundations; professional associations; networks which do not fall into the ‘national partner network’ membership group e.g. Networks that have a thematic focus; sub-national networks...

International Organisations / Networks

Organisations and networks that are working in more than one European country and therefore bring a cross-national/international perspective to Eurochild.

Academic And Research Institutions

This category includes academic or research institutions, academic departments or a groups of researchers within Universities, academic institutes, observatories or research institutions set up with a primary research purpose.

Public/Statutory Bodies

Public/statutory bodies include sub-national governments departments, authorities or public bodies responsible for policies and services regarding the rights and welfare of children and young people – this can include the offices of ombudspersons for children or an umbrella organisation for local authorities.

Child And Youth-led Organisations

Status within membership types: international organisations or national organisations

Organisations which can e ectively demonstrate that children and young people take an active lead in decision-making throughout the organisation, including shaping the activities, policy and in governance. A majority of children involved in the organisation must be under the age of 18.

Individuals

(can only be Associate Members)

  • Individuals, including those working as independent consultants or experts.
  • Individuals working within an organisation which would be eligible for Eurochild for membership under one of the above categories are encouraged to ensure the organisation joins in membership. Individual associate membership should not be a short-cut for organisations to receive membership services at lower cost.

Honorary Members

Honorary members will not necessarily fulfil the criteria set out in for full or associate members. However they will become honorary members of Eurochild by invitation of the Eurochild Board of Management, which, at the time of issuing the invitation, will set out the role they wish the individual to play as an honorary member and the period of time for which the organisation or individual will hold the position of honorary member.

3. Voting rights 

  • Full (effective) members: one organisation/one vote 
  • Associate and honorary members: no voting rights

4. Membership fees

Statutes - Article 6. Subscriptions 

  • Effective Members shall pay an annual subscription of up to a maximum amount of 5000 EUR depending on size and turnover of organisation. Membership fees will be set by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Management Board.

  • Associate Members shall pay an annual subscription of a maximum amount of 1000 EUR dependent on size and turnover of the organisation set by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Management Board.

------

Fee structure as approved by the 2013 General Assembly

Membership fees for full (effective) members are determined by the annual income (based on the year before last financial report) of the organisation according to Eurochild’s membership fee structure, with the exception of academic and research institutions and public/statutory bodies which have a flat fee of 250 Euro and 500 Euro respectively (unless their annual accounts justify a lower fee as according to the Eurochild membership fee structure).

Organisations full (effective) membership, based on annual income 

< €100,000:                             € 100/year

€100,000 - €250,000:               € 250/year

€250,000 - €500,000:               € 500/year 

€500,000 - €1,000,000:            € 750/year 

Over €1,000,000:                     € 1,000/year

Academic and research institutions in full (effective) membership –flat fee   € 250/year

Statutory bodies in full (effective) membership – flat fee                            € 500/year 

Associate members (including individuals and government department)      € 100/year

The level of membership fees in each category is reviewed regularly. The last review took place in 2013 and was approved by 2013 General Assembly.

Note: New members joining in the course of the year are granted a reduced fee according to the number of months already elapsed that year on the day of approval by the Management Board.

5. Assessment procedure for incoming applications

Statutes - Article 5. Appointment, Resignation, Exclusion

1. Every person or Association desiring admission as an effective member, associate member or honorary member shall make written application in such form and manner as the Management Board may for the time being prescribe. The rights and privileges of members and associates shall not be transferable.

The admission of new members is subject to the following conditions: 

  • Effective Members have full voting rights and are appointed following recommendation by the Management Board plus approval by the General Assembly.
  • Associate Members do not have voting rights and are appointed following recommendation by the Management Board plus approval by the General Assembly.
  • Honorary Members do not have voting rights and are appointed following recommendation by the Management Board plus approval by the General Assembly.

------

Assessment procedure for incoming applications

1. Eurochild receives from the applicant:

  • Application form
  • Accompanying documents (preferably in English or French)

A) If they apply for full (effective) membership:

  • Current work Programme
  • Latest Annual Report
  • Accounts of the year before last (to prove membership fee level)
  • Statutes of the organisation
  • A letter stating the organisation’s commitment to the missions and objectives of Eurochild (following the Eurochild template)
  • A list of members and their addresses (if applicable)

B) If they apply for associate membership: 

  • Any available document from the above list;
  • CV (in case of individual applicants)

At least 2 written references proving that the organisation is in ‘good standing’ (e.g. from peer organisations, and preferably one from a current donor of the organisation)

2. The secretariat first checks the adequacy of the application (for example refuses an application for full (effective) membership if it is an individual applying) and also checks whether the documents are adequate at first sight.

3. The Secretary General gives her general recommendation, not having responsibility of assessing the documents

4. The documents are sent to the two reference persons, at the latest three weeks before the Management Board meeting. The two reference persons organise their work to gether to prepare the recommendations to the Management Board that should be circulated 2 weeks before the Management Board meeting, together with the agenda of the meeting. They can, if necessary, consult members of the Management Board (for example to have country-specific advice) or other Eurochild members for ad hoc recommendation, or plan a skype call or visits to the country of the applicant.

5. Once the assessment is finalised, the applications are circulated with the agenda to the Management Board members, with the recommendations of the reference persons.

6. Applications are approved/rejected at the Management Board meeting, pending en dorsement by the next General Assembly. 

7. Once approved by the Management Board the applicants become candidate members. They are informed and: 

  • They receive a welcome letter and the request for payment of their membership fee as well as a link to the “induction page”. They are invited to follow us on the social media. Once the payment of their membership fee is received, they can benefit from all membership services (e.g. receive the bi-weekly info-flash, access to the members only web pages...) and can engage in Eurochild activities.
  • They are presented in a note in the Info-Flash (&/or eNews Bulletin) about new candidate members recently approved by the Management Board.
  • They are committed to respect their responsibilities regarding committing to Eurochild values and membership fee payment and are encouraged to participate in the General Assembly endorsing them.

8. If the applicant is rejected, a written explanation will be sent.

9. Candidate members approved by the Management Board are submitted for endorse ment to the next annual General Assembly. Once endorsed, and if they are full (effective) members, their voting rights are activated. After endorsement they can start using the ‘member of Eurochild’ logo.

Note: Membership is automatically renewed each year. 

6. Withdrawal of membership

Statutes - Article 5. Appointment, Resignation, Exclusion

2. Members of all categories may give notice of their resignation from the association at any time by written notice to the Management Board in writing at least three months before the end of the year. Resignation shall be effective three months after the date of the notification letter. The membership fee for the year in which the resignation is made shall be due.

------

Once the resignation is effective, all membership benefits and rights are withdrawn (access to the member’s room, infoflash, the ex-member is taken out of the official list of Eurochild members, voting rights at the General Assembly etc). The membership withdrawal is notified to the next General Assembly.

Examples:

  • An organisation wishes to withdraw and addresses a resignation letter to the Manage ment Board on 15 September 2013. The resignation will be effective on 15 December 2013. The fee for 2013 will be due if not yet paid.
  • An organisation wishes to withdraw and addresses a resignation letter to the Manage ment Board on 15 November 2013. The resignation will be effective on 15 February. Both the membership fee of 2013 and 2014 will be due.

7. Exclusion of membership

3. Exclusion of members from the association may be put forward by the Management Board, after they have heard the defence of the party concerned and, if the need arises, a majority of two thirds of the members present or represented at the General Assembly have reached this decision. The Management Board may suspend the person in question until the General Assembly issues its decision.

4. Any member who ceases to be part of the association, by death or otherwise, shall lose their right to the association’s property.

------

Reasons for exclusions can include: non-payment of the membership fee, bringing Eurochild into disrepute, lack of commitment to Eurochild mission, vision, values and goals, etc.

The Management Board will hear the defence of the party concerned or, if the organisation is not responsive, set a deadline for response after which resignation will be assured.

Once exclusion and suspension are recommended by the Management Board, all membership bene ts and rights can be suspended (access to the member’s room, infoflash...). The membership exclusion will be presented for decision to the next General Assembly.

Example:

  • An organisation did not pay its membership fees for the two previous years, despite reminders. The Management Board did not receive any written explanation. On 15 Oc tober a notice is sent with a 30 days deadline for response, stating that membership will be suspended and that a proposal for exclusion will be made to the next General As sembly unless payment is received. No answer is received on 17 November, the member ship bene ts and rights of the organisation are suspended. The organisation will be presented for withdrawal to the General Assembly in June 2014.

8. Eurochild disclaimer

Eurochild members commit, upon application, to Eurochild’s vision, mission and goals and to its operational values of integrity, good governance, partnership and participation.

Eurochild strives to ensure that its members uphold Eurochild values and act in accordance with national and international legal standards. However, Eurochild cannot be held responsible for the positions or actions of any of its members (or their employees).

The views and opinions expressed by individual members, do not necessarily represent those of Eurochild unless o cially endorsed.

To top