Men's Development Network

Code of Practice


1. Aims of The Men’s Development Network

2. The Men’s Development Network in the Context of Community Development

3. The Core Values of The Men’s Development Network

4. The Men’s Development Network as Employers

5. Best Practice Principles for MDN Employees

6. Best Practice Principles for The Men’s Development Network Chairperson


The aim of the Men’s Development Network (MDN) is to develop a network of support, development, resource, and progressive leadership by men in order to achieve better lives for men affected by marginalization, poverty, unemployment, disadvantage and male gender conditioning. The MDN has core characteristics:
  • An anti-poverty, anti-exclusive focus.
  • Works from community development principles and methods.
  • Provides support and acts as a catalyst for men’s development.
  • Act as a resource for men.
  • Provides co-ordination and co-operation between men and community, voluntary and statutory groups.
  • Involves representatives of groups which experience poverty and social exclusion within our management structures.
  • Is committed to gender equality and gender equality mainstreaming.
  • Sees the work as being bedded in development of self, family,community, and society.

Our Mission Statement “Better Lives for Men, Better lives for all” informs the progressive, changing effect of our work on men, their families, communities & society.The Men’s Development Network: A Multi- Functional Organisation.The MDN is a developmental and consultative organization that works on four levels; locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Nationally the Men’s Development Network has 35 representatives across Ireland. The distinct functions of the Men’s Development Network feed into and inform each level so that the benefits of the work is spread throughout.


In the early 1990s men working in the social care field; probation, youth work, addictions, academia & health, came together to discuss what was rapidly becoming a crisis. They realised that there were no initiatives to work with men on their own development in their localities. This was having a negative impact on families in particular, but also across many broad professional fields of social care. It was decided to organize and lobby to highlight the issues and establish the Men’s Development Network.


Along with its overall aim to work with men towards achieving beneficial change the Men’s Development Network does specific work on issues that have been identified as needing particular attention including:

  • The Men’s Health Development Programme with the Health Promotion Unit of the Dept of Health & Children and the Health Service Executive.
  • The Men’s Development Project funded by Department of Community and Gaeltacht Affairs facilitating men’s community leadership in some of the most marginalized communities both urban & rural.
  • Maintaining men’s development through our National Network funded by the Dormant Account Fund through Pobal.
  • Co-ordinating the Domestic Violence Intervention Programmes in the South-East funded by the Dept. of Justice Equality and Law Reform and with inter-agency support including the H.S.E.
  • Providing one to one Counselling for men, funded by the Family Support Agency.
    Gender Equality Mainstreaming funded by the Gender Quality Unit of the Dept. of Education & Science.
  • Targeted work with specific groups of men funded by the H.S.E. and others.


In addition the Men’s Development Network provides key services by:

  • Providing support, self-development and leadership training on an individual and group basis.
  • Organising volunteer representatives across Ireland that carry the networking function in their counties.
  • Maintaining and supporting a nationwide membership of 450 individuals and groups.
  • Promoting academic discourse on men in partnership with both the H.S.E. and the Department of Education and Science.
  • Providing educational programmes for teachers, boys and young men in education at 1st, 2nd and 3rd level and links to other parallel programmes.
  • Making alliances with other organizations that are working towards the improvement of peoples’ lives.
  • Representing men’s development work in Ireland and at E.U. level
  • Informing research on men and men’s lives in Ireland and in the E.U. and accession states.
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships at international level with the main movers on men’s issues.
  • Preparing publications on men and ways of working with men.


It is generally recognised that the benefits of social and economic development are not equally distributed. Some groups and individuals benefit less than others.

Men’s development is about promoting positive change in society in favour of those who usually benefit least. However, it is not just about making concrete changes in the quality of people’s lives. It is also about how this is done i.e. both the task and the process are important.

Men’s Development seeks to challenge the cause of disadvantage, poverty and of male gender conditioning and to offer new opportunities for those lacking choice, power and resources. Men’s development involves men, most especially men affected by disadvantage, in making changes they identify to be important and which develop and put to use their skills, knowledge and experience.

Who Is Men’s Development For?

Men’s Development is for men’s groups and individual men who live in communities experiencing high levels of unemployment and poverty and for men affected by male gender conditioning.

Particular groups of men and individual men who experience social or institutional exclusion because of unequal treatment and denial of rights or due to the affects of male gender conditioning such as:

  • Men with disabilities
  • Men with health issues
  • Traveller men
  • Men from cultural and ethnic minorities
  • Separated men
  • Unmarried fathers
  • Men affected by addiction
  • Violent men
  • Men who are victims of violence
  • Gay, bisexual and transgender men.

or because of their circumstances,

  • Men who parent alone without sufficient resources
  • Widowers
  • Unemployed men or those men who are excluded from the labour market
  • Men who live in isolated circumstances
  • Men who lack opportunities for their growth and development
  • Disadvantaged young men
  • Older men
  • Homeless men

The Men’s Development Network has an important role to play in:

  • encouraging greater participation in public decision-making which leads to more effective and better-targeted policies and programmes at local, regional and national level.
  • influencing change in the structures, policies and processes which contribute to poverty and exclusion and to the affects of male gender conditioning
    developing a collective response to men’s needs within their lives, their families and their communities.
  • improving the quality of life within communities affected by disadvantage by working with the men.
  • ensuring equality of opportunity and challenging discrimination, prejudice and racism.
  • seeking an equitable distribution of power and resources in order to ensure a fairer society.
  • enhancing the skills and self-confidence of men experiencing poverty and social exclusion.
  • fostering and maintaining strong specialist and community support structures
    promoting integrated and holistic responses to the needs of individual men within their communities.
  • developing alternative methods and models of working which seek to directly involve and empower groups and individuals within the community.


    1. Equality

The MDN will not accept discrimination of any form including sex, marital status, family status, age, sexual orientation, disability, race, nationality, ethnicity, or creed. All persons connected with the MDN must avoid any practice or conduct in the workplace which amount to racist, religious or sexual discrimination or harassment of any kind.

    1. Anti – Poverty

The MDN will maintain an Anti-Poverty / Anti-Exclusion focus and actively promotes the participation of people experiencing poverty at all levels within the Programme.

    1. Inclusion

The MDN will ensure that men in areas affected by disadvantage have a voice and the skills to make themselves heard in making the changes they identify to be necessary to improve the quality of life. The MDN will also involve men experiencing disadvantage in actions and projects to bring about social change and create new opportunities in their local communities. The MDN will operate as a non-party political and non-denominational organisation at all times.

    1. Empowerment

The MDN will empower and build the skills of Volunteers from local communities to develop and manage programmes and projects, take up leadership roles, and engage in innovative collective action. The MDN will seek to develop a collective response among men to their needs and the needs of their families and communities.

    1. Accountability

The MDN ensures that it is accountable to its community of men by inclusion, consultation, equality of access, equality of time, valuing men’s inputs financially as well as with gratitude, insisting on men’s ownership of their own information, reviewing and reporting back at each stage of development.

    1. Democracy

The procedures for appointing Board members are transparent and democratic.

    1. Integrity

The MDN is committed to the concept of integrity in all its dealings. Members and employees and/or persons performing an administrative function to the Board are expected to :

      • avoid outside business interests in conflict or potential conflict with the business of the Board and disclose such interests should they occur.
      • act ethically and honestly at all times.
      • comply with all relevant statutory provisions, e.g. FOI Legislation, where relevant, Data Protection Legislation, Health & Safety Legislation etc.
      • comply with all relevant provisions of Company Law. The Duties and Powers of Company Directors as set out in the Information Book on the Companies Office website guide the members of the MDN Board.


    1. Confidentiality

Board members and employees will maintain the confidentiality and security of any restricted or confidential information

4. The Men’s Development Network as Employers

i) The Recruitment Process
The MDN Board is responsible for ensuring that:

  • Procedures and practices used in the recruitment and selection of staff are fair, consistent and effective.
  • Recruitment seeks to appoint the best qualified applicant.
  • The procedures followed abide by equal opportunities principles. Applicants must not be treated more or less favourably on the basis of gender, marital status, ability, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnic origin.
  • Recruitment of staff will be made from the widest possible field of candidates.
  • All positions will be advertised in local or national newspapers as appropriate, and all adverts will include a statement that equality principles will apply.
  • All advertisements and all information sent to candidates will include a statement that the MDN is an equal opportunities employer.
  • A full job description and salary details will be available on request to all applicants.
  • Interview panels will be comprised of both genders.
  • Interview panels are given guidelines on good interview practice and must draw up a candidate specification and scoring system prior to the interviews.
  • After the recruitment process is complete, a file is kept including the job description, candidate specification and scoring system, a record of the assessments and the application forms.
  • All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within a reasonable timeframe.
  • The confidentiality of the recruitment process is respected.

ii) Employment Practice
The following are some of the key practices that MDN adheres to:

  • The successful candidate should receive a Letter of Offer which gives the commencement date and the main terms and conditions of employment:
  1. Job description
  2. Salary scale and commencement salary
  3. Hours of work
  4. Nature of employment – Full-time, Part-time etc.
  5. Place of employment
  6. Holidays
  7. Sick pay

The Board of the MDN is responsible for ensuring that:

  • All staff are given a detailed contract of employment, which has been approved by the company solicitors.
  • All staff are subject to regular supervision, annual appraisal and appropriate reporting requirements in the performance of their job.
  • The Programme and Project Co-ordinators report to the management on a regular basis.
  • All staff have a salary scale where funding arrangements allow. Increases in salary should be in accordance with the salary scale, subject to satisfactory performance of the employment and adequate funding.
  • Where staff are found not to have performed satisfactorily, they must be so informed in writing and should be advised clearly of the performance criteria which they are required to meet.
  • Any disciplinary proceedings against staff in regard to non-performance of the employment contract must be in accordance with all legal requirements and in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The Board has agreed a grievance and disciplinary policy which reflects these requirements. This policy is consistent with the CPA guide “Good Employment Practice in the Community & Voluntary Sector”. The staff of the project are advised of the disciplinary policy.
  • Any formal disciplinary actions contemplated by the Board are subject to the advice of the Company Solicitor. The staff member affected must be formally advised of the aspect of their performance which is unsatisfactory. They must be given a full hearing and must be given the opportunity to be represented by a trade union, or other representatives, if they wish.
  • An employee with 104 weeks continuous service, aged between 16 and 66, and whose employment is terminated because of redundancy is entitled to a redundancy lump-sum payment. Part-Time workers are included in this by virtue of the Protection of Employment (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 and the Redundancy Payments Act 2003.
  • The MDN’s Employment Practice has clearly articulated policies to prevent bullying, racism and sexual discrimination or harrasment.
  • The MDN has a staff training and development policy.

The MDN fully observes and complies with the provisions of all applicable employment and labour law both statutory and common law and regulations as are applicable to their employees or to the Services.
The Combat Poverty Agency’s “Managing Better” series on Organisational and Management Issues for the Community and Voluntary Sector.
The Department of Enterprise website section on Employees Rights and Entitlements.


The Staff provide an effective support by:

  • Completion of quality information (including minutes of meetings and evaluations of projects) and other logistical arrangements for Board meetings.
  • Ensuring that all relevant matters are brought to the attention of the Board.
  • Taking of timely follow-up action to fully implement Board decisions.
  • Fulfilling all employment contract obligations.
  • Supporting the Implementation of this Code of Good Practice.
  • Timely production of the Chairman’s Annual Report.
  • Implementation of financial control procedures as set out in the contract with the Minister, and this Code of Business Practice.
  • Effectively managing the work of the MDN and its programmes and projects ensuring that the anti-poverty, social inclusion focus of the work is maintained.

Customer Service
In all dealings and communications the staff will have due regard to:

  • Equality/Diversity, as set out in Section 3.
  • Physical Access – The staff will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that MDN meetings and activities are accessible.
  • Consultation & Information – The MDN will ensure that all relevant stakeholders are kept fully informed of MDN activities and developments, and are fully consulted in regard to relevant matters. All reasonable requests for information will be attended to in a timely manner.
  • Courtesy – The MDN will ensure that it maintains a high standard of courtesy in all its dealings with the public and stakeholders.
  • The MDN office will where possible be staffed during all official opening hours.

Tendering and Procurement.
Every purchase for which an ongoing contract is not in place requires a number of companies to be invited to respond that will ensure at least 3 tenders. Single tendering is permissible for the award of small scale contracts where competition is not practical. Competitive tendering should always be used in the case of contracts above €5,000. In relation to small contracts the required responses may be received having contacted potential suppliers by letter, fax or email. Responses should indicate the unit cost, full cost, V.A.T., delivery charges, delivery schedule and any follow-up costs.
In relation to competitive tendering, a marking scheme should be used to assess tenders, where price is not the sole determinant e.g. research or consultancy work.

Briefing for New Members/Directors
In carrying out its function to provide efficient and effective support to the Board, the MDN Chairperson and staff will ensure that new members to the Board are fully briefed in relation to their role and responsibilities as members of the MDN Board. In particular, the Chairperson and the Secretary will ensure that new members are provided with a detailed information pack including information on the following:

  • 5.1. specific information in relation to The Men’s Development Network, and the Projects and Programmes which provide funding to the MDN.
  • 5.2. copy of the Board’s Code of Practice (i.e this document).
  • 5.3. the formal schedule of matters reserved to the Board for decision.
  • 5.4. copy of the Memorandum of Agreement and Articles of Association, which set out the procedures to be followed at Board meetings.
  • 5.5. a schedule detailing the composition of all MDN committees and their terms of reference.
  • 5.6. information explaining the compliance requirements and liabilities of directors under Company Law.
  • 5.7. a statement explaining the Board members responsibilities in relation to the preparation and review of the Board’s system of internal control and audit.
  • 5.8. a copy of the Contracts and Terms and Conditions of Employment.

Corporate Gifts and Entertainment
Gifts, hospitality and entertainment or other preferential treatment or benefits should only be offered or accepted if there is a genuine need to impart information or represent the organisation. Lunch or other reasonable hospitality taken by board members and staff after, during or as a result of a business related meeting is acceptable. As is acceptance of seasonal gifts which otherwise have little commercial value. Where board members or staff are unsure, they should discuss the matter with the Chairperson and the Secretary.


6.1 The key responsibilities of the Chair are:

  • To facilitate the running of Board meetings in a manner which allows full discussion and debate of relevant issues, with all Board Members being allowed an equal say.
  • To ensure that Board meetings are conducted in accordance with the procedures adopted within the Articles of Association, and as set out in Company Law.
  • To agree the agenda for Board meetings, and to ensure that meetings are run in a businesslike manner.
  • To ensure that the decisions of the Board are acted upon by both Board and staff.
  • To ensure the MDN is represented at official functions and in official negotiations with funding Departments.
  • To supervise and liaise on a day to day basis with the Director.
  • To ensure that the MDN adheres to the key principles of its Programmes and Projects, and of this Code of Practice.

6.2 Any issues regarding non-compliance with any statutory obligation of the Board as set out in Section 4.4 of this document, or non-compliance with the Board’s contracts with the relevant Ministers or Stautory Agencies will be brought to the attention of the Minister or Statutory Agency by the Chairperson.

6.3 The Chairperson will furnish to each relevant Minister or Statutory Agency, an annual report of the Board, which should contain the following:

  • An outline of all significant developments affecting the board in the preceding year, major issues likely to arise in the short to medium term.
  • Detailed Budgets and expenditure.
  • An affirmation that all appropriate procedures for financial reporting, internal audit, and procurement are in place.
  • Description of the key procedures, which have been put in place by the Board, designed to provide effective internal financial control: Information (if appropriate) about any weaknesses in internal financial control that have resulted in material losses, contingencies or uncertainties which require disclosure in the financial statements or the auditor’s report on the financial statements, and details of the action taken, or intended to be taken, to correct the weaknesses.
  • An affirmation that this Code of Practice for members and employees has been put in place and adhered to.
  • As part of the Board’s annual reporting requirements, it should confirm its compliance with tax law.
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