1. ELG Awards 2018 now open for Applications
The Excellence in Local Government Awards 2018 (ELG Awards 2018) are now open for applications!
The ELG Awards 2018 showcase best practice in local government and recognise the skills, hard work, innovation & enthusiasm within local government that can often go unrecognised.
Spread the word through your newsletters, website and social media and encourage your local county and city councils to submit their best practices for the awards.
Our website is now live with lots of helpful information for applicants including:
• ELG Awards 2018 Category Descriptions
• Terms and Conditions for entry to the ELG Awards 2018
Please note the deadline for applications for the ELG Awards 2018 is 12PM on Thursday, the 17th of May 2018.
Click HERE for further information.

2. European Parliament of Enterprises 2018
The European Parliament of Enterprises (EPE), hosted by Eurochambres every two years, is scheduled to take place in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, the 10th of October 2018.
More information on the event will be circulated in the coming months.
If you have any questions about the event, please contact emma.kerins@chambers.ie.

3. LGiU Briefing Series on Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards Winners – Commemoration Education Programme by Cavan County Museum representing Cavan County Council
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is publishing a series of briefings looking at the winners of the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Governance (ELG) Awards from 2017. The LGiU will showcase each of the best in practice projects that won at our Awards in 2017 over the coming weeks.
Please find attached the ninth instalment in the series of LGiU briefings on Chambers Ireland ELG Awards 2017 Winners, this week featuring the winner of the Commemorations and Centenaries category, Cavan County Museum’s Commemoration Education programme representing Cavan County Council.

4. Department of Communications, Climate Change & Environment – Applications now open for €3 million Lighting Upgrade Grant Scheme
The Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment Denis Naughten is urging small businesses across the country to apply for funding under his Department’s Smart Lighting Grant Scheme.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is administering the Scheme and applications are open until May 31st 2018.
The grant is open to small businesses across all sectors including retail, hospitality, tourism, private education, health facilities and manufacturing.  Applications can be submitted by individual businesses or by co-ordinators who group applications and are in a position to apply and deliver lighting upgrades for a number of businesses.
The total funding allocation secured in 2018 by Minister Naughten is €3 million, which is a significant increase on the 2017 budget of €550,000. 
Small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 250 employees across all sectors are eligible to apply. Annual turnover must not exceed €50 million.
For further information on the grant and details on how to apply visit www.seai.ie/grants.
The closing date for Smart Lighting Grant applications is Thursday, 31 May 2018.

5. Preparing for the roll-out of GDPR on 25th of May
On the 25th May 2018, the EU will introduce a new legislation called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will replace the current structure on the handling of data. It will apply to all businesses who supply goods and/or services to EU citizens and therefore handle personal data.
In addition, the GDPR contains the following changes:
• Enhanced documentation to be kept by data controllers.
• Enhanced privacy notices.
• More detailed rules regarding ‘consent’.
• Mandatory data breach notification requirements.
• Enhanced data subject rights.
• New obligations on data processors.
• Expanded territorial scope.
• Appointment of Data Protection Officers
Many of the implications of the new GDPR will affect companies on a commercial level. However, it also has an impact on many areas from a HR/employment perspective and fines for non-compliance can go up to a maximum of €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover (whichever is greater).
If you would like more information on GDPR please email james.kiernan@chambers.ie.

6. Lobbying Returns covering the period from 1 January – 30 April 2018 are due on 21 May 2018
Please be aware that the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) are fully implementing the penalty provisions in the Lobbying Act. The provisions contained in Part 4 of the Act give the Standards Commission the authority to investigate and prosecute contraventions of the Act and to levy fixed payment notices for late filing of lobbying returns. Please see the attached enforcement document for details of further contraventions. 
If your Chamber is registered on the system and does not file a return for each period ahead of the relevant deadline you will be automatically issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of €200 by the SIPO enforcement team and your organisation may be subject to an investigation potentially resulting in prosecution and a fine of up to €2,500.
SIPO are now pro-actively monitoring media outlets to identify organisations which are lobbying but have not registered or have not completed a return in relation to a subject matter reported in media. They are also looking increasingly at the content of Lobbying returns to ensure they are of a “meaningful” nature, contravention of which could lead to investigations and prosecution.
We strongly recommend that you put appropriate systems and reminders in place for the future to prevent exposure to financial and reputational risk by contravening this legislation. Chambers Ireland is supporting Chambers in addressing their obligations under the legislation but is not in any way responsible for your compliance, nor can we continue to monitor individual Chambers’ compliance in this matter. Returns for this period follow the same process as previous and can be made through the online system at http://www.lobbying.ie
Please find attached PDF providing an overview of the Lobbying Act enforcement provisions.
If you have any queries, please contact leona.murphy@chambers.ie

7. *FINAL REMINDER* Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce – IACC Business Delegation to Australia
In June 2018, Chamber members and other Irish businesses will be offered the chance to join an Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC) Business Delegation to Australia.
This opportunity will coincide with Ireland’s Test Series against Australia, to which the IACC is pleased to offer not only a preview Corporate lunch a day before each game in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney but also specially priced Corporate Hospitality options at the games themselves, in partnership with Rugby Australia.
The delegation opportunity will take place from Wednesday the 6th to Friday the 22nd of June 2018 and will involve a full program of activities for participants.
Please find attached promotional flyers for the delegation opportunity with all the necessary information, in JPG and PDF formats.
For more information on joining the delegation, please contact the Irish Australian Chamber through their email address: office@australianchamber.ie.

8. World Employment Confederation Conference 2018
The World Employment Confederation Conference 2018 hosted by the National Recruitment Federation and the World Employment Confederation, is on the 7th & 8th June 2018 at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin.
View the full list of featured speakers and the full WEC programme.
Checkout the WEC 2018 website: http://worldemploymentconference2018.com/
There are various preferential packages* available to Chamber Members.
For more information please see the attachment document on the conference.

9. Connecting European Chambers – 28-29 June 2018, Brussels
The 4th edition of Connecting European Chambers will take place in Brussels on 28-29 June. During this event, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about different funding opportunities, network with other local, regional and national Chambers and discover best practices from colleagues across Europe. EUROCHAMBRES will present the new ‘Chambers+’ initiative aiming at facilitating the Chambers’ participation in European projects.
Connecting European Chambers is open to local, regional and national Chambers staff dealing with European projects. The working language will be English.
A draft programme and registration form will be made available by 15 May.
Please find attached a flyer with more information on the event to circulate amongst your members and stakeholders.

10. Launch of Autism Awareness Programme for Businesses across Ireland
Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland have launched an Autism Awareness Programme specifically for Corporates, SME’s and local businesses. The awareness programme has been developed since October 2017 and comes as a response to many businesses contacting the charity on how they can best support families with a child with autism.  Furthermore, families contact the charity on a weekly basis to ‘check’ what their rights are when going out with their child and assistance dog as they are often refused access to shops and restaurants.
The Autism Awareness Programme because of a much deeper need to foster a change in thinking around Autism and to support businesses to support their customers and to make life better for families with autism across Ireland.
The programme will be facilitated over a morning, afternoon or evening, at a time that is convenient to business teams. We understand that businesses are not in a position to send their entire workforce on a week-long training programme and so we have developed the programme to give high impact. The programme will ensure that staff leave with a new, correct understanding of autism, what it is like to have the condition as well as an understanding of the experience of families in Ireland and how they can support a family with autism who comes in contact with their business, access for assistance dogs and guest speakers, i.e. parents of children who we support.
Interested businesses can contact Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland directly at:
Cherie Tyner
Communications Manager
Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland
(085) 8783280