This Is London, Dublin. Organisation Development.

Case Study

Aoibhneas Transformation



Aoibhneas Womens and Childrens Centre provides a support for women and children suffering from domestic violence. It was established in August 1988.  At that time Dublin Corporation provided Aoibhneas with a three bedroomed flat in Ballymun.


 In 1994, Dublin Corporation made notification of a decision to grant planning permission to Aoibhneas for a purpose built facility for families fleeing their home through Domestic Violence. On the 21st April 1997 Aoibhneas Women's Refuge was officially opened by President Mary Robinson.


The organisation operated successfully for many years , but following the economic crisis in Ireland, the organisation was informed in late 2012 of substantial budget cuts to come that could impact the viability of the refuge.

What we did


Terri Morrissey of This Is... was the Chair of Aoibhneas and Richard Plenty was drafted in as a Board member and subsequently Director to support transfomation and change. They decided that a proactive response was necessary to keep up the Valuable Service to At Risk Clients.


The vision was for a high performance culture with world class operations  'One Family One Team'. Features were to be a flat structure, open communication process, high engagement, and Value for Money


In order to achieve this, a comprehensive process of change was introduced which resulted in a the removal of a layer of management, new  rosters, adjustments to working practices and new case management systems. All this was driven through by the Chair, Ms Terri Morrissey, through a process of consultation in a complex industrial relations environment.


A new manager of the refuge was selected and appointed and more open communications were introduced. Coaching, training and development were enhanced. Modifications have been made to the layout and design of the building. A sophisticated process for supervision has been introduced.


Currently governance systems and the Board structure are being reviewed. A new HR manual is being designed.



Cost savings of over 20% have been achieved and throughput increased. Sickness absence in the first year of implementation was reduced.  The quality of care has been increased.


The process remains ongoing and there are still issues to be resolved, but the organisation is now on a far more sustainable footing and is considered as a good practice example within the refuge community