Our Governance and Working Structures
The Association’s institutions, their organisation, and duties are governed by the statute.
The Assembly of Delegates
The Assembly of Delegates has up to 199 members and is the sovereign power of the German Caritas Association. The Assembly represents all of the member groups of the Association. The Assembly of Delegates has all the rights and obligations of a general assembly. It makes decisions on fundamental issues in the Caritas Association and elects the President and Vice Presidents. The delegates are elected for a six-year term of office.
The Caritas Council has 29 voting members who serve as supervisors of the Board. The Council is responsible for making important decisions affecting the policies of the Association. It approves the budget, accepts budget reports, and grants discharge to the Board.
The Finance Commission, which has its own Chair, is responsible for the financial supervision and control of the Caritas Council. The Caritas Council consists of the President, Secretary General (until mid-2023, after which time this office will cease to exist), the twelve Chairs and Directors of Diocesan Caritas Associations, and representatives from specialised charity organisations, societies, religious orders, and local associations. The Caritas Council is elected by the Assembly of Delegates.
The President is elected by the Assembly of Delegates to represent the German Caritas Association. He or she serves a six-year term and is the Association’s official spokesperson to the Church and the public. The President has the status of a separate institution and chairs all decision and policy-making committees, except for the Finance Commission. Prelate Dr. Peter Neher is supported and advised by the Association’s three Vice Presidents, Dr Irme Stetter-Karp, Gaby Hagmans, and Heinz-Josef Kessmann.
The operations of the Association are overseen by a full-time Board whose term in office is limited to six years. The Board currently consists of President Prelate Dr Peter Neher, who, in addition to the management of the Association, is also responsible for development and international work; Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa, who is Director of Social Policy and Professional Policy as well as being responsible for the digital agenda; and Hans Jörg Millies, Secretary General and Director of Finances, HR, and Business.