The new bilingual Charity Governance Code will outline the high standards that all charities in England and Wales should aspire to and is designed to help charities and their trustees to develop high standards of governance.
External reviews for larger charities every three years, more
openness and limits on how long trustees may serve are among new
recommendations unveiled by a group of leading charity membership
bodies to strengthen governance and accountability in the voluntary
and community sector.
The renamed code is an updated version of the previous Code of
Good Governance. It has been devised by a cross-sector steering
group headed by independent chair Rosie Chapman and comprising the
Association of Chairs; the Association of Chief Executives of
Voluntary Organisations; ICSA: The Governance Institute; the
National Council for Voluntary Organisations; the Small Charities
Coalition; and WCVA.
The Charity Commission has marked its endorsement for the new
code by withdrawing its publication, Hallmarks of an Effective
Charity, in favour of encouraging charities to use the code.
The guidelines come in two versions which share common
principles and outcomes: one set of recommended practice applies to
smaller charities and another to larger organisations, where
accounts are audited.
Key recommendations include:
- more oversight when dealing with subsidiary companies;
registers of interests and third parties such as fundraising
agencies or commercial ventures.
- an expectation that the board will review its own performance
and that of individual trustees, including the chair, every year,
with an external evaluation for larger organisations every three
- no trustee should serve more than nine years without good
- boards thinking carefully about diversity, how they recruit a
range of skills and experience, and how they make trusteeship a
more attractive proposition.
- boards should operate with the presumption of openness.
- stronger emphasis on the role of the chair and vice chair in
supporting and achieving good governance.
A new website www.charitygovernancecode.org has
also just launched to host the code online.
The work on the code has been funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust
and the Clothworkers Foundation. Charities were asked for feedback
on a draft version of the code. Between November 2016 and February
2017, when the draft guidelines were circulated, there were more
than 200 responses, with a clear majority backing the draft
Rosie Chapman, chair of the Charity Governance Code
steering group, said: 'The code for the first time sets
out clear aspirations for a charity board to meet. This Code
is a great stepping off point to help charities navigate the
changes. It will be an essential tool for charities to use and will
greatly assist them to develop and grow in their effectiveness.
'It has been achieved through a great deal of effort from many
people in many organisations and it is all the richer for their
Peter Davies, chair of the board of trustees at WCVA,
said: 'Strong governance is essential in building trust
with funders and ensuring the effectiveness of services to
beneficiaries. WCVA welcomes the new code in providing clear
guidance to trustees and will be working to support its
implementation across the sector in Wales.'
Read the full press release at:
The Code of Charity Governance can be found at www.charitygovernancecode.org
Read the blog from WCVA's new Governance and Safeguarding
Manager, Mair Rigby, about the new Charity Governance Code and why
it's important for third sector organisations.