New Charity Governance Code winning support from charities

The independent chair of the cross-sector steering group behind the new Charity Governance Code for England and Wales says she is delighted that it is winning support within such a short space of time.

A range of charities, from household names to small, community-based groups, have signed up as early adopters since the new code was launched in July.

An updated replacement for the previous Code of Good Governance and endorsed by the Charity Commission, the Charity Governance Code outlines the high standards that all charities should aspire to and is designed to help charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance.

The cross-sector steering group that devised it comprised:

  • the Association of Chairs
  • the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
  • ICSA: The Governance Institute
  • the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
  • the Small Charities Coalition
  • the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

All immediately signed up to the code and have been joined so far by a range of local, regional and national organisations. They include large charities such as the NSPCC and smaller adopters such as the University of Manchester Students Union, Hackney Council for Voluntary Service, Reach, and Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service. Others, such as the Cranfield Trust, are reviewing the new code with a view to signing up shortly.

Rosie Chapman, chair of the Charity Governance Code steering group, said:

I am delighted at how well the code has been received within the sector. The feedback has been extremely positive, with charities saying that its clarity and accessibility is really helping boards frame their governance.

We think that a charity board that aspires to meet the Charity Governance Code is a sign that the organisation takes its custodian responsibility seriously. More practically the code is a great way for charities to think about their governance arrangements in a structured way and to see how they measure up against good practice.

We applaud those organisations that are early adopters and we look forward to many more following suit.

Key recommendations in the new code 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 years
  • no trustee should serve more than nine years without good reason
  • 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.

The code has its own website, www.charitygovernancecode.org.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Stephanie Clark, NCVO senior external relations officer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 020 7520 2460.

-ENDS-

Notes

  1. In July 2017, the Charity Governance Code’s steering group launched a new version of the code designed to support charities in meeting governance good practice. The group had consulted on the proposed new code from the start of November 2016 to the start of February 2017. With funding from the Clothworkers Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust, it commissioned NCVO to analyse the responses and to provide a high-level summary of the themes and issues that emerged. There were more than 200 responses, most of which were overwhelmingly positive.
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