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Governance round-up: September 2023

Welcome to our monthly governance round-up. This month we look at the latest guidance from the Charity Commission and share new governance resources and training.

New Charity Commission social media guidance

The RSPB has recently been in the news following their post on X (formerly Twitter) calling government ministers ‘liars’.

The post was in response to government plans to change the rules on water protection restrictions for housing developments. RSPB’s chief executive later apologised.

The Charity Commission has since shared new social media guidance for charities.

In addition to the new guidance, here are some questions you might like to discuss with your board.

  • Is your board familiar with the Charity Commission’s campaigning guidance? Are they clear on what you can and can’t do to influence the wider policy landscape?
  • How clear are your guidelines on who signs off social media content that might be considered ‘controversial’?
  • Do you have a shared view on when you speak out and when you don’t? Does your board understand the risks?
  • Do you have a trustee code of conduct that makes it clear how and when trustees comment directly to the media? Should you offer media training for your trustees?

Board relationship resources

Governance often overlaps with change management. Both focus on moving your organisation from where it is now to where it needs to be, or supporting it to stay still in changing times.

To do this, organisations need a few key things. Structured, effective, efficient and creative board meetings. Clear board papers. Fair and robust board policies. But above all they need the right board relationships. Board relationships create the balance of support and challenge needed to achieve change.

If you’re looking to revisit your board culture you may find these resources helpful.

New trustee guides

The Charity Commission has launched a range of 5-minute guides for trustees.

The guides are designed to help trustees manage the demands of running a charity. They cover key topics to help improve your knowledge and understanding of essential trustee duties.

You can also test your knowledge with their new trustee quiz.

Take part in a governance survey

The Association of Chairs has launched a new governance survey.

They want to find out what challenges chairs and trustees are facing and what support is needed.

The survey closes on 9 October.

Lessons from governance reporting

It’s becoming more common to see organisations share outcomes of reports into their governance. In the past month, both Oldham Coliseum and Mermaids have publicly shared the outcomes of their governance reviews.

There’s a lot we can learn from how organisations across the sector deal with governance challenges. The Oldham Coliseum and Mermaids reviews both highlight lessons learned and how their boards are moving forward.

Meet our new consultant!

I’m pleased to introduce our new governance consultant, Aggie Taylor.

Aggie has a background in social impact consulting. She also has extensive experience in the youth and voluntary sectors. She’s the chair of Woodcraft Folk, and an active volunteer in her own time.

Aggie will be delivering our governance review work and trustee training. She’ll also be writing governance round-ups in future.

Training and events

Bespoke training

We’re seeing a lot of interest from organisations who’d like to run our safeguarding and trustee training in-house.

When we deliver a bespoke in-house training course we can:

  • tailor the course content to meet your needs
  • reflect your policies
  • provide opportunities for your staff and trustees to discuss challenges and issues.

We’ve had some excellent feedback.

Today's session has been absolutely brilliant ... It's not often I feel excited off the back of training but I absolutely do with this and I'm going to dive straight into our theory of change development! Thank you!

Alex Youngs, chair of trustees at Gorleston Pavilion Trust

If you’d like to discuss delivering any of our training courses in-house please contact or complete our online training contact form.

Online governance training

We run regular online trustee inductions and refresher courses over two half-days. We’re also offering brand new courses on the following areas.

  • Fundraising responsibilities for trustees
  • Safeguarding essentials for trustees
  • Supporting good governance

Browse our upcoming governance training

eLearning induction for trustees

We offer an eLearning module for trustees.

This course gives trustees a low-cost introduction to their roles.

Member events

We hold regular member assembly and welcome events.

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