Governance and trustees

Governance is a term used to describe the trustees’ role in:

  • the long term direction of the charity, including its objectives or purposes 
  • implementing policies and activities to achieve objectives
  • complying with legal requirements 
  • accountability to those with an interest or 'stake' in the charity.

Good governance should happen throughout a charity. The trustee board is responsible for good governance but they rely on many different people to be able to govern well: staff, volunteers, advisors and stakeholders.

Information and guidance

NCVO Knowhow is our main advice and support website. You'll find expert advice and how-to guides written by the community. View our governance resources on Knowhow.

NCVO is one of the founding partners behind the Charity Governance Code, the third iteration of which was launched in the summer of 2017.

The Charity Commission has lots of detailed guidance for trustees and charities, and The Essential Trustee is an important read for all trustees.

Training and events

The annual NCVO Trustee Conference in association with Bates Wells is the leading trustee event for the voluntary sector. Join over 500 trustees and improve your knowledge, learn new skills, network and develop exceptional governance within your organisation.

NCVO runs a number of training courses around governance. Take a look at our events listing to find out about upcoming events of get in touch with us for more information. We also host an online eLearning course on the roles and duties of trustees. This interactive course lets you study at your own pace and can fit around your schedule and priorities.

Trustee recruitment

NCVO members can advertise trustee board vacancies for free with Trustees Unlimited, the UK’s leading trustee and board recruitment agency.

Step on Board

Step on Board is a full service board-level volunteering programme that matches executives with suitable trustee roles, and gives them support and training. Find out more

Consultancy support

At NCVO we offer specialist training and consultancy on governance to voluntary and community organisations striving to make a difference.

Trusted Suppliers

Trustees Unlimited offers voluntary organisations a professional and cost-effective service to recruit trustees from across the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Lucas Fettes provides employers with the information and expert support they need to comply with the forthcoming pension reform. As part of this service, they have produced a quick guide to pension reform for trustees and have produced a series of bulletins that form a complete reference guide to Pension Reform.

Setting up a charity?

If you are thinking of starting a charity, there are a number of resources available to you. 

NCVO Knowhow has an entire section dedicated to setting up a charity from starting out to finding out your legal status. 

The Charity Commission also has lots of useful information about starting a charity, the registration process and much more. 

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