Charity governance code

The Charity Governance Code is the standard of good governance to which all charities should aspire and it has replaced the Charity Commission’s Hallmarks of an Effective Charity as the tool to support continuous improvement. 

The Code is principles based covering:

  • Organisational purpose – “board is clear about the charity’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably”
  • Leadership – “charity is led by an effective board that provides strategic leadership in line with the charity’s aims and values”
  • Integrity – “board acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which help achieve the organisation’s charitable purposes. The board is aware of the importance of the public’s confidence and trust in charities, and trustees undertake their duties accordingly”
  • Decision making risk and control – “board makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely and that effective delegation, control and risk assessment and management systems are set up and monitored”
  • Board effectiveness – “board works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions”
  • Equality, diversity & inclusion – “board’s approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision-making”
  • Openness and accountability – “board leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable. The charity is open in its work, unless there is good reason for it not to be”

The Code was refreshed in December 2020 and this latest version has an emphasis on enhancements to the principles of:

  • Integrity – this has been expanded to ensure adoption of appropriate safeguarding
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – encouraging diversity to reflect the community you are serving

A review of the requirements of the Code should be considered as part of the training which all charity trustees are required to undertake. If you have not formally looked at the Code for some time, now may be an opportune time to do so

Deborah Austin is Dafferns Charity Services Manager – please contact her to discuss anything arising from this post