Seven-point Code for good governance
Charity Governance has become a hot topic in recent years and the revised Charity Governance Code is worthy of highlighting.
The Code is not a legal requirement but a set of seven principles with several recommended practices to encourage good governance with the bar set intentionally high. It is hoped that it will be considered and followed.
The trustees should be clear about the charity’s aims and that they are being delivered effectively with a focus on strategy and performance, and a regular assessment on how well its agreed outcomes are being achieved.
The trustees should provide effective and strategic leadership to accomplish the charity’s aims and values, should lead by example reflecting its values in a positive manner.
It should go without saying, but apparently cannot be taken for granted, that trustees must act with integrity promoting a culture within the charity to achieve its charitable purposes. Trustees are responsible for maintaining the public’s confidence and trust in the charity, maintaining its high reputation and act to safeguard and promote those aims. Trustees must put the charity’s interests before their own and be alert to improper influence.
Decision-making, risk and control:
Trustees must ensure all decision-making processes are rigorous, informed with effective and monitored risk assessment and management systems. Effective and judicial delegation is key and a rigorous decision making process to achieve this outcome.
Trustees act as a team using their background skills and knowledge to make informed decisions. Good leadership will draw on those skills creating a culture that allows differing opinions to be expressed.
Differing backgrounds can help create an atmosphere of informed debate enabling the charity to cope with fast moving changes, reacting accordingly and thereby improve the decision making process. Choosing trustees from varying backgrounds and experience can stimulate a variety of ideas and future vision.
Openness and accountability:
To achieve and maintain public trust and confidence the charity, its leadership and processes, should be transparent and accountable. Celebrate its successes and learn from mistakes through genuine communication with all those who come into contact with it.
This is just the briefest of outlines. The Charity Commission say they will not take regulatory action against charities that fail to apply the new sector governance code but its release is ‘very much the start of what needs to be a process to socialise the code and create a movement around good governance’. Remember the Code is designed to promote high standards of governance, but the processes to achieve this are for the trustees to design.
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