The Charity Governance Code steering group will be consulting later on this year on an update to to Code to try to improve it still further.
With what feels like a blink of an eye, its now two years since publication of the new edition of the Charity Governance Code. The Code, which is designed for all charities, is overseen by a steering group of sector infrastructure bodies and umbrella bodies, and I am the independent (in all senses) chair of that Group. (See www.charitygovernancecode.org)
The Code is voluntary – it is not a legal or regulatory requirement. Its aim, simply put, is to assist charities and their trustees to reach the highest standards of governance, and with an emphasis on inspiring charities to continually improve to be excellent.
We have been delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response of the sector to the 2017 edition of the Code. Recent research, published by RSM, examining take-up of the Code has found that 44% of larger charities (which the report defines as those with a turnover of more than £5 million) now include a statement about their adoption and use of the Code in their published trustee annual report. (See https://www.rsmuk.com/ideas-and-insights/decoding-the-charity-governance-code.)
The research also measured charities’ overall governance ratings. It found that the ratings were nearly 10% higher for those charities who are using the Code, compared with those who do not. We will use these powerful findings as further evidence to show the Code’s value.
As good practice, the Code needs to remain up-to-date and relevant, and much has changed in the two years since the new edition of the Code was published. Feedback is that the structure and key principles in the Code work well, and charities are still getting used to it. We also hear that there are detailed aspects of the Code which would benefit from a refresh.
In the autumn we will consult on these possible changes to the Code that might be made within its overall framework. Some potential changes that we’ve identified so far include:
This list isn’t exhaustive. It is intended to start the conversation about how the Code should be refreshed to stay abreast of the environment in which charities are working. We will launch formal consultation in November on proposed changes to update the Code. In the meantime, we welcome any initial thoughts on how the Code has worked to date and how it might be improved for the next three years.
Rosie Chapman, Chair, Charity Governance Code Steering Group.
A variation on this article first appeared in the July 2019 edition of Governance & Leadership.
rcadmin August 7th, 2019
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