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New Charity Governance Code
Posted: 17 July 2017

The Charity Governance Code is overseen by a steering group of charity umbrella bodies comprised of the Association of Chairs, Acevo, ICSA:The Governance Institute, NCVO, the Small Charities Coalition and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.  The group has an independent Chair, Rosie Chapman. 
Consultation on the Code, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Clothworkers Foundation, began last year and received over 200 responses, leading to the refreshed Code published last week.
Rosie Chapman states 'The code for the first time sets out clear aspirations for a charity board to meet. This code is a great stepping off point to help charities navigate the changes. It will be an essential tool for charities to use and will greatly assist them to develop and grow in their effectiveness'.
In addition to the suggested three year review period, key recommendations include:
  • increasing diversity on boards
  • a limit of nine years for trustee terms unless a good reason is given
  • more oversight of subsidiaries
  • stronger emphasis on the role of the Chair
Amongst the many positive statements made by the steering group, of particular note for smaller organisations, John Barrett, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, said 'The code sets the aspirations for good governance, and in applying it, small charities should take a proportional approach and remember application of the code is about continuous improvement, not perfection.'
The Charity Commission has withdrawn its 'Hallmarks of an Effective Charity' guidance in favour of directing people to the new code and charities are urged to include a line in their annual accounts explaining if they have followed the code, which could be a useful tool for grantmakers.
Full details of the updated Code are available on the Charity Governance Code website.