With the withdrawal of the Charity Commission’s Hallmarks of an effective charity (CC10), the Charity Governance Code has become the new standard for improving the effectiveness of charity governance. Charities are expected to either apply or explain reasons for not applying the Code. In particular, boards of larger charities are expected to review their own performance annually with an external evaluation every three years.
The Foundation principle (the trustee role and charity context) states that the starting point for the Code is that “all trustees are committed to their charity’s cause and have joined its board because they want to help the charity deliver its purposes most effectively for public benefit. Trustees are expected to understand their roles and legal responsibilities and in particular to have read and understood the Charity Commission’s guidance The Essential Trustee (CC3) and their charity’s governing document”. Trustees should be “committed to good governance and want to contribute to their charity’s continued improvement”.
Seven Principles make up the Charity Governance Code. Each principle sets out the rationale, key outcomes and recommended practice, including limits on overall trustee terms.
The downloadable resources are ideal for trustees and staff who want to assess how the Code applies to their current governance practices. The downloadable questionnaire (a version is available for large charities and another for small charities) presents an opportunity for charity governing boards to assess their performance against the Foundation principle and the seven principles outlined in the Charity Governance Code. The board can decide what areas need further work and where good practice can be captured to inform continuous development.
The accompanying infographic, breaks the elements of good governance into smaller chunks and offers a roadmap to work towards governance effectiveness:
The Charity Commission states that "in general, we recommend that charities with a typical income of over £1m a year, and whose accounts are externally audited, use the larger version and charities below this threshold use the smaller version."
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