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Performance Management

How does your Charity’s Governance measure up?

Almond_TreeIn recent years, there have been many reports of charity failures and poor practices or behaviours by charities.  While the larger charities get the headlines, even a cursory glance at Charity Commission regulatory reports shows that such failings are found in charities of all sizes, types and sectors.  The common theme linking almost all is governance failings.  As a result, the need for good governance in charities has achieved an unprecedented prominence in the press, with regulators and amongst politicians.

The publication in July 2017 of a new Charity Governance Code is therefore timely and a key opportunity for the sector to put its house in order.  The new code, which replaces the previous Good Governance, A Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector, has been developed by a group comprising the NCVO, ACEVO, ICSA, Association of Chairs and Small Charities Coalition with support from the Charity Commission.

The Code aims to help charities develop high standards of governance.  It adopts an “apply or explain” ethos; challenging charities to apply its recommended practice or to explain why not.  It is not a legal or regulatory framework; however, it is likely to be the benchmark used by the Charity Commission in assessing the health of charity governance (which is perhaps why, in response to publication of the Code, the Commission will be withdrawing their publication Hallmarks of an Effective Charity).

The code, which has separate versions for larger and smaller charities, sets out recommended governance practice for charities, structured around 7 principles:

  • Organisational purpose
  • Leadership
  • Integrity
  • Decision making, risk and control
  • Board effectiveness
  • Diversity
  • Openness and accountability

All charities should be considering how they measure up against the new Code to ensure that they either apply practice or can explain why not.

Working with our associate, Almond Tree Strategic Consulting – a specialist charity sector consultancy, Improvement Skills Consulting is offering our contacts a free high level diagnostic check to assess the quality of your charity’s governance and how you match up against the key outcomes in the new Code.  Simply complete the online survey here for larger charities (generally those with annual income of over £1m) or here for smaller charities.  It should only take 15-20 to complete.  Almond Tree will then send you a short report highlighting strengths and areas for development in your governance.  We are only able to make this free offer for a single response per charity, so you may want to get some of your Trustees and senior staff huddled round a computer to agree answers to the questions.

If you want an in-depth assessment of your charity’s compliance with the recommended practice in the new Code, Almond Tree are offering an introductory discount rate of £200-400 + VAT to Improvement Skills Consulting contacts who want to complete a comprehensive survey and receive a compliance report for their charity.  The exact rate will depend on how many people will complete the survey from your charity.  We recommend the best results will be achieved if all Trustees and the CEO (or equivalent) separately complete the survey (which should take around 30-45 minutes to complete).  If you want to take up this offer, please contact Julian Lomas at Almond Tree by email at julian@almondtreeconsulting.co.uk or 07802 957938.

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