Governance round-up: September 2018

Serious incident reporting

Charities that don’t report serious incident reports to the Charity Commission could be deemed more risky than those that do, says its director of investigations Michelle Russell. The topic was under discussion at law firm BWB’s annual charity tea party, which was reported on by Third Sector magazine.

The topic of serious incident reporting and organisational reputation received renewed focus last year, most notably in relation to safeguarding. As such, this perspective from the regulator will be helpful if it shifts public opinion, and provides reassurance to trustees who may have been concerned about making serious incident reports for fear it would be viewed negatively.

Instead, this news suggests the commission wants to encourage the use of serious incident reporting as a means of managing risk and ensuring transparency within the sector, rather than as an indication of wrongdoing.

Trustees role and contribution research

Henley Business School has launched a major research programme exploring the role and contribution of charity trustees.

They have conducted a series of interviews with chairs, CEOs, trustees and other stakeholders had have now developed a survey to gain further insight. The business school is looking for executive and non-executive board members to complete the survey. The survey aims to provide insights to improve governance and support for trustees, provide a picture of the demands, constraints and dilemmas they face, and produce recommendations for discussion.

NCVO is pleased to support this work as we expect the findings will be useful in expanding our understanding of effective governance and the contribution of trustees. We would encourage you and your board to complete this survey and share the link with other board members.

The survey should take 15-20 minutes to complete and closes on 15 October 2018 You can access the survey here.

All responses will be treated anonymously, with the results summarised in an aggregated form. We will feed back on findings later in the year. If you have any questions please contact Filipe Morais at Henley Business School:

In the news

Post-Oxfam, charities must come clean on how donors’ money is spent

Jane Dudman has written about the challenge created by funders needing charities to demonstrate high proportions of spending on frontline costs, in The Guardian. She argues funders need to recognise the value in spending money on managing a charity well, and monitoring in vital areas like safeguarding.

Local Charity leadership

In Civil Society, Kevin Curley argues local charity leadership is about more than ensuring they have enough money. He makes the case for developing both strong values and understanding how much can be achieved through collaboration with other charities, and placing volunteers at the heart of service delivery.

From the Commission

Storytelling in annual reports and accounts

The Charity Commission has published the results of its latest monitoring reviews of charity trustees’ annual reports and accounts. It has scrutinised a random sample of just over 100 reports. This makes for interesting reading and is a reminder that charity reports are an opportunity to explain to the public what organisations do and how funds are used.

The commission found the most common reason for inadequate reporting was the trustees’ annual report did not explain the charitable activities the charity had carried out. This research provides useful insight for reviewing our own reports. It can be used as an opportunity to reflect on how you might better tell the story of your organisation, communicate your impact and be open and transparent, particularly in relation to how money is spent. At NCVO we have a range of resources to support charities in understanding and communicating their impact.

NCVO training and events

Keynote speakers at NCVO/BWB Trustee conference confirmed

We are delighted to confirm three leading keynote speakers for our annual gathering of trustees. Caroline Thomson the chair of Oxfam GB, Dame Mary Marsh former chief executive at the NSPCC and chair of trustees at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health who has led on drafting its code of ethics and Thea Longley, partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite have all been confirmed as keynote speakers for our annual trustees conference on 5 November.

Registration is still open if you want to hear from them or attend our expert led workshops register here.

NCVO public services training and consulting

We are excited to launch a revised public services training and consulting offer drawing on NCVO’s wealth of experience in this area. If your charity wants help understanding and succeeding in the public service market environment, then we’d love to discuss how we can help you. Similarly, we can also help commissioners to work well with their local voluntary sector, and develop their provider market, with the aim of improving and transforming public services.


Dan Francis is NCVO’s senior governance consultant. For more regular updates follow @mynameisdanfran or @NCVO on Twitter.



This entry was posted in Policy, Practical support and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Like this? Read more

Avatar photo Dan is responsible for NCVO’s governance consultancy offer, focusing on governance reviews, board performance and trustee training. He joined NCVO from the National Union of Students (NUS) where, as a long standing consultant, he supported the organisational development of local students’ unions as charities.

Comments are closed.