Governance round-up: February 2019

Warning for think tank

The Charity Commission has warned the Institute of Economic Affairs, a charitable think tank, over breaches of charity law. The commission found that a report published by the institute sought explicitly to change government policy on an issue unrelated to the charity’s purpose.

Stepping back from the topic, this is an interesting example of the commission flexing its regulatory authority in relation to charitable purpose and campaigning. Although an organisation cannot be charitable if its purposes are political, and charities cannot be party political, campaigning can be an important part of a charity’s work. Charities can of course campaign and lobby, so long as they do so in the context of supporting their charity’s purposes. As a reminder to trustees, the commission’s Campaigning and political activity guidance for charities sets out these rules.

Governance Forum March

NCVO’s Governance Forum meets twice a year, the next meeting will be on 4 March in London. This cost-effective event is intended to provide peer support, learning and the sharing of good practice for governance professionals across civil society.

At the next meeting, we will explore the newly published Charity Ethical Principles and ask how these complement the Charity Governance Code. We will also hear from Trustees Unlimited on their work to diversify boards and discuss what practical steps trustees can take to ensure diversity. We will also receive an update for the commission on its latest plans and developments.

If you are a governance professional working with boards then don’t miss this opportunity to meet with peers. For more information and to register click here.

Check and update details before submitting return

The commission has updated its online annual return service, meaning that all registered charities in England and Wales will now need to check and update their details before they submit an annual return. This is designed to help charity trustees ensure that the register is accurate.

New NCVO tools

At NCVO we have launched two new tools designed to support the boards and senior managers of small and medium-sized charities.

  • Our new CEO report template is designed to help boards define the information they want to receive from the executive so that they can exercise scrutiny and remain updated on key developments. The template also supports the CEO in delivering concise and valuable information to the board, so we recommend the report is made forever board meeting.
  • We have also updated our Trustee Recruitment Pack, to support smaller organisations in running effective recruitment processes and attracting trustees with the skills and experience to support the organisation.

Start-up guide from the Small Charities Coalition

The Small Charities Coalition has launched a free digital tool to help people set up small charities and register with the Charity Commission. Take a look at the tool for more information.

Training and Events

NCVO Annual Conference

Registration open for the NCVO Annual Conference which will take place on 1 April. The conference is themed on looking to the future with a focus on navigating through major changes and identifying trends and tools that can support your organisation.

Governance training

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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.

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