Governance round-up: July 2019

Support for charity whistleblowers

This month, Third Sector has reported that at the height of allegations into sexual misconduct at international charities last year, a number of whistleblowers had approached the Charity Commission with concerns.

A year on, the Commission has reaffirmed that the intelligence from whistleblowers is vital in helping to protect charities from financial loss, safeguarding and many other serious risks. As a result, the Commission has said it has now significantly upgraded the support it offers whistleblowers. This is to ensure it is effective from start to finish. It includes improvement to their advice line, so that whistleblowers can informally discuss their concerns before officially raising issues.

They say it is now easier for charity workers and volunteers to draw serious concerns about their charity to their attention, particularly where the charity’s trustees and senior management team aren’t addressing them.

Display of trustee legal names on the charity register

From 1 April 2020, the names of all charity trustees will be displayed to the public on the charity register. The Charity Commission maintains the register of charities and makes the register available to the public. Trusteeship is a serious responsibility and displaying a trustee’s name to the public allows for accountability.

In special circumstances however the commission can prevent a trustee’s name from being made public on the charity register. In particular, where there are personal circumstances or collective reasons which might place trustees in personal danger. This is known as granting a dispensation.

The commission has extended the date for changes to public display names from September to April.

Cyber security guidance for trustees

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have launched a new board toolkit to help trustees improve their organisations cyber security. The toolkit is designed to inform cyber security discussions between the Board and their technical experts.

The toolkit encourages an iterative process of review and comprises three overlapping components:

  1. Get the information you need to make well informed decisions on the risks you face.
  2. Use this information to understand and prioritise your risks.
  3. Take steps to manage those risks.

In the news…

Change the law to avoid the need for trading subsidiaries: Charities and Trading, a paper written by Pesh Framjee and supported by the Charity Finance Group and ACEVO argues that separate trading bodies bring increased costs and administrative burdens and that the law should be changed to avoid the requirement for charities to establish them.

Navca Chair steps down: Navca is the national membership body for local voluntary sector support and development organisations, their chair John Tizard has stepped down after 7 months.

NCVO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference Monday 4 November 2019

Registration for our annual trustees conference is now open. Join us as we explore what good governance looks like for modern charities, using the key principles of the Charity Governance Code. Book now for the early bird discount.

Training and events

Governance training

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

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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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