Governance round-up: August 2019

NCVO launch governance innovation fund

We are delighted to be launching the Winifred Tumim Memorial Fund for innovation in charity governance. This new fund is replacing the NCVO governance award which we feel has been superseded by the excellent charity governance awards.

The new fund has been established in honour of the work done by Lady Winifred Tumim, chair of NCVO from 1996–2001, to improve the quality of charity governance.

A grant of £1000 will be awarded for work which supports innovation in good governance, for example:

  • trialling and testing a new approach
  • developing a tool for NCVO which can be used to support good governance
  • undertaking some thought leadership work.

Entries are welcome from organisations and individuals. In making the grant, particular attention will be paid to how any output supports the adoption of the Charity Governance Code and uses new or innovation approaches to tackle common challenges.

The successful applicant will be asked to produce an output for NCVO – this may be a practical tool, guidance, blog or short report into the lessons from their work.

Find out more information on the criteria and how to apply here.

Charity Governance Code refresh

The latest version of the Charity Governance Code (the code) was launched in July 2017.  This third iteration represented a significant change from earlier versions. At the time of its publication trustees’ oversight of fundraising and excessive executive pay had been the subject of much negative coverage and some high-profile regulatory inquiries had focused on the shortcomings of a few trustees. The Code was not a response to this small number of cases. Rather, it offered the steering group’s contribution to strengthening governance and supporting trustees in their roles.

The current Code places significant emphasis on the importance of leadership, values, transparency and accountability. It has been endorsed by the Charity Commission and is recognised as establishing the expectations for high performance in governance. Recent research found that 44% of larger charities include a statement about their use of the Code in their annual report.

When publishing the Code it was always the intention of our steering group to review the contents and impact at three-year intervals. As we approach that stage, we are very conscious that for many trustees the code is still new and that lots of organisations have plans on how to implement practice. The last thing we want to do is move the goal posts when we see so many charities engaged in using the framework.

We are however aware that the world hasn’t stood still and nor can the standard on good governance. As such we propose a refresh of the code, focused on incorporating recent developments into recommended practice. The code’s independent chair Rosie Chapman recently wrote in Civil Society’s governance and leadership magazine that some potential changes may include:

  • examining the relationship between the Code and NCVO’s Ethical Principles.
  • exploring whether there are any areas of the Code that may need greater emphasis or clarity
  • the Code’s reflection on expectations about board behaviour
  • the trustee role in the efficacy of fundraising practice
  • how the code applies to organisations with different governance structures, eg unitary boards
  • ensuring alignment with SORP changes.

This list isn’t exhaustive. It is intended to start the conversation. As a steering group intend to begin this process of public consultation in November. In the meantime if you have any thoughts or suggestions you feel the code steering group should consider please let me know. We are grateful to Barrow Cadbury and Clothworkers for their continued support with this work.

Civil society strategy one year on

9 August marked one year since the government launched its civil society strategy. Since then we have seen changes, with new ministers in charge of civil society policy, as well as the shift in focus on all the departments’ resources and capacity on preparing for Brexit. Elizabeth Chamberlain, our Head of Policy asks what has been achieved? and is the civil society strategy still needed?

Training and Events

NCVO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference 2019

Join 400 colleagues from across the sector at the leading annual event for trustees, chairs, honorary treasurers, chief executives and anyone who works with a governing board.

I recently wrote a blog on my five hot picks for the event taking place on 4 November. Don’t miss out on early bird booking which closes on 6 September.

Governance training

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

 

NVCO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference 2019

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Dan Francis 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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