Governance round-up: December 2019

A year in charity governance

This is my last round-up of 2019. I want to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the bigger charity governance developments of the last year.

In 2019 at NCVO we’ve also finalised our online governance tools and guidance. This means that wherever the Code describes a governance document, process or function a board should have in place, we’ve developed a template, guidance or online training to help trustees implement best practice. Some of the most popular resources and support include:

If you spot a gap or areas where you think something is missing, let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

The Beacon Programme’s final year – supporting chairs of smaller charities

There are many exciting plans in store for the final year of the Association of Chairs’ Beacon Programme. The programme was set up in 2017 to support chairs and vice-chairs of smaller charities and voluntary organisations in England, with an annual income of under £1 million. In 2020, many of the programme’s most popular webinars and workshops will be rerun in locations all over England. Some new events will also be launched including online peer surgeries and expert insight sessions. These aim to bring chairs together online and provide them with the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences with each other and/or an expert. The programme’s resource bank is also continually being added to and is full of practical support and advice on good chairing practices in smaller charities.

Sign up to the programme for free to book onto Beacon events and access resources. Signed up already? If you’ve enjoyed Beacon so far, please help the programme reach as many small charity chairs and vice-chairs as possible by spreading the word, using #ShareBeacon on Twitter.

Sector trends and your board strategy

Last month we ran a free webinar on how sector wide trends drawn from our almanac data can help inform your next board strategy.

Charity governance awards 2020

You’ve got just over a month to submit your application to next years charity governance awards. There are seven categories covering every kind of charitable organisation. Shortlisted charities will be invited to an exclusive awards ceremony and reception where the winners will be announced. The winning charity in each category will receive £5,000.

We want your feedback! Charity Governance Code review

As mentioned above, the Code is going through a review to ensure it remains fresh and fit for purpose. Understanding of what’s good governance evolves, as do the expectations of the sector’s various stakeholders. When we published the new edition of the Code in summer 2017, the intention of the steering group was to review the contents and impact of the Code at three-year intervals, to make sure that it remains current. As such, we’re launching a consultation on how the Code can be improved. Make sure you complete the consultation before the end of February 2020.

From the commission

Commission wins high court case

The high court has found former trustees of a Bristol-based charity the Darren Wright Foundation, that raised funds to support the families of people with disabilities, to be in contempt of court.

The Charity Commission won the case after trustees repeatedly failed to comply with commission orders seeking information required for their investigation. This is a landmark case in that the Commission has never before pursued such a case through the court. This underlines the Commissions powers to request evidence from trustees during investigations.

The Commission is continuing to investigate the charity over concerns about its management and governance. It had opened a statutory inquiry on 29 November 2017.

Trustee payments and mismanagement

An inquiry into a London-based Christian charity has found evidence of serious misconduct and mismanagement by the former trustees. This included the payment of salaries in breach in the charities governing documents.

If your charity is considering making a payment to trustees for any service then be sure you read commission guidance on the topic, avoid conflicting interests and stay within the rules.

Training and conferences

Annual Conference

At the 2020 Annual Conference  on 20 April we ask the question: What next for the voluntary sector? In this time of uncertainty, the conference will provide a space for leaders to come together to discuss the role of the sector in a rapidly changing world. Book now.


You might also be interested in our regular Introduction to Trusted Charity Quality Mark courses.

Thanks for reading in 2019. I’ll be back in the new year with a lot more!

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

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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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