Governance round-up: June 2020

RNIB and Charity Commission alert on the importance of transparent and accountable governance

The Charity Commission has written to hundreds of charities with an income over £9m who provide services. The alert has warned them about the risks of weak governance and came on the same day it published an inquiry report into the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). My colleague Elizabeth Chamberlain has written about the lessons for all charities from that report.

The regulatory alert recommended that trustees of larger charities take the following steps:

  • Make sure there is a strategy for regular and effective communication with executives about the charity’s purposes, values, work and achievements.
  • Regularly review the charity’s process for managing risks.
  • Review whether your charity’s governance and management committees have suitable terms of reference, exercise oversight and involve the right people with the right skills. Make sure there are clear lines of responsibility and reporting between all bodies involved.
  • Make sure there is a transparent, effective and timely process for making and handling a complaint.

The Charity Governance Code and our knowhow board basics resources will help trustees make sure these issues are addressed.

Publication of Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector

The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organistions (ACEVO) together with Voice4Change England have published Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector. Members of NCVO’s BAME network and equity, diversity and inclusion group shared their initial responses in a two-part blog post.

ACEVO make clear that the report ‘contains uncomfortable home truths for many white leaders who do not understand how racism manifests in their own organisations and actions’. The report makes a series of recommendations on how the charity sector can prevent discrimination and harm, and create an inclusive culture. Trustees will find it useful to read the report or listen to the podcast and discuss how they can develop strategies for improving their own approaches to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Corporate insolvency and governance bill becomes law

The corporate insolvency and governance bill has received royal assent and become law. In last month’s roundup I explored the provisions in the new law and how these will provide organisations with flexibility on holding member meetings and breathing space to avoid insolvency.

From the Commission

Regulating in the public interest: The Charity Commission has published a report drawing together the main findings of several research projects it has undertaken exploring the relationship between the public’s view of charities and the role of regulation.

Increased risk of fraud: The Charity Commission has issued an alert that fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime.

Dan Francis is NCVO’s lead governance consultant. 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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