Governance round-up: August 2020

Planning for a merger

We know that the coming months are going to be extremely challenging for many charities. As the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on charity funds becomes apparent, we anticipate that many trustees will understandably be exploring partnerships or mergers to ensure the continuation of their work.

Last week we hosted a webinar with Bates Wells law firm exploring the key issues any board will need to consider in deciding to merge or collaborate with another charity.

To further support boards considering their options we have also overhauled our Knowhow merger guidance. These pages now offer a guide to the pre-merger considerations, the merger process and post-merger actions a charity may need to take. This is presented alongside key due diligence steps.

Finally, we are also pleased to see that Bates Wells have launched a new free tool developed for the sector. This practical online diagnostic offers a step by step approach to help organisations consider their options. The tool guides trustees through the key questions they need to consider and will help them understand the range of legal considerations associated with these processes.We hope that boards experiencing financial difficulty find these tools useful when thinking about how best to fulfil their charitable purpose sustainably in the future.

Consultation findings on the Code of Governance

When the Code steering group published the latest version of the Charity Governance Code in 2017 we and our steering group partners made a commitment to continually improve the Code. 2020 marks the three year point and earlier in the year we ran a public consultation into the changes people wanted to see. In early August this year the steering group published its findings and you can read the report here.

The key findings include:

  • 85% of respondents agreed that this should be a ‘refresh only’ and that a major rework of the Code would not be helpful at this stage
  • There was support for a review of the integrity principle and a need to consider carefully what is meant by ‘integrity’ and how best to incorporate NCVO’s ethical principles and reflect the ‘right to feel safe’ under this principle
  • It was widely accepted by respondents that the diversity principle should be broadened to address aspects of inclusion and equity at a board level, and within a charity. To help take this forward we have commissioned specialist consultants to support the steering group and engage a wider range of relevant stakeholders

Trustees Week 2 – 9 November 2020

Trustees Week 2020 like all events in 2020, will be a little different, but it is going ahead so put the dates in your diary! Trustees week is an annual celebration of trustees and the opportunity to share tools and best practice across the sector.

We will not be hosting our annual trustees conference this year. Instead we will be holding a series of free online events and  workshops on board effectiveness. We will also be publishing useful resources and allowing free access to our online governance tools for all.

We are also collaborating with a range of partners to ensure there is an event for everyone across the week, so do get in touch and let us know if you have anything planned. Watch this space and I’ll be sharing more details in my September blog.

Trustee Training

I am pleased to say we have reintroduced our trustee training, which will now be delivered via Zoom. These have been hugely popular and we will continue to add new dates. To browse our governance courses and other sessions visit our training pages.


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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