Governance round-up: September 2020

Levelling Up Our Communities report

Yesterday Danny Kruger MP published a report making proposals on how best to sustain the community spirit evident during lockdown, into the recovery phase and beyond. My colleagues in our policy team have carried out an analysis of the Levelling Up Our Communities report.

The report makes a series of recommendations for trustees and boards. Two of the key suggestions are:

  • The government should consider a requirement for employers to give time off for trustee and governor work. This is a proposal which NCVO has supported for some time and which we believe would serve to raise the profile of trusteeship. It would help increase the range of skills and experience available to charities by providing more people the time to join boards.
  • A consultation should be run on the recruitment and remuneration of trustees, including ‘the possibility of simply recompensing trustees for any loss of income they incur for giving their time’. At NCVO we’ve explored some of the challenges around renumeration in the past, including the fact that most charities could not afford to renumerate their boards. As well as the accountability risks associated with providing scrutiny of a paid executive. In 2011, Karl Wilding examined trustee payment and detailed six key questions on the topic. In a recent roundup, I explored the value of the voluntary principle for charity boards. Yet Kruger’s suggestion that renumeration can remove barriers to trusteeship and allow for wider participation in boards is an area worthy of greater exploration.

Cyber security and resilience webinar

In May the Charity Commission issued an alert to charities which warned that fraudsters were exploiting the spread of coronavirus in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. They released a webinar exploring how changes to the way we work in the new normal had opened up possible risks.

As we adjust to new ways of working, which are increasingly reliant on technology, cyber security and resilience remain a concern for boards. We’ve partnered with Zurich to offer a webinar exploring key cyber essentials. This’ll be of interest to trustees and senior managers looking to increase resilience towards modern threats such as ransomware, data breach and supply chain cyber-attacks.

Best of the blogs

My colleague Ben Westerman has written a blog looking ahead to the end of the Brexit transition period. In his blog, Ben calls on charities to act now in order to be prepared for the upcoming changes. Ben highlights changes to people, the economy, funding and volunteering. I would recommend all trustees consider the possible implications for their charity and make plans now.

In the news

In a landmark charity case, the supreme court reaffirmed that members of charitable companies have fiduciary duties and can be controlled by the courts, just like trustees. My colleague Elizabeth Chamberlain has explored the case in her policy round up.

User research opportunity

NCVO are updating our financial management content and could use your help. We’re looking for people to take part in user research. This would require participants who have some responsibility for financial matters within their organisation and who use online guidance to help them carry out their role. The session will take no more than an hour of your time and we’re offering a £20 donation as a thank you for your participation. If you’re interested in taking part, please email emily.paterson@ncvo.org.uk.

Update on the Code of Governance refresh

In last month’s round up I offered a detailed update on progress on refreshing the Charity Governance Code and shared findings from the consultation.

The code steering group have now begun work on refreshing the code with a partial focus on the integrity and diversity principles. We’re working with independent consultants Pari Dhillon and Chaka Bachmann who are bringing expert advice on diversity. As well as coordinating input from a wider range of relevant stakeholders in reshaping the recommended practice in the Diversity Principle.

Next week the steering group will meet to prioritise what’s included in the new principles and our objective remains to publish the refreshed code before the end of the year.

Trustees Week 2–9 November 2020

Trustees week 2020, like all things in 2020, will be a little different, but it’s 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. Watch this space and we’ll be sharing more details in my October blog.

Trustee Training

NCVO’s Trustee Training is now being delivered by Zoom. Our interactive sessions are split over two half days and offer an induction or refresher for board members. These have been hugely popular and we 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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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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