Governance Round-up: September 2021

Launch of new guide to recruiting Black and Asian charity trustees

Only 8% of trustees in England and Wales are from Black and Asian backgrounds and 34% of UK major charities have all white senior leadership teams. Action for Trustee Racial Diversity have published ‘From Here to Diversity’, the first ever guidance specifically designed to support boards with recruiting Black and Asian charity trustees. The guide will be of use to organisations looking to implement the 2020 iteration of the Charity Governance Code which includes an enhanced diversity principle.

The guide, which has been supported by the Co-op Foundation, explores:

  • overcoming the barriers to a more racially diverse board
  • reaching and engaging diverse networks
  • best practice in Black and Asian trustee recruitment
  • inclusion and succession.

The guide can be downloaded for free (pdf). Print copies are available through the Directory of Social Change.

Trustees Week 2021 plans

Trustees Weeks will kick off on 1 November! The week is an annual opportunity to celebrate the excellent work of trustees, encourage new people to consider trusteeship and provide tools and support to boards.

This year we’re running a series of free to attend events. Registration will open in October and I’ll share a special update to let you know when you can secure your spot for these sessions. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. A flavour of our events includes:

  • The trustee recruitment lifecycle
    Tuesday 2
    9.30—11.00
  • Leading equality, diversity, and inclusion in your board
    Wednesday 3
    11.00—12:00
  • Undertaking a governance review, NCVO and Trusted Charity
    Wednesday 3
    13:00—13:45
  • Leading by example on mental health and wellbeing
    Thursday 4
    9.30—11.00
  • Strengthening board relationships in times of uncertainty
    Friday 5
    14.00—15.30

New guidance on setting up an organisation

We’ve overhauled our guidance on setting up a new organisation. This new section of our website offers clear guidance on the practical steps to setting up, including:

  • how to decide to set up
  • choosing a legal form
  • understanding charity status
  • writing a new governing document.

The guidance will also be useful for anyone thinking about changing the legal form of their organisation.

NCVO’s new governance consultant

I am delighted NCVO has successfully appointed Sally Stephens as the latest addition to our consultancy team. Sally brings extensive experience implementing the Charity Governance Code with small and medium charities, and undertaking governance reviews. Sally has a background in governance management and strategic support. She is a trustee of two community-based arts charities, Leeds Vocal Movement and Northern Opera Group, and currently serves as secretary for Elliot’s Footprint.

Sally will start working with us in October, delivering trustee training and governance reviews. This role is central to growing our work on governance and our support to charities. Once she settles in Sally and I will take turns writing these blogs so you will hear from her soon!

Visit our website for more information on our consultancy or training services.

In the news

Recruitment of new Charity Commission chair

In the Sunday Telegraph, culture secretary Oliver Dowden claimed charities are being ‘hijacked by a vocal minority seeking to burnish their woke credentials’, ultimately suggesting they’re distracted from their core missions and wasting huge sums of money in the process.

In response, our CEO Sarah Vibert wrote about the important role charities play in delivering powerful change and how it’s essential the chair of the commission remain a neutral arbiter.

In her analysis of the story in Civil Society, Kirsty Weakley sets out the risks of a politically motivated appointment and suggests the article will lead to an atmosphere of distrust.

This story, and the sectors response, is important for boards. Not just because of the potential implications for the regulator but also as a reminder that raising challenging issues is often a core role of charities. Where issues impact the people and communities they support, and where concerns align with the charities purpose, then advocacy is important. Trustees play a key role in overseeing such activity and justifying the steps taken in a particular case.

New secretary of state

Nadine Dorries was appointed as culture secretary in the government reshuffle. At the time of writing there is currently no charities minister after Baroness Barran was moved to the Department for Education in last week’s reshuffle.

The Charity Commission annual public meeting

The Charity Commission has given notice of its annual public meeting which will be held on 30 September at 14.00. The meeting will be held virtually and is open to all members of the public and charity representatives. Chair Ian Karet will host a Q&A session with Helen Stephenson and her executive team, taking questions from the public. You can sign up to the event online.

Training and events

  • Webinar: Launch of UK Civil Society Almanac, our ground-breaking data resource, on the size, scope and financial circumstances of the voluntary sector. The Almanac provides boards with important contextual and sector wide information on which to make informed decisions
  • Online trustee training: We run regular online trustee inductions and refresher courses over two half days.
  • Online training on volunteering: We’re relaunching our volunteering and the law course on the November 10. This half day session will cover safeguarding, data protection, health and safety, and equality.
  • eLearning induction for trustees: We recently launched our new eLearning module for trustees. This offers trustees a low-cost introduction to their roles.
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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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