Governance round-up: February 2022

Kids Company report

This month saw the publication of the long-awaited Charity Commission report into the closure of Kids Company, six years after the charity closed its doors. Most of the delay was due to the official receiver seeking to disqualify the former trustees and chief executive as company directors – an action rejected by the High Court last year. While the Charity Commission found no misconduct by the trustees, it did find mismanagement.

The Kids Company case is one that casts a long shadow over the charity sector. The report catalogues the set of circumstances that led to its demise. Whilst the combination of events is unique in its scale, some of the contributing factors will be familiar to many boards. My colleague Chris Walker has written about the report’s red flags, and what charities and trustees can learn, in his detailed analysis of the report. Chris highlights the importance of:

  • diversifying funding
  • establishing and managing reserves
  • developing a balanced approach to risk and reward
  • reviewing governance and succession planning.

These are complex topics for any organisation. Adopting and implementing the Charity Governance Code is probably one of the clearest steps that boards can take to ensure they’re navigating risks. At NCVO we also have a range of guidance that can help trustees address these areas. This includes guidance on fundraising and income generation, as well as risk management and board effectiveness. We also have a step-by-step guide to scenario planning.

New chair of the Charity Governance Code announced

Together with our Charity Governance Code partners, we’re delighted to announce Radojka Miljevic as the new independent chair of the Charity Governance Code steering group.

Radojka brings a wealth of experience to the role. She has served on different types of boards and has many years of governance, management and research experience across a variety of sectors. She is currently a partner at management consultancy Campbell Tickell, leading their governance and strategy work.

The appointment follows a rigorous and transparent recruitment process, made possible through funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust and The Clothworkers’ Company. Executive recruitment agency Green Park were appointed to ensure a robust, inclusive, and accessible selection process.

Radojka will take over this voluntary position in February from Rosie Chapman, who has been chair of the group for the last six years. Rosie has reflected on her time as chair, the difference the recent revisions have made and the challenges for the future in a recent interview with the Chartered Governance Interview.

BoardLead London 2022: Application deadline

The application deadline for BoardLead London has been extended to 4 March at 17.00. BoardLead, which is supported by NCVO and Trustees Unlimited, is an award-winning board placement, training, and support programme. Its goal is to strengthen good governance by connecting charities to high-performing, skilled professionals. The programme has placed more than 1,500 employees from Fortune 500 companies and professional service firms on over 850 boards across the United States and in Greater London.

The great news for charities is that candidates matched through BoardLead not only bring leadership, professional skills, and experiences from the corporate sector, they’re also trained on best governance practices and demonstrate a strong interest in advancing social causes. BoardLead is proud to offer this programme at no cost to charities due to the generosity of funders.

Interested in learning more? Watch the Spring 2022 informational webinar.

Ashley Bratrud, the BoardLead London Manager, is also available to address any questions you may have at ashley@causestrategypartners.com.

To start your application, complete the registration form.

Boards should take a leadership role in flexible working

The voluntary sector needs to lead the way on flexible working and advertise all roles as flexible, with employers encouraging open conversations about how it can work in their organisation. That’s according to the Time to Flex report launched by NCVO and ACEVO, with support executive search firm Starfish Search.

The report calls on trustees to set up the conditions for CEOs and executive leaders to work flexibly and says that boards have a wider role in overseeing a flexible working culture. Trustees should take a scrutiny approach and ask the right questions:

  • What is our approach to flexible working?
  • How many people are working flexibly in practice?
  • What else can we do to support flexibility?

In the news

Charity Commission chair appointment:

At NCVO we have called for the appointment of a new Charity Commission chair to be an urgent priority. Our call follows the surprising withdrawal of Martin Thomas before he took up the role at the end of last year.

Captain Tom Foundation:

News broke of concerns over how the Captain Tom Foundation had been managed. Stories have examined the proportion of spending on fundraising, payments to companies owned by trustees and appointments to staff positions. It was revealed that the Fundraising Regulator, Charity Commission and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) all looked at concerns in 2021.

Training and events

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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