Governance round-up: April 2022

New Charity Commission chair confirmed

Orlando Fraser has been confirmed as the new chair of the Charity Commission, following a 12-month search for a permanent postholder. Fraser’s appointment followed the failed nomination of Martin Thomas. Thomas quit the post days after being approved by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee in December 2021, after it came to light that formal complaints were made against him regarding inappropriate behaviour.

We called for a full rerun of the appointment process and raised concerns about political independence. The DCMS committee rejected the government’s choice, and also questioned Fraser’s political independence as a one-time conservative candidate. The government has since appointed Fraser for a three-year term, commencing 25 April 2022.

We’re confident Fraser will bring significant experience of both charities and regulation. However, we’re disappointed the government didn’t rerun the appointment process. We felt it was important to have a transparent, open and politically independent process which gave confidence to the sector.

We look forward to engaging with Fraser and continuing our positive working relationship with the Charity Commission.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in charity governance

EDI is a key governance priority, not just in terms of board diversity and inclusion, but also how boards can then lead practice in their own organisations.

We’re pleased to be partnering with the Social Justice Collective to run a dedicated course on EDI in charity governance, which takes place over three half days in May and June 2022. The course addresses both areas outlined above and explores the implementation of the Charity Governance Code principle on EDI.

I’m really delighted to say the first cohort has completed the course and gave us excellent feedback. We thank the Social Justice Collective for their work and recommend the course to any board member or governance professional committed to improving EDI practice.

Find out more about the EDI training course or book a place on the next series of training dates in May and June.

Support for Ukraine

Last month my colleague Sally wrote about how charities and trustees can respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The Charity Commission has since updated its guidance on the Ukraine crisis for trustees and charities. It includes lots of helpful information to guide your decision making in response to the crisis.


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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