Governance round-up: June 2022

Celebrating and supporting small charities

Earlier this year, we partnered with The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) to make sure small charities continued to receive excellent support – following the closure of the Small Charities Coalition (SCC).

92% of our members at NCVO are small charities and we’re proud to be able to give them tools, resources, and access to training and webinars which help them keep delivering their amazing work.

From June 20, we’re supporting Small Charity Week with a range of free events. We’re encouraging everyone who works with smaller organisations to act on the ‘four small principles’ from the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) legacy report:

  • If you support or fund a small charity, say so up front.
  • Take time to understand and tune into the reality of being a small charity.
  • Build trust by building space for relationships.
  • Think small, advocate ambitiously.

Technical tips and tricks for your charity

Starting in July we have a brand-new webinar series with our colleagues at Withers LLP where we’ll be going through the technical legal aspects of running a charity. We’ll be looking at:

The webinar sessions are free to attend but places are limited so make sure you book onto the webinars to reserve your place.

Annual Return consultation

The Charity Commission has opened a formal consultation into changes to the Annual Return (your charity’s total income and expenditure report submitted to the government). The consultation is open until 1 September. Changes made following the consultation will apply for financial years starting after 1 January 2023.

The Commission are suggesting some important changes to the submission, which include increasing the number of questions and the level of depth.

The Commission say:

  • this will give them more data on charities and how they operate
  • the new return will help them better understand risks for charities and the regulatory needs of the sector.

Increasing the number of questions could mean the annual return takes more time for charity staff and trustees to gather data and check for accuracy.

At NCVO, we recognise the value of transparency in driving trust in our sector, and so we welcome steps to promote openness. We also welcome the Commission’s emphasis on data-driven support and regulation.

At the same time, we’re also conscious that when presented publicly, data can be taken out of context and misunderstood.

We want to make sure any new questions don’t over-burden charities and the data is clear and easily understood by the public. We encourage members to review the consultation and submit responses.

At NCVO we’ll be preparing our own submission to the consultation. We welcome any feedback or concerns members would like us to consider when drafting our response. Please email us at

In the news

Charity Governance Awards 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the Charity Governance Awards 2022, held on May 26.

Six organisations took home awards for board equity, diversity and inclusion, their COVID-19 response, improving impact, and transforming with digital.

Trailing the four-day week

As part of the largest ever four-day working week trial, five UK charities are testing a reduced working week with full pay for their employees. Many charities are looking at new ways of working for the future.

We published our Time to Flex report earlier this year considering what benefits and barriers exist in the voluntary sector in taking on flexible working.

Training and events

Trustees Unlimited invite you to join them in person at the royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce (RSA) on July 7 to hear Sarah Davies discuss what it means to become more diverse and, in some cases, how to manage survival versus artistic vision.

They want to hear from you so come with your questions! Book onto the future-proofing your arts organisation event.

Sally Stephens is an NCVO governance consultant. For more regular updates follow @Sally_Steph or @NCVO on Twitter.

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Sally works with charities to provide governance advice and board reviews, as well as delivering training on trusteeship and board effectiveness. She previously worked in an in-house governance support role, leading on board development and strategy.

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