The Charity Commission has recently been publicising it's view that good governance is fundamental to the success of charities and has also been encouraging the development of high standards. In addition, the publication of the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities' Report in March ('Stronger charities for a stronger society) and the production of a new Governance Code for charities both suggest that, in these difficult times, it is even more important to ensure that organisations have strong and resilient governance in place. The changes that have affected the sector in recent years have, as both reports mention, led to some high-profile charity failures and to greater scrutiny of the sector than ever.
While most charities would agree this is desirable, addressing governance issues may not always seem the highest priority when an organisation is focussed on delivering services. However, it is only by having robust direction and oversight that organisations will place themselves in the optimum position to remain sustainable and able to help their beneficiaries for years to come. The Code in particular focusses on seven key areas to which Boards should pay attention: clarity of organisational purpose; leadership; integrity; decision making, risk and control; Board effectiveness; diversity and; openness and accountability.
Many of our clients have found an audit of their current governance arrangements beneficial. Such a 'Board Health MOT' can include these 7 key areas as well as reviewing the roles and responsibilities of trustees, risk management, recruitment and induction of Board members and adherence to and compliance with relevant legislation and regulation. As well as helping an organisation achieve clarity of strategic direction giving the Board an oversight of organisational delivery, other benefits can include improvement of interactions between staff and trustees and the energising of the organisation in general.
With years of experience of the charity sector, we offer support that ranges from an audit of your current governance performance, up to a full Board review. If you feel your organisation could benefit from such a review, please get in touch with us using the contact page of our website, below. As ever, we would be pleased to have a conversation on an entirely no-obligation basis.