Charity Governance: Where to Start

There are almost 170,000 registered charities in the UK, and nearly 1 million people are charged with overseeing their governance and ensuring they act within their Charitable Objectives. Charity Trustees, where the Charity is a registered Limited Company or a Charitable Incorporated Company (CIO), are often also Company Directors. This means that as well as their responsibilities in ensuring the charity is adhering to its objectives, they must also adhere to the same rules and regulations as any Company Director. In a regulatory landscape that is constantly evolving, especially for charities, keeping up to date with the charity governance forces Trustees to do more than ever just to remain compliant. This all occurs against the backdrop of charity Trustees being, for the most part, volunteers, and therefore are likely to have other priorities.

Expectations and regulations

Charity governance failure often makes big headlines. These failures can bring about an increase in regulation and scrutiny of charities and their trustees. Providing guidance and advice, the Charity Commission regularly publishes information on everything from effective governance processes to the extent to which charities should have a role in public debate. It has the power to investigate and take corrective actions where it believes charities are not acting in the best interests of their members or the public at large.

Governance guides and principles

There are several tools that charities and their trustees can call upon to help govern their charity effectively. One example is the Charity Governance Code, which sets out charity governance best practice standards relating to leadership, board effectiveness, equity, diversity and inclusion and decision-making, among other areas. The Charity Commission also offers guidance and support on governing a charity legally and effectively, although these can often be reactive to live issues rather than a proactive approach.

To use these tools effectively and measure your charity against the best practice Code, MSP Company Secretarial can support you with an assessment against the whole Code, or a deep dive into a specific area of your charity’s governance. We have credible methods of assessing charities against the Charity Governance Code, and we can adapt our tools and methods for organisations that follow other Codes, such as the National Housing Federation Code of Governance, the Code for Sports Governance, or something else, we can adapt our tools and methods for those too. We assist organisations with assessing their performance against the best practice standards, make recommendations to improve areas where necessary and, most importantly, support the Trustee Board with the implementation of those recommendations.

Day-to-day charity governance needs

Whilst undertaking assessment against governance codes are a useful yearly activity, charities must ensure that they follow the rules and regulations every day. This means holding Trustee Board meetings, reviewing, approving and filing accounts, overseeing the management of the charity, reviewing policies and procedures, and ensuring the delivery of the strategy, just to name a few. To help reduce the load, MSP Company Secretarial offers an outsourced charity governance package that ensures the charity meets its statutory responsibilities such as filing accounts, complying with the Charity Commission and Companies House filing requirements, advising the trustees of their responsibilities as a Company Director, and supporting Board and Committee meetings. We support several charities in various ways, depending on their needs and size, and we can adapt our package to suit a variety of requirements.

If you would like to know more about our Charity Governance services, please contact us for a discussion.




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