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Charity Governance Code refresh

Author: Kristina Kopic, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector, ICAEW

Published: 02 Feb 2021

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A refreshed version of the Charity Governance Code was published in December 2020, following a consultation process.

Why a refresh rather than an overhaul?

The steering group of the Charity Governance Code heard from sector representatives that it would be too disruptive to the ongoing embedding of the Code’s principles if the Code was continuously overhauled. Instead, the recommendations from the consultation process resulted in updates to two of the Code’s seven principles. These are the third principle of Integrity and the sixth principle, now called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). According to the Code’s steering group, these were the principles that received the most consistent feedback as the areas where change was required.

Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Charity Governance Code Steering Group said in the news release of the Code’s re-launch: 

“These improvements to the Charity Governance Code reflect changes in society and the broader context in which charities are working. The updated Code is designed to help charities adopt good practice and secure better outcomes for the communities they serve.  We know that charities are at varying stages in their efforts to fully adopt the Code, including in achieving equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the updated Code is designed to help charities on this journey.”

Four stages of the EDI journey

The Code recommends four stages of practice for charities in their EDI journey. Boards should: 

  1. Think about why equality, diversity and inclusion are important for the charity and assess the current level of understanding.
  2. Set out plans and targets tailored to the charity and its starting point. 
  3. Monitor and measure how well the charity is doing.
  4. Be transparent and publish the charity’s progress.

Free webinar on the Charity Governance Code’s principles

We are releasing one of the pre-recorded sessions of the ICAEW Charity Conference free of charge to Community members: Review of the Charity Governance Code, presented by Sally Knight. In the webinar, Sally reflects on the key principles in the Code, drawing on her practical experience of the areas which often cause the liveliest debate and challenge. She also highlights the key changes to the refreshed version of the Code. 

Good governance is crucial in turbulent times and I hope this 1-hour-long webinar will inspire you to discuss the refreshed version of the Code with your trustee boards. The webinar can be accessed here.