Good governance is key to the success of every charity. Skilled, capable, confident trustees working well with the organisation’s staff and volunteers will enable charities to attract support, secure funding and meet the organisation’s goals.
Good governance enables and supports a charity’s compliance with the law and relevant regulations. It also promotes a culture where everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s vision.
Guernsey people trust local charities more than international organisations. UK studies show that people’s trust and confidence has decreased over the last few years: a third attribute this to general media stories about charities, and a further third cite media coverage about how charities spend donations. Now more than ever, good governance, transparency and accountability is key to ensuring that your organisation thrives.
It can be challenging to know where to start. We have produced an audit tool for you to use based on the NCVO Charity Governance Code. The tool will help you reflect on your existing governance arrangements. We also have produced a regulatory checklist with links to further support documents and templates that will support your charity on a journey of improvement.
Since the NCVO publication of the Charity Code a new guide for the smallest charities has been produced. While the principles, key outcomes are taken direct from the Code, the rest of the toolkit is tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of very small organisations. Please be aware that you will still need to refer to the Guernsey regulatory and registry standards.
There is new guidance about:
- Who should or must register as an NPO
- What should be included in a Charity Constitution.
- Financial control and risk management
The States Policy & Resources Committee has reviewed the legal framework applicable to charities and other non-profit organisations (NPOs) and produced a new Guidance Paper on Governance Measures.
Registered NPOs will be required to have these measures in place by the end of December 2019.
Charity Governance Code
The Code is designed as a tool to support continuous improvement. The seven key principles, set out below, build on the assumption that your organisation is already compliant with Guernsey Charity Regulations.
Each principle has a:
- Key outcome
- Recommended practice
All trustees are encouraged to meet the principles and outcomes of the Code by either applying the recommended practice or explaining what they have done instead -- or why they have not applied it.
Charities that adopt the Code are encouraged to publish a brief statement in their annual report explaining their use of the Code.
The seven principles of good governance
The seven principles of good governance
- Organisational Purpose The board is clear about the charity’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably. You may wish to communicate the charity’s purpose through your communications statement or business plan. You may demonstrate that your charity is effective by measuring your outcomes Impact Measurement.
- Leadership Every successful charity is led by an effective board that provides strategic leadership in line with the charity’s aims and values. More information on how to go from Good to Great.
- Integrity The board acts with integrity, adopting and extolling appropriate values and creating a culture which helps to achieve the organisation's mission. The board is aware of the importance of the public's confidence and trust in charities, and trustees undertake their duties accordingly. Guidance paper on Governance measures.
- Decision-making, risk and control The board makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely; and that effective delegation, control, risk assessment and management systems are set up and monitored.
- Board Effectiveness The board works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions.
- Diversity The board's approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership, and decision-making.
- Openness and accountability The board leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable. The charity is open in its work unless there is a good reason for it not to be.
How to get started
Download the self-assessment tool and review your existing practices; develop an action plan; and publish an annual report on your website that clearly explains to your stakeholders and supporters that you are serious about good governance and seek to be transparent and accountable.
Your organisation could benefit from the experience and skills of a Non-Executive Director (NED) including the area of governance. The Foundation is in regular contact with experienced NEDs who are willing to be involved with the charitable sector.
There is also a NED Development programme facilitated by the Guernsey Training Agency that can provide a NED for a 12 month board placement. Non-Executive Directors can add significant value to an organisation, especially in the third sector, and this programme seeks to diversify and develop the next generation of local NEDs with a transfer of knowledge and skills from partner boards.
For further details regarding the NED Development Programme contact Tina Torode on [email protected] or call 721555.
With thanks to:
- ISCA The Governance Institute
- Small Charities Coalition
- WCVA: Wales Council for Voluntary Action