What is governance and why is it important?

In a charity context, ‘governance’ is the term used to describe the role of the trustees in setting the long term strategy, ensuring that the charity delivers sustainable public benefit, protecting the charity’s reputation and assets, ensuring compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements – and being accountable to the individuals or groups with a stake in what the charity does.   In practical terms, governance includes topics such as:

  • Board and committee size and structure
  • Strategic and operational planning procedures
  • Appraisal, induction and training processes
  • Quality of information and analysis
  • Risk management and reporting
  • Behaviours and attitudes within the organisation.

Good governance has arguably never been more important in the charity sector than it is now. Increased public scrutiny over the sector in the wake of several high profile news stories in recent years - coupled with increased regulatory powers of the Charity Commission, mean that there are greater consequences of ‘getting it wrong.’

What does ‘good’ look like?

Charity governance is an evolving topic. Guidance comes from a number of sources, chiefly the Code of Good Governance, which first issued in 2005 and was recently updated. 

Now is therefore an ideal time for trustees to take stock of how well their governance arrangements have been working in the past, and how these can be improved going forwards, to ensure alignment with the Code and recognised best practice within the sector.

How can we help?

Good governance is at the heart of everything in a well-run charity, and is central to the effective achievement of your aims and objectives PKF Littlejohn’s Governance Benchmarking Review will assess your existing governance arrangements against currently recognised best practice in the charity sector. Each review is bespoke and draws on a number of recognised sources of guidance, as well as providing an assessment of your arrangements against statistical industry benchmarks.

Our Governance Benchmarking Review will:

  • Assess your existing governance arrangements against recognised best practice in the charity sector
  • Identify practical and pragmatic recommendations for improvement
  • Provide useful benchmarks and comparatives against other charities
  • Help to ensure that your charity is ready for the new Charity Governance Code.

Contact Nicky Whitehead for more information.