The steering group responsible for the Charity Governance Code (the Code), which promotes good governance practice for charities of all sizes in England and Wales, has published the results of its consultation on plans to refresh the Code.
Over 800 people fed into the consultation via two surveys and detailed feedback. There were 143 responses, either to the online consultation questions or by email.
85% of respondents were in favour of the refresh rather than a total rewrite of the Code. Of particular interest were the proposals to refresh the Integrity and Diversity Principles of the Code, with questions about the Diversity Principle receiving the most responses.
Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Steering Group comments on the report findings:
‘Ninety per cent of respondents to the consultation have either fully or partly adopted, or are working towards full adoption, of the Code, which suggests really impressive take up of the Code. This is a great endorsement, particularly as 84% are satisfied or very satisfied with the Code.
Carrying out the consultation was a really useful exercise as it shone a light on those areas of the Code that people would like to see changed. The question relating to integrity generated a wide range of responses and suggestions. Overall, there is strong support to reframe and augment the Integrity Principle to embrace and reflect the recent changes in the operating environment. There is also wide support to broaden the Diversity Principle to address aspects of inclusion and equality. Both of these areas will be addressed when the report is published later this year.’
The consultation responses also revealed that, while approaching three quarters of smaller charities have heard of the Code, currently they are less likely to be using it.
‘The many comments received will be used to inform the refreshed Code and to develop the Steering Group’s longer-term approach for a more wide-ranging review in 2023. COVID-19 has pushed back the publication date of the refreshed Code from July 2020 to the end of 2020 and the Steering Group will now consider carefully what is meant by ‘integrity’ and the ‘right to feel safe’ and how best to reflect this in the Code. It is also clear from the consultation that further consideration of the proposal as to how best to reflect NCVO’s Charity Ethical Principles and sentiment into the Code to avoid confusion or duplication. With regard to diversity, specialist consultants have been commissioned to help take this forward, including further consultation to develop this principle and support its implementation by charities.
Ensuring that the Code is relevant for smaller charities is an area that the Steering Group will look at further to see what more, if anything, can be done to highlight the edition of the Code specifically for volunteer-led and run organisations. The Code is forged by the ethos ‘by the sector, for the sector’, so we are keen to get a true picture of what the take-up is across charities overall, not just those that responded to the consultation.’
The consultation report is here