Following the conclusion of the Charity Governance Code consultation earlier in 2020, the Steering Group has issued an updated version of the Code in December 2020. The ’Foundation and Seven Key Principles’ framework remain unchanged, but as signposted during the consultation exercise, two of the principles have been updated with one being significantly altered from its previous version. The key changes are as follows:
This principle has undergone a ’light refresh’ with the key changes being in relation to:
3.7 Ensuring the right to be safe
3.7.1 Trustees understand their safeguarding responsibilities and go beyond the legal minimum to promote a culture in which everyone feels safe and respected.
3.7.2 Where appropriate:
Much has been written regarding safeguarding (headlines, Charity Commission bulletins or governance case findings) and this amendment to the Code serves to ensure that Trustees at Board level understand both their legal requirements and safeguarding policies & procedures.
Unlike the Integrity Principle update, a comparison of the old Code to the refreshed version in the area of diversity is not as useful an exercise. It was the Moore Kingston Smith governance team’s feedback to the consultation that the Diversity Principle was the one area of the 2017 Code that “had not best stood the test of time and needed a significant refresh”. This feedback was agreed by the Steering Group (and the feedback even made its way onto the consultation update slides presented back in September!) and the Diversity Principle has been, with the aid of external consultants, completely reworked.
1. Think about why EDI is 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.
The Steering Group has also recognised that many charities are at different stages of their EDI journey and that more guidance on how to practically manage this process and how it may differ for sub-sectors is required. More guidance will be shared in due course.
Feedback from the Steering Group
Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Charity Governance Code Steering Group said: “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, particularly in relation to achieving equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the updated Code is designed to help charities on this journey.
We’ve also heard that charities and boards would like more guidance on how to improve their approach to EDI. In response, we are asking charity umbrella and infrastructure bodies to provide more guidance and support to charities to help them meet the recommended practice in the Code. We’ve also updated the integrity principle to reflect the importance of everyone who comes into contact with a charity being treated with dignity and respect and to feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment.”
The Moore Kingston Smith Governance team continues to undertake a number of governance reviews in the sector, ranging from ’one-off’ governance engagements to full reviews against the Code. If you would like to consider this in more detail, please contact either Luke Holt, or your usual Moore Kingston Smith contact.