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8 December 2020 | Charity, News

Charity Code of Governance

Almost all of us supports a charitable organisation in one way or another.  Be it by the direct donation of money, items that can be sold on or recycled, or by giving our time, but few people have an insight into how charities are governed.

“Governance” is the word used to describe the role of a charity’s trustees (also referred to as the board or management committee) in terms of the charity’s long-term objectives and activities, and compliance with legal obligations.  Good governance also helps promote and grow less tangible elements within a charity, such as a steadfast culture that drives the charity onward to achieve its goals.

A charity’s Code of Governance would be set out at the formation of the charity, and may be revised as the charity grows or alters its objects.  The board of trustees is responsible for maintaining the Code of Governance, and delivering upon the objects by ensuring policies and activities are developed and managed to work towards achieving the charity’s objects.

It is important to select trustees based on their skills and capability to use those skills to attract resources, and then put those resources to use.  The development of a good Code of Governance will help a charity to encourage people with appropriate knowledge and experience to join as a trustee – acting as a trustee is a position of responsibility, and it’s important that potential trustees are confident in a charity’s future and integrity, especially when personal liability may be at stake.

A Code of Governance is not a legal or regulatory requirement, and it is separate to, though drawn from, the Charity Commission guidance.  It is a document that sets out best-practice policies, and may include items that would stretch a charity’s aspirations, with such items being difficult to achieve.  With this in mind, one could consider the Code of Governance as a tool for improvement towards delivering high standards in the charity’s operation.

Despite the difficult year, people are still passionate about charitable support and giving, so confidence in a charity’s trustees and governance has, perhaps, never been more important.  Aughton Ainsworth has established credentials in supporting charities and friendly societies, acting as trustees and providing legal help in all aspects of operating a charity, from registration through to property ownership.  For more information, please contact Andy Williamson at

More details on how to develop a good Code of Governance can be found at the Charity Governance Code web site.

Aughton Ainsworth is not responsible for the accuracy or content of external web sites, and references to such web sites are provided as-is, and were deemed useful at the time of writing.

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