News

Sept 2015

ARVAC Annual Conference & AGM
Keeping it local: supporting independent community groups

Thursday 19th November 2015 at the London Welsh Centre
157-163 Grays Inn Road London WC1X 8UE
Keynote Speakers: Adrian Curtis (The Trussell Trust) and
Professor Kate Pahl (the University of Sheffield)
Workshops:
– Getting Started – Research Skills for Community Organisations
– Learning from Governance Pages – (Information on governance and management committees for community groups and small voluntary organisations)
– Experiences of Hope Nottingham
– Using and Working with researchers
AGM 11.15 – 11.45
Adrian Curtis 11.45 – 12.30
Conference and workshops 13.15 – 16.30
For more information and to register go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arvacannual-conference-and-agm-tickets-18068596659
Entry is FREE but advanced registration is essential.
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Membership of Arvac is free – join at www.arvac.org.uk/membership

Where to Find Trustees

The financial crisis and ensuing austerity have taken their toll on trustee finding/matching services. Some have only survived by charging for services and others have stopped altogether. Governance Pages has produced an updated list here.

Aug 2015

Revised Essential Trustee CC3

The essential trustee is the Charity Commission’s key guidance for all charity trustees in England and Wales.
This new version is claimed to be clearer, shorter, and helpfully includes links to other relevant guidance.
Interestingly the Charity Commission have attempted to summarize the role as 6 main duties:
– ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
– comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
– act in your charity’s best interests
– manage your charity’s resources responsibly
– act with reasonable care and skill
– ensure your charity is accountable

May 2015

ARVAC Annual Lecture: ‘Organising for a Change’ 21st May

Keynote Speaker: Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK
This year’s ARVAC Annual Lecture is taking place shortly after the 2015 General Election. The last five years have been ones of change and instability for the VCS and we want to use this opportunity to look ahead. In the 2010 General Election the three party leaders ended their campaigns by speaking at an event organised by London Citizens. We think it is highly appropriate to start the post 2015 election period with a discussion informed by the thoughts and ideas of Neil Jameson.
The changes across the sector will continue – we will see cuts in funding to small and important neighbourhood based organisations and the leadership role of the large national charities and agencies is contested. We hope that this year’s lecture will add to the discussions, conversations and informed deliberations about the next five years. We look forward to seeing you in London on 21st May.
ARVAC (The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) was established in 1978. It is a membership organisation and acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations. We believe that voluntary and community organisations play a vital role in creating and sustaining healthy communities, and that research plays an essential role in increasing the effectiveness of those organisations involved in voluntary and community action. We produce a quarterly bulletin and maintain a database of community research. We run seminars and conferences and produce occasional publications.
The 2015 ARVAC annual lecture is supported by I4P, Edge Hill University.
Venue: Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD, Map/travel directions
More info and Register here http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/i4p/public-lecture-21st-may-2015/
Membership of Arvac is free – join at www.arvac.org.uk/membership

April 2015

Governance Courses

Understanding Governance Stage 1: The trustee role.
18th May: Edinburgh
24th June: London
7th July: Bristol
If you are new to the role of being a charity trustee, this one-day course will provide the perfect introduction while experienced trustees will also benefit from a refresher of their responsibilities.
Sessions include:
~ What is expected of trustees?
~ What is governance?
~ How much information is the right amount?
~ Why getting agendas right is so important for every trustee
~ Improving working relationships
Full details and booking at Civil Society Website

Governance In The Voluntary And Community Sector
14th May – 25th June 2015 (£71/£25) Thursdays, 17:30-20:30 London
A short course over 6 evenings for members of governing bodies or anybody who is interested in developing the knowledge and skills required to be a member of a governing body in the voluntary or community sector. With the knowledge gained from this course you can become an effective participant in the governance of new and existing organisations. This is not a qualification course.
Areas covered:
* Introduction to the Role of a Governing Body Member
* Developing Governance – Responsibilities and Accountability
* Governance – Strategy and Structures
Find out more and book at the Mary Ward Centre website.

Introduction to Trusteeship
Greater London Volunteering, 21 April 2015 from 10:00 to 12:00, London
A free participatory workshop exploring the main roles and responsibilities of trustees. From meeting your legal obligations to providing great leadership:
~ What are the key challenges?
~ What works?
~ And where can you get support?
Led by Janet Thorne, CEO of Reach, and Luke Strachan, TrusteeWorks Manager at Reach
This workshop is particularly suited to new Trustees, and those considering becoming a Trustee.
Book via eventbrite

February 2015

Have Your Say on the Code of Good Governance

Should there be separate provisions in the Governance Code for more complex or larger organisations? Or is it better to have a single code for all voluntary organisations? If so, what should those provisions contain?
You can send your feedback to: http://www.governancecode.org/feedback/

January 2015

Safeguarding The Voluntary Principle

The overwhelming majority of trustees are completely voluntary and the voluntary principle is one of the defining features of the voluntary and community sector. Governance Pages is a project of ARVAC, who have endorsed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign which is totally opposed to any schemes which threaten that principle by introducing any element of compulsion or coercion. You can find out more and sign up to the campaign at www.keepvolunteeringvoluntary.net

Will changes to Charity Commission trustee guidance discourage people from becoming trustees?

In a recent article in Civil Society magazine Leona Roche of Bates Wells Braithwaite warns that proposed changes trustee guidance might have wider implications for the charity sector.
At a time when charities are finding it difficult to recruit and retain trustees, and young trustees in particular, there is a pressing need to encourage people to volunteer for this vital public service.
Unfortunately, in its proposed new guidance for trustees, the Charity Commission is in danger of doing the opposite. Moreover, the contemplated changes could signal a more draconian interpretation by the Commission of all its guidance. You can read the full story here.

Resources Roundup

Happy relations? Ensuring effective partnerships between trustees and senior management is
NPC’s briefing paper for trustees following a seminar on establishing and maintaining an effective relationship.
Download at http://www.thinknpc.org/publications/happy-relations/
A model trustee meeting agenda
Knowhow Non Profit have produced this simple model agenda with new chairs in mind as a way of helping them on the first steps to running a meeting.
Details at http://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to-chair-a-trustee-meeting
Job Description for a Chair
You can find a sample job description for a chair on www.governancepages.org.uk

October 2014

Trustees’ Week 10 – 16th November 2014

Trustees’ Week goes from strength to strength. Find events near you, or list your own events for others to discover. The site is growing into a portal for trustees, with a comprehensive set of links to trustee related organisations and a set of useful pages on topics such as;
useful facts about trustees
how to become a trustee
trustee stories and testimonies
Resources: such as ‘Bridging the Gap’ a guide to trusteeship for those from other sectors

ARVAC Annual Conference: “Talking Out of Turn: Getting Community Voices Heard”

The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) Annual Conference and AGM 20 November 2014 (AGM 11.00am–12.00pm; Conference 1pm–4.30pm) Free
At The Circle. 33, Rockingham Lane, Sheffield, S1 4FW (Tel: 0114 253 6600)
The theme of this year’s conference, Talking Out of Turn is about having a voice and being heard.
As we get closer to the May General Election the impact of the austerity cuts across the VCS is evident. We know from our own networks and from the work of others (including the National Coalition for Independent Action) that the scale of the cuts will get bigger and their impact deeper. We also know that many groups and individuals who work for the Sector feel that their voices are not always being heard. This year we wanted to both promote and celebrate the act (and art) of Talking Out of Turn and in so doing supporting other voices. We are really pleased that Carolyn Kagan is joining us and that there are four different workshops exploring distinct and innovative ways of promoting other voices – Community Radio, Engaging with different neighbourhood based initiatives, being a Community Champion and Supporting researchers too.
Registration is free and open to all, places are still available. Please arrive by 10.45 if you plan to attend the AGM. Light refreshments are available after the AGM, from 12.00. Conference starts at 1pm. Delegates will be invited to make a voluntary donation of £5 towards costs.
Booking and full information at: http://arvactalkingoutofturn14.eventbrite.co.uk
Membership of Arvac is free – join at www.arvac.org.uk/membership

Governance Think Piece: what do you think?

Four Governance thinkers have produced a landmark report on the state of governance today. Reflections on Governance has been written by Christine Morrison and Rhona Still with contributions from Charlie Cattell, Chris Cornforth, and Shirley Otto. The authors have been focussing specifically on governance for more than 20 years and reflect on the governance concerns of the last 20 years, current concerns and the governance concerns of the future. In discussions with The Foundation for Good Governance the authors have selected 5 key areas that they think may impact on the further development of effective governance:
• Understanding governance
• Codes of practice, standards and increased regulation of governance
• Enterprise and business development by VCS organisations
• Independence of VCS governance
• Building trust and cohesion for board effectiveness
The five authors’ contact detals can be found at the end of the downloadable report if you would like to contribute to the debate.

September 2014

ARVAC Bulletin

The latest ARVAC bulletin includes Prof. Jenny Pearce (University of Bradford) on organising in the neighbourhood, Nick Ockenden (NCVO) on opportunities and challenges for volunteering. Learning to present research and more. Well worth a read.

Resources Roundup

The Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network has run a number of articles on trustees including How to become a charity trustee; Young charity trustees: what you need to know; and How to recruit top trustee talent
NCVO
have produced a number of useful resources including Getting to Grips with Finance and a useful fact sheet on Risk.
Sayer Vincent have produced 24 ‘made simple’ guides covering everything from Gift Aid to Mergers.

The Association of Chairs Launches New Guide for Chairs

A new guide for chairs has been launched by the association: The Chair’s Compass – a guide for Chairs of charities and non-profit organisations (free .pdf download). Written by the Association of Chairs, the Guide fills a ‘governance gap’ in information and support specifically for Chairs. You can read the association’s latest newsletter here.

Improving Your Prospects – One Reason More for Becoming a Trustee

Getting On Board published some research recently to show that being a trustee can help with improving professional prospects. There are many motivations for becoming a trustee and clearly this one can be useful to list when recuiting. The research shows that 92% of those out of work felt that being a trustee boosted skills and confidence and 22 credited a promotion to being a trustee. An infographic gives the details.

May 2014

New Resource on Organisation Lifestages

The Alliance of Artists Communities, an American nonprofit, has produced an interesting resource looking at the life stages of a voluntary organisation.  Although there are many resources looking at organisational life cycles, this resource is interesting from a governance point of view as it relates each stage in the life cycle to the sort of governance attributes and abilities most needed at that stage.

April 2014

The ARVAC 2014 Annual Lecture: Organising in the Neighbourhood: The Potential and Ambiguities of New Forms of Community Activism

Thursday 29th May 2014 at RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD
Professor Jenny Pearce, Bradford University
Discussant: Nick Ockenden, Institute for Volunteering Research, NCVO
The event will be chaired by Professor John Diamond, Chair of ARVAC
Programme
1pm Arrivals & registration
2pm Lecture: Professor Jenny Pearce
Response: Nick Ockenden
Q&A chaired by Professor John Diamond
4pm Refreshments
5pm Close
Register now for this FREE event:
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/arvac-2014-annual-lecture-registration-3854641336
For full program details click here
Sign up for free membership of ARVAC at bit.ly/1lLraEj

March 2014

Webb Memorial Trust Investigates Austerity and Equality

The Webb Memorial Trust are looking at civil society approaches to reducing poverty and inequality in the UK. (The Webb’s ‘invented’ the welfare state – Beveridge was actually their researcher – they also founded the Fabians and Beatrice coined the term ‘collective bargaining’ amongst a host of other achievements). The study is keen to get views and perspectives from civil society actors, both individuals and organisations, about ways in which civil society currently addresses poverty and inequality in the UK and the challenges involved. The link below will take you to a brief questionnaire – it should take no more than about twenty to thirty minutes. Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to one of us, please e-mail John Diamond who will arrange a telephone conversation at a time convenient for you.

Over to You: Learning to present voluntary sector and volunteering research 24th April 2014

Aimed at voluntary sector and early career researchers that have little or no experience of presenting their research at academic conferences. Delegates are likely to be researchers in the voluntary sector or PhD students.
The workshop will act as a feeder session into the New Researchers stream at the annual Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference, which is jointly organised by NCVO and the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. This year the conference will take place in Sheffield on 10th – 11th September.  More information and to apply click here.

February 2014

ARVAC Bulletin

The latest ARVAC bulletin includes a rare article by Barry Knight, now working for the Webb Trust, on the legacy of the Webbs, the welfare state and voluntary action and the state of the voluntary sector today.  Well worth a read.

How to guide: the recruitment of private sector trustees for small charities

The Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network discusses how smaller charities can approach recruiting trustees from a corporate background and the issues they may face. Clear, if somewhat daunting.

Small Charities Coalition relaunches Trustee Finder Service

Trustee Finder is a free trustee searching and posting service that syndicates with the Do-it.org national volunteering service.  It was developed by Charity Trustee Networks who merged with the Small Charities Coalition in 2011. The redesigned Trustee Finder Service is online now.

Concise Trustee Briefing Paper

Looking for a brief two page introduction to being a trustee? The Bulldog Trust have produced a concise hand-out which could be useful when recruiting and inducting new trustees.

New Ways of Meeting

Tired of sitting around a table for two hours every month? Would you like to explore new ways of running your governance?  The appropriately named “Creating the Future” is a Canadian nonprofit that is trying to use technology in an imaginative way to make meetings work in the 21st century.  Coincidentally, John Poppam has similar thoughts on the running of Clinical Commissioning Group boards on his blog.

January 2014

Good Governance in Practice

Think tank New Philanthropy Capital held a seminar where experienced trustees talked about their experience of governance around the themes of the Code of Good Governance.
The six key principles of effective board governance are:
1. Understand your role:
2. Ensure the delivery of organisational purpose:
3. Work  effectively as an individual and as part of a team:
4. Exercise effective control:
5. Behave with integrity:
6. Be open and accountable:
You can view the full report ‘Back to Basics’ online. There is more information about the role, and about becoming a trustee, in the resources section of the NPC briefing.

Association of Chairs

The independent Association of Chairs of social purpose and not-for-profit organisations has been formed in order to help Chairs with their unique task:  leading the Board in delivering the organisation’s aims. Find out more and sign up for the newsletter at www.associationofchairs.org.uk

November 2013

Charity Commission Partners System

For some time the Charity Commission has been floating the idea that some degree of the regulation of charities can be somehow devolved to be the responsibility of umbrella bodies. The idea has generally been given short shrift by the umbrella bodies. But in a first step down this path the Charity Commission has set up a Quality Assurance (QA) accreditation for umbrella bodies to accredit their own quality assurance systems against. The criteria were published in September and it is up to each umbrella body to to show how they meet the criteria laid down through an endorsement process, either in a brand new QA system or by adapting existing member QA systems that a number of umbrella bodies have in place already. A small group of umbrella bodies have formed the Accredited Providers Forum and have published a new directory of quality standards. There is a description of the group by one of its members here. One problem is that only UKQA is legally recognised to undertake accreditation so the Charity Commission will use the word “endorse” instead. This is potentially an important development and hopefully some in-depth articles will appear in the sector press soon.

ARVAC Annual Conference and AGM

Learning from the Austerity Challenge: Why We Need an Independent and Vocal Voluntary and Community Sector
21 November 2013 – Conference starts at 13.00 (Lunch/ Registration from 12.00)
Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Organisations
St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ
13.15 – 14.15 Keynote speakers:
Barry Knight – Webb Memorial Trust: “Why we need a vibrant, independent Voluntary and Community Sector – Challenges and Opportunities ”
Peter Richmond – Director Castle Vale Housing Trust (Birmingham) “Working with an informed and independent Voluntary Sector: Drawing the Lessons of Partnership
Please book your free place at
http://arvaagmconf2013.eventbrite.co.uk
Governance Pages is a project of ARVAC (The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector).

Model Job Descriptions and Interview Questions from Prospectus

Prospectus, the charity recruitment specialists, have developed model job descriptions and interview questions for Trustees’ Week. There are JDs for Trustee, Chair and Treasurer. There is also a set of questions for use when interview a potential trustee. Even if the questions seem overly formal for your situation they are a useful reminder of the range of issues that should be covered when recruiting a new trustee. Download them from the Prospectus website (scroll to bottom of page).

Trustees Week

It’s Trustees’ Week from 4th – 10th November. This newish week of Trustee themed events is gathering momentum and the website now lists events from all around the country. Check the website for events near you. Don’t forget to list your own trustee events by emailing them to trusteesweek@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk. The listing policy is flexible so don’t worry if your event falls outside the designated week will get listed as well as trustee related news.

September 2013

Young Trustees

It seems that barely a week goes by without a blog post, article or tweet about the lack of young trustees and how there really should be more of them. A couple of notable ones are this RSA blog and two articles on the Guardians Voluntary Sector Blog; the first looking at the issues generally and the second suggesting that organisations should use things that young people use, such as social media.

Is it worth being a trustee?

The BBC published an article to coincide with last year’s Trustees’ Week “Is it worth being a trustee?” It’s a readable and balanced article, ideal for anyone who knows nothing about being a trustee. It would make a good handout or link to give to prospective trustees (or even staff who don’t know what trustees do).

A Humorous Look at Funding

Excellent US board resource, Blue Avocado, took a humorous look at funding the founding fathers’ activities; Should the war of independence have been called the Innovation War? is Revolution an activity or an outcome? Can you claim your truths are self evident – what about an evidence based approach? Go to Blue Avocado for the full article.

July

Charity Governance out of date

The Marsh Review has been predictably harsh in its verdict on Charity Governance. You may not be surprised to hear that the head of a leadership development programme advocates more leadership development. Read the full report.

May 2013

Accredited Short Course in Governance Now Running

Last year the Open College Network accredited a short course in ‘Governance in the Voluntary and Community Sector’. The qualifications are mapped closely to the Trustee and Management Committee National Occupational Standards (2006) and link to the Code of Good Governance (2010), supported by the Charity Commission, NCVO and others.
The course is now running in at least two locations; London and Bradford. The London course is run by the Mary Ward Centre and the Bradford course by b-supported.
Find out more about the course at the Skills Third Sector website (http://www.skills-thirdsector.org.uk/level_2_and_3_short_courses_in_governance_in_the_voluntary_sector/] or the Open College Network webstite. [http://www.nocn.org.uk/page/33075/governance-in-the-voluntary-and-community-sector]

April 2013

Community Participation in Research: from paradigms to practice
with David Horton Smith, Visiting Professor of Altruistics and Community Engagement.
7 May 2013 – 6 June 2013

The School of Allied Health Professions (AHP) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is taking a leading role in highlighting the importance of understanding participation for building healthy lives, productive partnerships and associations and sound research. This year we are fortunate to offer an exciting “Community Participation in Research” programme of interdisciplinary local and national events with the eminent Fulbright Senior Scholar David Horton Smith as Visiting Professor of Altruistics and Community Engagement based in AHP, debating with a range of academic, health and community lead speakers. This is especially relevant in UEA’s 50th Anniversary year in which it celebrates its contribution to the wider community. These events build on and aim to strengthen working links with the national Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC), Norwich Business School (NBS) at UEA, the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences Enterprise (FMHE) at UEA, UEA Community-University Engagement (CUE), Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance (NSDA) and the NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

A series of workshops, follow-up masterclasses, and topic discussions with David and programme partners during 7 May-6 June will examine what acting with different kinds of associations (disability groups, social enterprises, corporate philanthropy and university engagement) can mean for community participation in research. This programme will culminate with a conference on 6th June at UEA London to include ARVAC’s Annual Lecture.

Please do join us at one or more of these events. Places are free but limited so booking is essential. Booking and registration details can be found on each event page. If you have any questions, email the programme administrator, Sophie Bremner.

March 2013

ARVAC Annual Lecture jointly hosted with the University of East Anglia
Community participation in research:paradigms and practice
6 June 2013, UEA London 1pm to 4.30pm
The climate for community participation in research appears to be re igniting the decade-old debate over what relationship can and should exist between communities and academic, commercial and community research. This event will examine the paradigms and practice we are now encountering, with leading speakers seeking a more compelling interdisciplinary and collaborative way forward. Speakers include:
Prof David Horton Smith (Professor Emeritus, Boston College. U.S.A)
Prof Peter Beresford (Director of Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University)
For more information please see http://www.uea.ac.uk/allied-health-professions/fulbright
Click here to apply.

January 2013

Conflicts of Interest – or Conflicts of Loyalty

In a thoughtful article on Blue Avocado, the issue of conflict of loyalty it explored.  In our multi-layered modern lives it can be difficult to sit on a board of trustees and not find ourselves with divided loyalties, especially for those who sit on multiple committees or are heavily involved in a particular area (geographic or otherwise). For example, if you sit on two boards and meet someone socially who you think would make a great trustee – which organisation do you introduce them to?  Food for thought at Blue Avocado.

December 2012

Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Structure Finally Arrives

The CIO made it first appearance in the 2006 Charities Act and promised to simplify regulation of charities by making it easy to gain incorporation without a separate registration with Companies House. The Charity Commission began accepting applications from 12 noon on Monday 10 December 2012.
The CIO is a new legal form designed specifically for charities. The structure provides charities with some of the benefits of being a company, without all of the associated burdens. CIOs will therefore only need to register with the Commission, not with Companies House.
A timetable, setting out which types of applications will be given priority, is published on the Commission’s website. This staggered approach is designed to help the regulator manage demand for the new structure, despite its limited resources.
The full timetable is available on the Charity Commission website.
The Charity Commission has already published extensive guidance on setting up a CIO. As well as adding two model CIO constitutions to the Model Governing Documents  page: A foundation model (no membership) and an Association Model with a membership.
There is useful information on Sandy Adirondack’s website to help decide if a CIO is the right choice for you.
A factor worth bearing in mind is that because of the way the CIO is legally set up it is not possible to deviate much from the model constitutions.

October 2012

 “Weathering the Storm – sharing community stories of survival and evolution”

Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) Annual Conference and AGM 21 November 2012 (AGM 11.30am–12.30pm; Conference 1pm–4.30pm)

Keynote speaker: “Things that keep me awake at night: What we can about it!” Richard Caulfield (CEO), Voluntary Sector North West
“Third sector – strategically challenging the Austerity message”. Claire Granger (CEO) and Catherine Cook (Resource Coordinator), Nottingham City Hostels Liaison Group
“Community research as a tool to support refugee and migrant community organisations in times of stress/ crisis”.
Sarah Menzies (Research Officer), Evelyn Oldfield Unit.
“Working with today’s volunteers” Ursula Hussain, (Manager) Oldham Local Involvement Network
“Reconnecting with community action: in a ‘market-dominated’ landscape” Matthew Scott, National Coalition for Independent Action (formerly Community Sector Coalition)

This is a great opportunity to meet other members, share ideas and research and to update yourself with sector wide knowledge. The Conference will be held at Nottingham University.  It is free but places must be booked.

Full Programme at:  http://files.arvac.org.uk/arvacagmflier2012.pdf
Booking at eventbrite:  http://arvacagm.eventbrite.co.uk/
Membership of Arvac is free – join at www.arvac.org.uk/membership

Trustees’ Week

This annual event will take place this year from 5th – 11th November.  The Trustees’ Week website contains full listings of events for trustees happening all over the country.  Don’t forget to add your event by emailing trusteesweek@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

September 2012

Hodgeson Makes Waves – Payment of Trustees and Other Proposals

The Hodgeson review (of Charity law) may have passed many by, but there are a couple of areas where it could have profound influence on small organisation.  The first is his view that payment of trustees will become inevitable.  Karl Wilding at NCVO has summarised the discussions and it makes for interesting reading (be sure to keep scrolling down – lot’s of interesting points in the comments).  Note that in a recent survey 80% of small charity directors opposed paying trustees and many umbrella bodies came out against the idea

Hodgeson has also made some other contentious suggestions, including raising the registration threshold to £20,000. The thinking is that this ‘deregulation’ allows more flexibility for fledging and very small organisations.  However, its worth bearing in mind that this was the thinking behind the last raising of the registration threshold from £1,000 to £5,000 in the 2006 Act.  Crucially, registration below £5,000 was to be at the organisation’s own discretion in order to introduce some flexibility.  However, the Charity Commission has since interpreted this as a rigid cut off and rigorously prevented those below the £5,000 limit from registering at all, turning a point of flexibility into another bureaucratic hurdle.  If the proposed £20,000 limit is implemented in the same inflexible way then this could become a serious impediment to new organisations starting up.
Artlcles in Third Sector and Civil Society summarise he issues well.

Young Trustees

Now have their own website at http://youngcharitytrustees.org/
Aimed at encouraging young people to become trustees and then to give them support.  There are tips on becoming a trustee and links to range of articles about young people becoming trustees.  There are even some trustee opportunities posted on the site.

August 2012

Wales Council for Voluntary Organisations (WCVA) Publish Guides for Trustees.

WCVA  have been busy producing excellent and very comprehensive guides aimed at trustees.  Their first, ‘Faith and Hope Don’t Run Charities (Trustees Do)’ is a complete guide to running an organisation. The second is a Governance Code and finally a Self Assessment Tool (still in draft at the moment).
Faith and Hope don’t run charities (May 2012)
Wales Council for Voluntary Action has produced an extremely comprehensive guide to running a voluntary organisation aimed specifically at management committee members.  Running to almost 400 pages, the guide covers almost everything you need to know.  Arranged into 7 sections:
1 Strategies Planning and Monitoring
2 Managing the Work of the organisation
3 Better Ways of Working
4 Managing Money
5 The role of the trustee
6What type of organisation
7 Know what the law expects
The free downlodable .pdf is interactive and importantly includes a excellent index. Download it now and keep it in a safe place.
Good Governance a Code for the Third Sector in Wales
This is another well written and clearly presented code.  It is based on 6 principles:
An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by:
1. understanding their role
2. ensuring delivery of organisational purpose
3. working effectively both as individuals and a team
4. exercising effective control
5. behaving with integrity
6. being open and accountable.
Download the full code here.
Finally, the draft Governance Health Check is based on the Code’s principles and gives you a framework to measure your organisation against the 6 principles of the code. Currently still in draft form.  Read the press release.
You can download the draft document here:

July 2012

Updated Recruitment Guidance – CC, CTN, NCVO

The main providers of advice to trustees have all updated their recruitment pages.
Charity Commission:  Browse their resources here.
Small Charities Coalition:
The merged Small Charities Coalition and Charity Trustee Networks website have updated their trustee recruitment pages.
NCVO have a good guide with some practical tips on such things as writing an advert and drawing up a trustee declaration.
The Governance Pages recruitment documents are here:

Is Trustee Recruitment all about Skills and box ticking?

Blue Avocado is a US newsletter for Board members (trustees) with many thoughtful contributions.  This article challenges the current trend for treating board recruitment as an exercise in filling identified gaps in a number of areas such as skills (legal, HR, IT) or demographics (‘we need more young people’).  A timely antidote to current fashions in board recruitment.
http://www.blueavocado.org/node/762

May 2012

Listen Again to the Annual Lecture Speakers

The ARVAC Annual Lecture was on impact this year. “What Counts ? Who Counts?”, held on 8th May at the Wellcome Foundation, was again a great success.  An innovation this year is that you can listen again to all of the speakers.  Just go to the ARVAC website.  You will need to sign in – but membership is free and signing up is quick and easy.  Log in for some quality debate about a topic that many talk about but few really understand.

Guidelines on the Chair/Senior Worker Relationship

Kensington and Chelsea Social Council have published useful guidelines on maintaining a healthy working relationship between the chair and the senior worker (whatever their title). Drawn from a range of sources ranging from well known voluntary sector management guides to an unpublished masters dissertation.  You can view the guidelines on the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council website.

Latest Edition of Charity Commission News published

CC News 38 – Spring 2012 has just been published.  You can read it online or download it as a pdf. Two items are of particular interest.  Firstly, you will only be able to submit your annual return online this year.  90% of charities are submitting online already, leaving the final 10% to make the change this year.

The other notable change is the new Charities Act 2011. The Charities Act 2011 came into effect on 14 March 2012. It is the Act of Parliament which replaces most of the Charities Acts 1992, 1993 and 2006 and all of the Recreational Charities Act 1958. The 2011 Act is intended to make the law easier to understand by replacing four Acts of Parliament with one. It doesn’t make any changes to the law. Your charity doesn’t have to do anything differently except refer to the Charities Act 2011 in your documents.

If you have some spare time the Charity Commission have produced a 105 page table showing how enactments or other provisions repealed or revoked by the Charities Act 2011 are dealt with by the Act.

April 2012

New Quick Guide to Dealing with Crisis

The current economic climate may represent an opportunity for some but for many it brings threats.  This new Quick Guide contains a collection of links to articles on coping with crisis of various kinds, from PR disasters through to the ultimate crisis – winding up the organisation.  There are relevant stories on Governance Pages and three interesting videos from NCVO talking to a trustee, a volunteer and a staff members of three organisations facing the cuts.

March 2012

ARVAC Annual Lecture

What counts? Who counts?

Critical approaches to the impact debate in the Voluntary and Community Sector.
8 May 2012, 14:00—17:00
at the Wellcome Collection 183 Euston Road London NW1 2BE
ARVAC is worldwide the oldest national association in the field of community research, its mission to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers. We are delighted to jointly host this event with Community University Engagement East and The Wellcome Trust. As in previous years, the ARVAC Annual Lecture offers the chance to hear and discuss key issues with eminent speakers from the academic and voluntary and community sectors. This year’s focus on impact highlights the questions and tensions in deciding how and where the sector should count.
Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, Chair of Volunteering England, will chair the event.
This year’s speakers are:
Professor Allan, Cochrane Open University
Dr. Emma Stone, Director, Policy and Research Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Sioned Churchill, Director of Special Initiatives & Evaluation Trust for London
Attendance is free but places are limited, please register and book a place by
contacting: community@uea.ac.uk or 01603 591561.
ARVAC Registered Charity No 29676 Company Limited by Guarantee No 21179402

Charity Registration Process Changes.

From 1st March the process to register as a charity in England and Wales changes. More details can be found on the Charity Commission website. In short they are making it harder to register. It’s not clear why these changes are being made but this will discourage charity registration.
For organisations that don’t pass the £5000 threshold the Charity Commission is promoting the idea of registering with HMRC .

February 2012

Another CIO Implementation Deadline Passes

It’s become a tradition to mark the passing of yet another implementation deadline at Governance Pages. Five years on from the first promise of the Charitable incorporated Organisation the latest deadline (first quarter of 2012) has now been and gone. You can read a more detailed update of the situation at Sandy Adirondack’s Legal Update website.

January 2012

The Relationship Between Chairs and Chief Executives

Clore Leadership Fellow Penelope Gibbs , recently wrote a report titled ‘Marriages Made in Heaven’  looking at the sometimes fraught relationship between chairs and chief executives. The report, sponsored by Acevo, the Chief Executive’s professional association a written by a former Chief Executive predictably lays most blame at the feet of Chairs. Third Sector featured a discussion between Penelope Gibbs and Alec Sandison, but chairs still came in for the lions share of the blame. Fortunately governance expert Linda Laurance has responded with a more balanced article . There seems to be room for improvement on both sides but the executives seem determined to lay blame squarely with the non-executives.
If our own sector won’t confront it’s demons perhaps we should look to the financial sector where shocking boardroom mistakes have cost the whole country dear. Equitable Life, once the most successful and respected of mutual Insurers but now a shadow of it’s former self after losing most its investors’ and pensioners’ money is sponsoring an academic report into what went so disastrously wrong in the boardroom.  We will have to wait a while for the results but it should be worth it.

Accredited Short Course in Governance Launches

The Open College Network has just accredited a short course in ‘Governance in the Voluntary and Community Sector’. The qualifications are mapped closely to the Trustee and Management Committee National Occupational Standards (2006) and link to the Code of Good Governance (2010), supported by the Charity Commission, NCVO and others.Find out more at the Skills Third Sector website  or the Open College Network website.

December 2011

New Governance Code for Small Organisations

The Second edition of the Good Governance Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector – Version for Small Organisations has just been published. The new code strikes a good balance between being clear and being comprehensive. You can view the code and others at the Good Governance Code website.

November 2011

Gingerbread Treasurer Recipe

Single Parent Charity Gingerbread has developed a range of resources aimed at branch treasurers. The Treasurers Guide, hosted on the Gingerbread website (http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/634/Treasurers-guide) is a practical and well produced plain English guide to taking on the treasurer role and includes some excellent templates that can be downloaded and customised.  It is divided into seven sections:

1. A role overview with comments from existing treasurers.

2. A FAQ including a simple model constitution for a group showing how the treasurer is elected. The main roles and responsibilities and tips on starting from scratch.

3. Keeping Records (with a very simple excel spreadsheet template with a worked and annotated example).

4. Tips on banking.

5. Preparing a budget (with a simple spreadsheet template with a worked and annotated example)

6. The treasurers report (with a word example)

7. Finally, the all important handover to the next treasurer.

Tendering Guide for Trustees

A new guide to tendering and commissioning specially for trustees has been produced by the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) in partnership with the Local Government Association.  The guide (At Your Bidding) aims to cover the key issues that Trustees need to be aware of, rather than being a comprehensive guide.  Chapters include:

The Context

Issues to consider

Getting your organisation ready for tendering and commissioning

Risk Assessment

Signposting to other resources and sources of information and advice.

Governance Forum Reborn

The Clothworkers’ Foundation have supported NCVO to organise four Governance Forum gatherings over the next two years. The Governance Forum is important as the only forum that brings governance experts from across the 3rd sector together in order to share and spread good practice and learning.  Contact  Oonagh Smyth, Senior Advisor Governance and Collaboration, (oonagh.smyth@ncvo-vol.org.uk) for more information

Young Trustee Group on LinkedIn

Young Trustee, Alex Swallow, has created a group on LinkedIn called Young Charity Trustees (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Young-Charity-Trustees-3904769)which has attracted over 200 members so far.  You may find it a useful source of young talent (the group positively encourage you to post your vacancies) or if you already have young trustees, somewhere to send them for peer support.

October 2011

CIO Update: Postponed again

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, confirmed in Parliament that the latest deadline for Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) implementation is spring 2012. Last year, in anticipation, the Charity Commission published guidance and two model constitutions for Charitable Incorporated Organisations so that you can have a look at the structures in detail and consider whether it would suit your needs ahead of any future implementation. The two models are called The Foundation Model and The Association Model. Secondary legislation needs to go through parliament before the CIO structure becomes available.

If you’re not sure if the CIO is right for you, Sandy Adirondack has a useful article on her website to help you weigh up the options.

Arvac AGM

You are cordially invited to the Arvac AGM and Annual Conference which takes place in Manchester this year. Governance Pages is a project of Arvac , the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector.
‘Community Issues to Community Research to Community Movements:
Making Connections’
ARVAC Annual Conference and AGM, 23 November 2011
AGM 11.30am – 12.30pm
Conference 1pm – 4.30pm
At Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Organisations
St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ
Keynote speakers
Alex Whinnom Director of GMCVO,
Julie Worrall Director of CUE East
Attendance is FREE but places are limited. Please register and book a place by contacting:
Ruth Selwyn-Crome on 01603 591561 or community@uea.ac.uk
Interested in community research?  Join Arvac now, it’s free and simple to register.  Visit us at www.arvac.org.uk

The State of Governance Support Today

The cuts have had an impact on the availability of resources and support to trustees and management committee members both locally and nationally.
Nationally: The Charity Commission may well reduce or withdraw from giving advice and support (see previous story).
There is no longer a Governance team of any description at NCVO though the resources are still available on the website http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/governanceandleadership.  The loss may be mitigated somewhat by the acquisition of Cass Business Schools’ KnowHow Non Profit (http://www.knowhownonprofit.org/).
The Governance Forum, which met about twice a year and looked at governance developments right across the third sector, and was  hosted by NCVO, is in limbo.
A major casualty for trustees of small organisations is Charity Trustee Networks (CTN), though the good news is that they have merged with the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) and the intention is that much of CTN’s Trusteenet website (http://www.trusteenet.org.uk/) can be preserved and run by SCC (http://www.smallcharities.org.uk/).
Locally: Many local infrastructure organisations are facing a turbulent time with NAVCA reporting that more than half of its members have made cuts this year and the likelihood is of further cuts each year for the next 3 or 6 years.
Online: Trusteelearning has secured funding until 2014 (http://trusteelearning.org/index.php)
For advice and guidance around setting up, the micro site Get Legal is still invaluable ( www.getlegal.org.uk)
Governance Pages (http://www.governancepages.org.uk) is currently unfunded and relying on volunteer input but will continue.
If you’ve found a new source of governance support and information to replace any of the above, please let us know.

September 2011

Charity Commission Backs Away?

The Charity Commission has been dropping hints for the last year that with less money they will have to do less and focus on their core role.  This would probably mean dropping the advice and guidance functions or at least scaling these back considerably.  There has been speculation for some time that this role would then fall to the various umbrella bodies in the sector.  On 22nd September at the Charity Commission Annual Public Meeting there was a debate on the subject ‘Self-Regulation; how far can it go?’ where it was confirmed that this was indeed their thinking and that to facilitate this they may start to encourage all charities to join an umbrella body and may ‘encourage’ this by publishing on the register whether a Charity is, or is not, a members of an umbrella.  Small charities and hence small charity trustees will probably be most effected.  Large charities tend to go to their professional advisers rather than the Charity Commission for advice.  Its also not clear how reasonable an expectation this is of umbrella bodies given that both national umbrellas and local umbrellas such as CVSs are experiencing unprecedented pressure on their funding and are already making cut backs.  The suggestion was met with near universal derision from umbrellas bodies in the sector press (http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/10542/umbrella_bodies_voice_concern_about_taking_charity_commission_advice_role)
Other cost saving options were notable by their absence; their was no mention of dropping the introduction of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) structure or halting the huge and controversial registration of all exempt and excepted charities which is soaking up Charity Commission resources for little obvious benefit. The only other hint at cost saving measures is a very low profile review of registration thresholds that is supposed to be completed by the end of this year. (See Exempt and Excepted story below)

Excepted and Exempt Charities – Changes to Registration Thresholds?

Over the summer the Charity Commission published an update on Excepted and Exempt charities.  Mentioned in the text are two interesting points; firstly that timetable for registering exempt charities has slipped into 2012.  The progress in registering exempt charities is even slower with two further phases of registration planned but no firm dates have been set.  The second point of interest is this sentence; “This will allow time for a review of the 2006 Act to take place in 2011 and for the recommendations arising from it to be considered. We expect that the review will look at registration thresholds generally.” There is no further clarification of what this might mean but presumably there will have to be full consultation with the sector before further changes to registration thresholds are made. Raising thresholds for registered, excepted or exempt charities would translate into reduced workload (and hence cost savings) for the Charity Commission.

Equalities Act

The Charity Commission has released more detailed guidance , which replaces the summary guidance published last September. To help charities get to grips with the Act, the Charity Commission has used a number of illustrative examples. The guidance also shows how other Act exceptions, such as the positive action provisions, can be used by some charities.  The guidance also addresses a range of questions including how Act exceptions might impact on grant makers and charities with restricted funds.

“The charities’ exception allows a charity to limit its benefits to people who share a protected characteristic if the restriction is based on the needs or disadvantages experienced by that group, or can be justified as a fair balanced and reasonably necessary way of carrying out a legitimate aim.”

June 2011

Revised model governing documents

The Charity Commission has launched updated versions of its model Articles of Association, Constitution and Trust Deed.

These model documents address recent changes relating to trustee benefits that came into force as a result of the Charity Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006.  Having access to clauses that the charity Commission have themselves approved will make it much easier to update existing constitutions.

All Charity Commission model constitutions now have the same provisions for benefits and payments to trustees and those closely connected with them, and are also consistent with the recently released CIO model constitutions.

All of the models now:

~   allow a trustee or connected person to be paid for supplying just goods to the charity
~   allow a trustee or connected person to be employed or remunerated by the charity subject to our prior authority
~   include the same provisions for addressing conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalties
~   allow a minority of the trustees to receive financial benefits as beneficiaries
~   encourage charity members to resolve internal disputes themselves before resorting to litigation

A surprise change is that all of the constitutions now emphasise mediation as a way of resolving disputes before going to litigation.

Risks of Being a Charity Trustee

Charity specialists Russell-Cooke have just issued a briefing looking at the risks of being a charity trustee.  To begin, they point out that almost no one can ever think of a single example where a trustee has suffered a personal loss.  There are certainly very few cases.  There are 180,000 charities and up to a million trustees yet cases are almost unheard of. But it is still prudent to know what the risks are.

The briefing points out that as a minimum a trustee must abide by the law and the charities’ constitution.  Even then, the trustee only risks personal liability if their actions result in either loss to the charity or improper gain to trustees.  Many charities are also companies but the duties of a company director are similar to those of a Charity Trustee.   The Charity Commission emphasise that they are only likely to make a trustee personally liable where they have acted recklessly or dishonestly, hence the importance of acting honestly and reasonably at all times.

Many charities have become incorporated (become a company limited by guarantee) in recent years as a way of limiting liability particularly in relation to contract law.  In the case of an incorporated charity going bust – provided there was no improper acts – then the trustees would not be personally liable. However may still be liable for breaches of other laws such as health and safety or libel.

The full briefing is available at www.russell-cooke.co.uk

New Code of Governance for Sports Organisations

The Sport and Recreation Alliance are the latest umbrella body to publish a voluntary code of good governance (pdf 230K).  Aimed at the the sport and recreation sector, it is designed for use by national governing bodies of sport, County Sports Partnerships and representative membership organisations.

The Code is designed to enable sport and recreation organisations to aspire to and maintain good governance.  It is a tool to help Boards perform their role by outlining seven simple principles in the following areas:

1. Integrity: Acting as guardians of the sport, recreation, activity or area
2. Defining and evaluating the role of the board
3. Delivery of vision, mission and purpose
4. Objectivity: Balanced, inclusive and skilled board
5. Standards, systems and controls
6. Accountability and transparency
7. Understanding and engaging with the sporting landscape

May 2011

Second Trustees’ Week Announced

The Charity Commission and its partners have announced the second Trustees’ Week taking place from 31st October to 6th November 2011.  It’s a chance to celebrate trustees, increase awareness of the role or maybe hold a recruitment event. If you do plan an event for Trustees’ Week email trusteesweek@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk so that it can be added to the events calendar on the website.

CIO Update:  Scotland 1, England and Wales 0

In Scotland OSCR have registered the first CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) but in England and Wales the CIO is still not available.  However,  the Charity Commission has published guidance and two model constitutions for Charitable Incorporated Organisations so that you can have a look at the structures in detail and consider whether it would suit your needs ahead of any future implementation.   The two models are called The Foundation Model and The Association Model.  Regulations will need to go through parliament before the CIO structure becomes available.  The Office for Civil Society is expected to publish a timetable for implementation soon.

If you’re not sure if the CIO is right for you, Sandy Adirondack has a useful article on her website to help you weigh up the options.

April 2011

ARVAC Annual Lecture – ‘Power and Knowledge creation’ towards a theory of user control and community integration in voluntary action research

This year’s ARVAC lecture promises a lively debate at a time of great change in the voluntary and community sector, with speakers from a cross section of sector viewpoints.   The format of this event aims to actively engage academics, practitioners and policy makers in these issues.  Speakers are:-

  • Ian Bruce Cass Business School
  • Bernard Harris University of Southampton
  • Angela Ellis Paine Third Sector Research Centre
  • Andy Benson National Coalition for Independent Action

9 May 2011, 14.00—17.00, at  The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, 101 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BN
Attendance is free but places are limited.  Please register and book a place by contacting: community@uea.ac.uk or telephone 01603 591561.
NB Governance Pages is a project of ARVAC, The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector.  ARVAC Membership is currently free.

March 2011

CTN and SCC Merge

Charity Trustee Networks and the Small Charities Coalition have merged.  The new organisation will retain the two names but management and administration and governance will be merged.  More information on the merger is available here.

February 2011

Student Union Governance Code

Student Unions are in the process of registering as charities with the Charity Commission (part of the changes brought in by the Charities Act 2006).  To mark their new status the National Union of Students  has produced their own version of the Code of Governance which has 7 guiding principles.
* Democracy
* Openness and Accountability
* Clarity about the role of the Board
* Effective Trustees and Board Performance
* Delivering Organisational Purpose
* Exercising Control
* Integrity
You can view an  interactive version of the code and there is an on-line self assessment tool. A pdf pocket guide is also available.  Adding about 7000 young trustees in this way will lower the average age of Charity Trustees and could increase the involvement of young people in charity governance in general.

Charity Commission Support for Small Charities

The Charity Commission may be considering reducing its support to small organisations in the future as a way of cutting costs, but for now it has three landing pages that are very useful to small organisations:

Small Charities information portal

Resources for Charities below the £5000 registration threshold

Starting up a charity page – general points

Using ICT to help you Govern

NCVO has a useful guide to using ICT on their website.  Favourite suggestions are:
Use doodle to find a suitable date for a meeting.
Use the forums on Trusteenet to discuss governance related issues with other trustees, or let Trusteenet host your very own blog.
‘Techy’ boards should try Huddle.  The pro version is available from NCVO at a discount but small organisations can get a free (£6 admin fee) version from CTX.  It provides a secure webspace where you can share and create documents, hold discussions and share a calendar.
Don’t forget Governance Pages if you want to share a governance story.
Remember, you can’t actually hold a trustee meeting electronically unless your constitution expressly allows it.  See the revised faq 27 for details.
Social Media is a hot topic and the Media Trust have some useful guides to this confusing new world to help guide you through it and get you started. Social Media is usually thought of in terms of gaining supporters in order to mobilise them for campaigning or fundraising.  But Facebook deserves a special mention as in addition to its traditional social networking features it is now a viable option for group chat and sharing files via the new group chat feature (go to create group on the left of your profile and then add the members).

January 2011

Charity Objects and the Equality Act 2010

Following the introduction of the equality Act 2010 the Charity Commission suggests that charities review their objects to see if benefits are limited to people with a protected characteristic (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation).   If so, then you must pass a further test:  either the purpose is to compensate for disadvantage linked to the protected characteristic.  Or, that the limitation to a particular group is a proportionate means to a legitimate aim.
The Charity Commission have just produced an 8 page summary guidance which goes into some detail. London charity solicitors Russell-Cooke have produced a 2 page briefing which helps set out the issues clearly as well as defining discrimination.  There is no case law yet so little sense of how actively or in what way the law will be applied here, but it would be prudent to at least minute a brief discussion at a trustee meeting.

December 2010

Consultation on the future of the Charity Commission.

The Commission’s funding is to reduce by 33% in real terms over the next four years – a reduction of around £8 million. Cuts at this level mean that the Commission can’t just keep going as they are. They have developed a consultation website to help you shape the Commission’s future. You can view the comments posted so far here. Or if you prefer you can email your comments to strategicreview@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

November 2010

Brand New Governance Pages –  New Look Website with Stories

Governance Pages has a completely new look. If you were wondering why Governance Pages had gone quiet its because we’ve been busy behind the scenes redesigning the website to bring the stories to the fore and link them to the resources – linking up theory and practice. The stories are all recorded by real trustees sharing their throughts and experiences of the reality of trusteeship. Use the tags – in the tag cloud – to find stories. The resources – FAQ, Quick Guides and Sample Documents – are all still available, just click on the links at the very top. You can find topics using the A to Z key word search, by tag in the tag cloud, or using the site search function. Browse the site, or get involved by commenting on stories or get in touch if you would like to record a story or link to your blog.
Please remember to update your links to Governance Pages as old links no longer work.

October 2010

Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector (2nd Edition)

Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector has been fully revised and updated by a Steering Group of representatives from ACEVO, Charity Trustee Networks (CTN), the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and NCVO – who wrote the first edition of the Code in 2005, with support from the Charity Commission.

The revised Code is based on six key principles describing how an effective board provides good governance and leadership:

  1. understanding their role;
  2. ensuring delivery of organisational purpose;
  3. working effectively both as individuals and a team;
  4. exercising effective control;
  5. behaving with integrity;
  6. being open and accountable.

The Code explains why each principle is important, and gives examples of how to apply them in practice.  A summary version is also available.

More information is available  from http://www.goodgovernancecode.org.uk/

Download a copy of the full Code (PDF)

www.goodgovernancecode.org.uk

Download a copy of the summary Code (PDF)

www.goodgovernancecode.org.uk

 

September 2010

Commission launches New Guidance on Young People as Trustees as a result of fresh research.

The Charity Commission has undertaken research into young people attitudes and experiences of trusteeship. Young people are hugely under-represented on charity boards in England and Wales. Although 18-24 year olds represent 12% of the total adult population, this age group makes up just 1 in 200 of the 810,000 trustees . There are fewer than 30 trustees in total who are 18 or under. The Commission is concerned that organisations are missing out on the energy and enthusiasm and fresh perspective that young people can bring to charity trustee boards. It also means that many young people do not have the chance to experience this important and influential role in society. The findings are published by the Charity Commission in a new report – A Breath of Fresh Air: young people as charity trustees. The report examines the barriers that stand in the way of young people becoming trustees and explores potential solutions to this problem. The Commission has also published a checklist Finding and Supporting Young Trustees: A Checklist for Charities.This guidance supplements the existing guidance such as Involving Young People in Running a Charity and Being a Trustee – Easy Guide.

Trustees Week

The Charity Commission and Charity Trustee Networks organise the first ever Trustees’ Week

The first Trustee’ week will take place from 25 October to 31 October 2010. It will be used to celebrate the work of trustees and raise the profile of the work they do in organisations across the country. It can be used as an opportunity to thank the trustees/management committee or for the organisation to recognise the contribution that they make. You can read Trustees personal stories and get ideas for Trustee Week from the website www.trusteesweek.org.uk If you organise an event for Trustees Week you can send the details to trusteesweek@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk and it will be added to the calendar to help you publicise. Do let us know at VAC as well!

May 2010

New Government, Big Society

New Coalition Government Spells out views in ‘Building the Big Society’

‘Building the Big Society’ pledges to “train a new generation of community organisers”, “encourage volunteering and involvement in social action”, “encourage charitable giving and philanthropy”, and “introduce a National Citizen Service”. See the full details in Building the Big Society. Also, the new Government has dropped the term ‘Third Sector’ in favour of ‘Civil Society’.

New FAQ on Valuing Trustees

Putting a financial value on the committee’s contribution

Costing the value of trustees may seem unusual but by calculating the financial value of trustees you can give a better picture of an unfunded or modestly funded organisation’s financial worth. And many funders allow you to count that worth as match funding for bids. A new Governance Pages FAQ 32 shows you an approved method that is straightforward to use.

New Guidance for CEOs in crisis – but nothing for Chairs

Acevo (The Association of Chief Officers of Voluntary Organisations) has published new guidance for its members dealing with a crisis in the relationship with the Chair. The guidance is well written but unfortunately only from the perspective of the CEO. Hopefully a funder will address this omission by commissioning a reciprocal guide for Chairs. The publication isn’t available to non-members which surely puts chairs at a disadvantage. Click here for the link.

CIO Introduction Delayed Again

Date for new structure recedes into 2012

It’s becoming a tradition that this spot is used to announce yet another delay of the introduction of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). True to form one of the last acts of the Office of the Third Sector (before it was renamed The Office for Civil Society) was to announce further delays until 2012. Given that the Charity Commission is currently contemplating over 60 redundancies this doesn’t bode well for the CIO. New organisations are advised not to wait but use existing structures.

Arvac Membership

Its free to join for anyone interested in community research

Governance Pages is a project of Arvac – the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector. ARVAC was established in 1978 as a membership organisation and acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations. The Arvac Information Service produces a quarterly Bulletin of research news and maintains a database of community research, runs seminars and conferences and produces occasional publications. Currently ARVAC membership is free – just download and complete a simple membership application.

March 2010

New Learning Disability Friendly Trustee Guide

New Charity Commission Guide ‘Being a Trustee’ for People with a Learning Disability

In partnership with Mencap, the Charity Commission have produced a version of CC3, The Essential Trustee, aimed at people with a learning disability. Download the new guide ‘Being a Trustee’ here. If you are recruiting from among your users then don’t forget to have a look at the Quick Guide to User Involvement and FAQ.

Planning a Cycle of Meetings

Some new documents to help plan your meetings

One of the best tips to make your committee effective is also the simplest; plan a years worth of meetings in advance – not just dates, but rough agendas as well. With the new financial year about to start now is the time to do it if you haven’t already. By looking ahead to cover likely agenda items you can make sure that you have the right number of meetings at the right times. Typical agenda items are agreeing the annual budget, planning for the AGM, reporting on grants, and planning an annual awayday for the committee. Click here to go to the downloadable documents.

Arvac Annual Lecture: Making Voices Count

Towards a Theory of User Control and Community Integration in Voluntary Action Research

ARVAC is delighted to jointly host this event with Community University EngagementEast (CUE East).Two eminent speakers, one from the US and one from the UK will offer lecturesCarl Milofsky: How it works – User control, democracy, and entrepreneurship.Peter Beresford: Why it works – User and disabled people’s movements.Two of the key academics for research in the Voluntary and Community Sector willrespond to the presentations:Peter Halfpenny from the Voluntary Sector Studies Network andCathy Pharoah from the Centre for Charitable Giving and PhilanthropyThe format of the event has been designed to actively engage academics, practitioners and policy makers in these issues, which are gaining particular importance in today’s economic and policy climate. Attendance is free but places are limited, please register and book a place by contacting: community@uea.ac.uk or telephone 01603 591 567.Don’t forget that currently ARVAC membership is free – just download and complete a simple membership application.Governance Pages is a project of ARVAC.

February 2010

Elections

Anxiety in the sector as press suggests charities may have to register with the Electoral Commission

Much anxiety has been generated in the third sector press by referring to the Electoral Commissions requirement that organisations planning to spend more than £10,000 on campaigning will have to register as a ‘recognised third party’ campaigner.

There is also a Charity Commission reminder in their January Update of Charities and Elections. The conditions for registration are set out in the Electoral Commissions Guidance.

To qualify you would have to:

  • be spending more than£10,000 (£5k in Scotland, NI and Wales) on materials that are clearly intending to influence the way people vote.
  • be promoting or criticising a particular party or candidate.
  • promoting or criticising parties or candidates who support or oppose particular policies, hold particular views or fall into a particular category of candidate.
  • campaigning for a particular policy, which is associated with one or more parties (without actually naming them).
  • publicising the names of candidates who have a particular view on an issue such as hunting or education.

The Electoral Commission recommends that Charities should follow Charity Commission rules as set out in CC9. The January Update is a useful summary covering many thorny questions.  In particular it tells us that representatives of all parties do not have to all be present every time you engage with political themes and charities do not have to engage with candidates if that will create a public order issue or make the event unmanageable, or if a candidate advocates policies which are in contravention of the charities objects or whose presence or views will alienate the charities supporters.

Exempt and Excepted Charities

The changes in the Charities Act 2006 regarding Exempt and Excepted Charities start to take effect

A major aspect of the Charities Act 2006 was removing the anomaly of having exempt and excepted charities and to embark on a long term plan to either bring them all under the Charity Commission umbrella or to formally appoint a ‘principal regulator’ such as another government department.

Readers of Governance Pages are less likely to be affected at the moment as the first targets for registration are mainly those with a turnover over £100,000.  However, it is planned that this will come down to £5,000 in line with standard registration requirements in 2012.  A range of excepted charities (places of worship, armed forces charities, scouts) and exempt charities (some museums and galleries, some universities and colleges like Oxford, Cambridge, Eton and Winchester ) will be affected.   The two largest group likely to be affected in 2012 are places of worship and charitable industrial and provident societies which aren’t housing associations.  The full details can be found on the Charity Commission website  and there is a breakdown of the changes to the regulation of exempt and excepted charities and the timescale for registration.

Faith in Good Governance

Exception from Registration of Places of Worship widely ‘misunderstood’ says Commission

Although much may change between now and 2012 (see above) given the clout of some of those affected, some effects of this drive to register places of worship in particular is already having other consequences. The most notable is the realisation by the Charity Commission that the exception from registration of places of worship is widely misunderstood.

This exception is purely for the place of worship only. If there are trusts for the maintenance or repair of the place of worship, or to pay the minister, or for other activities these are not covered by the exception and must be registered as charities in the normal way.

The other is the vexed question of who has the greater say in the decision making of a place of worship- is it the temporal authority of the trustees or the spiritual authority of the minister? To answer this and may other basic questions the Commission has put together a beginners guide to Charity Governance for their new flock called Faith in Good Governance.

Trustee Supplement in the Guardian

The Guardian newspaper carried a Trustee Supplement on Wednesday 27th January

Given the current financial crisis and its roots in banking governance it was surprising that the tone of the recent Trustee supplement in the Guardian was of ‘improving performance’ and ‘bringing in private sector experience’.  And even more surprising was that  the main photo and quotes were from the Private Equity Foundation  – a foundation set up by the controversial multi-billion pound Private Equity industry and according to the BBCs Robert Peston endowed with only £5.1 million at launch – “a fraction of what a private equity partner can expect to earn in just one big deal…” The one case study was bizarrely unrepresentative – a 20 year old who had been on 10 boards and spent five or six hours a day reading documents and attending meetings. Overall there were too many quotes from staff and too few from Trustees or organisations for Trustees. Lets hope the Trustee supplement becomes an annual feature and improves over time.

December 2009

Local Authorities and Charities

New resources published aimed at Local Authority staff and councillors involved with Charities

A small but significant number of charities have a Local Authority as sole trustee. The Charity Commission and the Local Government Association have jointly produced guidance to help Local Authorities fulfil their role and avoid problems.The Charity Commission has also produced a Local Government Toolkit which looks much more broadly at Local Authorities and Charities covering topics such as staff and councillors sitting on committees as nominees of the council, staff and councillors as observers and staff carrying out their duties on behalf of the council where the council itself is specified in the governing document as the trustee. The toolkit outlines the regulatory framework, touches on the Compact and has a useful FAQ. [Note that it is written in power point and appears to only work when opened by Internet Explorer.]The Local Government Association and NCVO developed A Code of Practice for Local Authority Members and Officers Serving on the Boards of Voluntary Organisations (called ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably’) back in 1998 – updated in 2002 and still a useful guide to this often delicate relationship.A new Governance Pages FAQ summarises this information.

New Constitution for LIOs

Umbrella body develops new model constitutions for Local Infrastructure Organisations

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) has created two constitutions specifically designed for Local Infrastructure Bodies and fully compliant with the 2006 Charities Act and the 2006 Companies Act – one for those incorporated after 1st October 2009 and one for everyone else. Although designed for infrastructure bodies the constitutions are good examples of governing documents that are compliant with both of the new acts and up-to-date charity commission good practice. The constitutions and guidance notes can be found here

Arvac Membership

Its free to join for anyone interested in community research

Governance Pages is a project of Arvac – the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector. ARVAC was established in 1978 as a membership organisation and acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations. Research plays an essential role in increasing the effectiveness of organisations involved in voluntary and community action. The Arvac Information Service produces a quarterly Bulletin of research news and maintains a database of community research, runs seminars and conferences and produces occasional publications. The Community Research Project works with small community groups in London who want to learn how to carry out their own research. Membership if free – just download and complete a simple membership application.

November 2009

Arvac Research Conference

Making Research Work, 11th November, London

Governance Pages is a project of the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) which in partnership with Islington Voluntary Action Council (IVAC) is hosting a half day seminar and workshops on community research open to anyone beginning or supporting research with and for community groups. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS are: Alun Michael MP, Prof John Diamond (Edge Hill University), Mulat Haregot (Evelyn Oldfield Unit). This seminar will be preceded by ARVAC’s AGM which starts at 11.30. To book or for more information, accessibility requests and to book workshop places, and stalls please contact Valerie Lammie Tel: 020 7833 1772 or email.

Assessing the Committee

New sample documents on assessment and appraisal

We’ve been gathering sample documents on assessing governance, assessing your committee and even appraising trustees and committee members. Go to Assessing the committee to have a look.

Young People as Trustees

Charity Commission Research looks at Young People as Trustees

The Charity Commission is currently carrying out research to explore what can be done to attract more young people to become charity trustees. To learn more contact Laith Hamid at the Charity Commission on 0151 703 1757 or by email

September 2009

CIO Consultation Response Out Now

The Joint Office of the Third Sector/Charity Commission Response to the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) Consultation has just been published.

The eagerly awaited response of the Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission was released on 17th September. (Click here to go to the press release.) The 30 page response reveals a generally favourable reception from the 220 people who attended the consultation events and 95 other responses . The paper sets out only three areas where there will be significant changes:

  • Removing the proposal that trustees of a CIO might have a lower duty of care;
  • A tightening of the rules around access to personal data in terms of membership records that CIOs must keep;
  • Remove the criminal offences for minor administrative failings and replace them with Charity Commission powers to direct rectification;

There are also many minor changes and clarifications including the decision that 16 year olds can be trustees of a CIO; though the Charity Commission will be asked to draft guidance which will probably require that not all of a CIOs trustees are 16. The full response can be read here. Perhaps the most interesting reading for many will be the ‘next steps’ that the document sets out. The Charity Commission will revise the model CIO constitutions “later this year” and they will be published along with guidance and frequently asked questions. The document still gives “late spring 2010” as the date that the new structure will become available, though it cautions that the introduction may be phased, for example conversions may not be allowed to begin with. Given that a third of incorporated charities have indicated in surveys that they would like to convert the resources implications for the Charity Commission are considerable. Considering the state of public finances and that the implementation date will coincide with elections it seems doubtful that the Commission will have the resources to deal with conversions at first.

May 2009

Governance Pages Reception

Governance Pages is hosting an Event in London on 9th June

To mark three years of Arvac’s Governance Pages you are cordially invited to join us at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to celebrate this achievement, hear from invited speakers about the impact of new legislation on small organisations and network with peers who share your interest in governance and small organisations.

Keynote Speaker: James Sinclair Taylor (Russell-Cooke) + speakers from Arvac , Charity Trustee Networks and Governance Pages Click here to book your place.

Snippets

Governance related items

1. Substantial changes to the charity accounting thresholds came into force in April 2009. The most significant changes are:

  • threshold for submission of annual accounts and Trustees Annual Report raised from £10,000 to £25,000
  • threshold for requiring accounts to be externally examined raised from £10,000 to £25,000
  • threshold for preparation of accruals accounts raised from £100,000 to £250,000

Read the full details here.2. A Review of Charity Trusteeship has just been published by New Philanthropy Capital. It’s a welcome reiteration of some familiar messages, such as a plea to funders to resource committees to review and assess themselves; better opportunities for learning from each other and networking; and a suggestion that trustees should be given statutory time off work to perform their duties. Read the full report here.3. Finally, don’t forget that among all the changes recently that if you are a company limited by guarantee then your members can appoint a proxy to vote for them at an AGM or EGM (even if your memorandum and articles say otherwise). All that is necessary is a sentence stating that they have the right to appoint a proxy, a space for the proxies name, and a space for the member to sign, date, and confirm that a proxy has been appointed. Some of the practicalities have not been sorted out – for instance, if the same proxy is appointed by 3 members and the vote is on a show of hands…

April 2009

Sample Documents

Some new sample documents have been added

Three new sample documents have been added to Governance Pages: two new sample codes – one from Charity Trustee Networks (CTN) and one developed from the ‘9 Qualities’ of the National Occupational Standards for Trustees and a basic constitution for an unincorporated and unregistered voluntary organizations developed jointly by the Charity Commission and Wales Council for Voluntary Organizations.

The full range of sample documents are available here.

Snippets

Governance related items

The Consultation on Charitable Incorporated Organizations has resulted in further delays, partly because it seems that changes (and simplifications) are needed. The most likely date now for its introduction is April 2010 though it is still not decided how it will be phased in.Californian board member newsletter, Blue Avocado, proposes a new role for the committee; ‘Devil’s Advocate‘. Read the full article here. Don’t miss the comments that follow the article!

March 2009

Conflicts of Interest

A revised FAQ and a new sample policy

If your organisation is a company limited by guarantee then dealing with conflicts of interest is now more complicated. The Companies Act 2006 is much more specific about how companies deal with conflicts of interest. Some grey areas have been clarified, but others created. The Charity Commission has already produced new version of GD1 (model governing document for a charitable company) with some new clauses dealing with conflicts of interest, a guide to the main changes in theCompanies Act 2006, as well as a Question and Answer page.On Governance Pages the Conflict of Interest FAQ has been revised In the light of the new Act and there is a new sample Conflict of Interest Policy to go with it.

February 2009

Payments to Committee Members

A New FAQ looks at the confusing topic of payments to trustees/management committee members

The topic is a mine field, though new legislation has helped clarify the issues. Payments can be made in many circumstances, and you can even have staff as trustees of a registered charity – but you must get every step of the process right and even then you must make sure stakeholders and potential funders understand the situation. For community groups who might consider charity status in the future their decisions now must be taken bearing in mind that potential change of status in the future. Click here to read the FAQ.

January 2009

A Shared Definition of Governance

We’ve started something on Wikipedia

Governance can be defined in so many ways – structures, processes, skills, roles – everyone has their own definition of what ‘governance’ means. Rather than try and come up with the definitive answer we’ve turned to wikipedia to help us gather different approaches together. Click here to take a look. Sign up to wikipedia and you too can contribute.

October 2008

Serious Incidents

When is an incident serious enough to warrant reporting it?

The sector is not immune to the climate of anxiety and public concern about fraud, abuse and even (unlikely as it seems) terrorism. Charities with an income of over £25,000 have to report on their annual return whether any serious incidents have occurred – though ‘serious incident’ has not previously been defined. This new FAQ takes a look at the recent guidance from the Charity Commission on Reporting Serious Incidents:

  • What is a serious incident?
  • Who do unincorporated associations report incidents to?
  • The 2 methods of assessing if an incident is serious.
  • Examples of serious incidents.
  • What if a serious incident takes place but isn’t reported to the committee?

The full guidance is available from the Charity Commission here.

Simplify Searching the Web

Two search engines that guarantee good results

If you’ve ever searched on the word ‘chair’ and only found results for furniture to sit on, then you should try the Governance Pages search engines. In addition to the usual site search, we’ve created two custom search engines (one UK and one International) that only find relevant results – results tailored for management committee members of voluntary organisations. Go to the Governance Pages search page and chose either to:

  • search Governance Pages only
  • search relevant UK sites
  • search relevant International sites

The search engines work by only searching a hand picked list of websites – let us know if you think we’ve missed any – or you can sign up as a contributor on the search engines home page The UK Governance Search Engine.’

September 2009

CIO Consultation Response Out Now

The Joint Office of the Third Sector/Charity Commission Response to the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) Consultation has just been published.

The eagerly awaited response of the Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission was released on 17th September. (Click here to go to the press release.) The 30 page response reveals a generally favourable reception from the 220 people who attended the consultation events and 95 other responses . The paper sets out only three areas where there will be significant changes:

  • Removing the proposal that trustees of a CIO might have a lower duty of care;
  • A tightening of the rules around access to personal data in terms of membership records that CIOs must keep;
  • Remove the criminal offences for minor administrative failings and replace them with Charity Commission powers to direct rectification;

There are also many minor changes and clarifications including the decision that 16 year olds can be trustees of a CIO; though the Charity Commission will be asked to draft guidance which will probably require that not all of a CIOs trustees are 16. The full response can be read here. Perhaps the most interesting reading for many will be the ‘next steps’ that the document sets out. The Charity Commission will revise the model CIO constitutions “later this year” and they will be published along with guidance and frequently asked questions. The document still gives “late spring 2010” as the date that the new structure will become available, though it cautions that the introduction may be phased, for example conversions may not be allowed to begin with. Given that a third of incorporated charities have indicated in surveys that they would like to convert the resources implications for the Charity Commission are considerable. Considering the state of public finances and that the implementation date will coincide with elections it seems doubtful that the Commission will have the resources to deal with conversions at first.

Coming Next

What’s coming up on Governance Pages

You may have noticed that Governance Pages took a break over the summer. We are working on a new section on ‘Assessing the Committee’ and would love to hear from anyone with assessment ideas or useful tools. Please email us at info@governancepages.org.uk We’re looking at everything from individual appraisal to board assessment, governance audits, 360s and everything in between. Check back regularly as more resources are added.

May 2009

Governance Pages Reception

Governance Pages is hosting an Event in London on 9th June

To mark three years of Arvac’s Governance Pages you are cordially invited to join us at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to celebrate this achievement, hear from invited speakers about the impact of new legislation on small organisations and network with peers who share your interest in governance and small organisations.Keynote Speaker: James Sinclair Taylor (Russell-Cooke) + speakers from Arvac , Charity Trustee Networks and Governance Pages Click here to book your place.

Snippets

Governance related items

1. Substantial changes to the charity accounting thresholds came into force in April 2009. The most significant changes are:

  • threshold for submission of annual accounts and Trustees Annual Report raised from £10,000 to £25,000
  • threshold for requiring accounts to be externally examined raised from £10,000 to £25,000
  • threshold for preparation of accruals accounts raised from £100,000 to £250,000

Read the full details here.

2. A Review of Charity Trusteeship has just been published by New Philanthropy Capital. It’s a welcome reiteration of some familiar messages, such as a plea to funders to resource committees to review and assess themselves; better opportunities for learning from each other and networking; and a suggestion that trustees should be given statutory time off work to perform their duties. Read the full report here.

3. Finally, don’t forget that among all the changes recently that if you are a company limited by guarantee then your members can appoint a proxy to vote for them at an AGM or EGM (even if your memorandum and articles say otherwise). All that is necessary is a sentence stating that they have the right to appoint a proxy, a space for the proxies name, and a space for the member to sign, date, and confirm that a proxy has been appointed.

Some of the practicalities have not been sorted out – for instance, if the same proxy is appointed by 3 members and the vote is on a show of hands…

April 2009

Sample Documents

Some new sample documents have been added

Three new sample documents have been added to Governance Pages: two new sample codes – one from Charity Trustee Networks (CTN) and one developed from the ‘9 Qualities’ of the National Occupational Standards for Trustees and a basic constitution for an unincorporated and unregistered voluntary organizations developed jointly by the Charity Commission and Wales Council for Voluntary Organizations.

The full range of sample documents are available here.

Snippets

Governance related items

The Consultation on Charitable Incorporated Organizations has resulted in further delays, partly because it seems that changes (and simplifications) are needed. The most likely date now for its introduction is April 2010 though it is still not decided how it will be phased in.Californian board member newsletter, Blue Avocado, proposes a new role for the committee; ‘Devil’s Advocate‘. Read the full article here. Don’t miss the comments that follow the article!’,

March 2012

ARVAC Annual Lecture
What counts? Who counts?
Critical approaches to the impact debate in the Voluntary and Community Sector.
08 May 2012, 14:00—17:00
at the Wellcome Collection 183 Euston Road London NW1 2BE
ARVAC is worldwide the oldest national association in the field of community research,
its mission to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers.
We are delighted to jointly host this event with Community University Engagement
East and The Wellcome Trust. As in previous years, the ARVAC Annual
Lecture offers the chance to hear and discuss key issues with eminent speakers
from the academic and voluntary and community sectors. This year’s focus on
impact highlights the questions and tensions in deciding how and where the sector
should count.
Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, Chair of Volunteering England, will chair the event.
This year’s speakers are:
Professor Allan Cochrane Open University
Dr. Emma Stone
Director, Policy and Research Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Sioned Churchill
Director of Special Initiatives & Evaluation Trust for London
Attendance is free but places are limited, please register and book a place by
contacting: community@uea.ac.uk or 01603 591561.
ARVAC Registered Charity No 29676 Company Limited by Guarantee No 21179402

Charity Registration Process Changes. From today the process to register as a charity in England and Wales changes. More details can be found on the Charity Commission website. In short they are making it harder to register.  It’s not clear on what authority this change is being made or why but it seems clear that it is another attempt to discourage charity registration.  http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Start_up_a_charity/Guidance_on_registering/The_registration_process_index.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CharityCommissionUpdates+%28Charity+Commission+updates%29
Curiously, the Charity Commission is promoting the idea of registering with HMRC for organisations that don’t pass the £5000 threshold. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/cha1.pdf

February 2012

Another CIO Implementation Deadline Passes
It’s become a tradition to mark the passing of yet another implementation deadline at Governance Pages.  Five years on from the first promise of the Charitable incorporated Organisation the latest deadline (first quarter of 2012) has now been and gone. You can read a more detailed update of the situation at Sandy Adirondack’s Legal Update website.[http://www.sandy-a.co.uk/managing.htm#cio}

January 2012

The Relationship Between Chairs and Chief Executives
Clore Leadership Fellow Penelope Gibbs [http://bit.ly/Aap3F2], recently wrote a report titled ‘Marriages Made in Heaven’ [http://www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk/media/files/495/CS101%20CSLP%20Fellow%20Chair%20and%20Chief%20Exec%20report%20AW_LR.pdf] looking at the sometimes fraught relationship between chairs and chief executives. The report, sponsored by Acevo, the Chief Executive’s professional association a written by a former Chief Executive predictably lays most blame at the feet of Chairs.  Third Sector featured a discussion between Penelope Gibbs and Alec Sandison, but chairs still came in for the lions share of the blame.  Fortunately governance expert Linda Laurance has responded with a far more balanced article {http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/1105091/really-crisis-chair-chief-executive-relationships/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH}.  There seems to be room for improvement on both sides but the executives seem determined to lay blame squarely with the non-executives.
If our own sector won’t confront it’s demons perhaps we should look to the financial sector where shocking boardroom mistakes have cost the whole country dear.  Equitable Life, once the most successful and respected of mutual Insurers but now a shadow of it’s former self after losing most its investors and pensioners their money is sponsoring an academic report into what went so disastrously wrong in the boardroom. [http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/business/markets/just-why-do-boardrooms-get-it-wrong-6378198.html] We will have to wait a while for the results but it should be worth it.

Accredited Short Course in Governance Launches
The Open College Network has just accredited a short course in ‘Governance in the Voluntary and Community Sector’. The qualifications are mapped closely to the Trustee and Management Committee National Occupational Standards (2006) and link to the Code of Good Governance (2010), supported by the Charity Commission, NCVO and others.Find out more at the Skills Third Sector website (http://www.skills-thirdsector.org.uk/level_2_and_3_short_courses_in_governance_in_the_voluntary_sector/] or the Open College Network webstite. [http://www.nocn.org.uk/page/33075/governance-in-the-voluntary-and-community-sector]

December 2011

New Governance Code for Small Organisations
The Second edition of the Good Governance Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector  – Version for Small Organisations. has just been published. The new code strikes a good balance between clarity and being comprehensive. You can view the code and other at the website http://www.goodgovernancecode.org.uk/

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A Word About Words

This site is aimed at those who govern (control) small organisations - whether they are charities, companies, both or neither. Those who govern them may be called a variety of names. We have chosen to use mainly 'management committee' and occasionally 'committee member' or 'trustee'. more...
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