Headlines: July 7th, 2005

All charities and voluntary organisations will be asked to sign up today to a new set of principles aimed at ensuring the highest possible standards of governance are set for the voluntary and community sector.

The Code is designed for everyone involved in the governance of such organisations and particularly for trustees and chief executives. It is hoped it will also help staff, volunteers, members and service users to understand what they can expect from a well-governed organisation.

It has been produced following work by a coalition of five organisations, acevo, the Charity Commission, Charity Trustee Networks, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. There has been wide discussion and consultation during the construction of the document, which is intended to be short, user friendly, and universally relevant and applicable across the sector. To ensure the Code reaches the smallest organisations, an introduction to the principles of good governance for community groups has been developed to complement it.

Launching the new code, Geraldine Peacock, the Chair of the Charity Commission said they were pleased to have facilitated and supported its development. “Produced by the sector for the sector, the code will promote good governance, legal compliance and accountability in charities. This in turn will increase charities’ impact and build public trust. This is a great example of the sector doing something for itself,” she said.

Stuart Etherington, the Chief Executive of, NCVO, said the Code would help the sector to move forward and build on success already achieved in improving the quality and accountability of its governance. It was vital, he said, that organisations used it and publicised its use, if they were to enhance public trust and confidence.

The Governance Hub will be seeking feedback from the voluntary and community sector over the next 18 months and a series of regional events will be organised to enable the sector to discuss issues identified during this process. The Code, and a summary of its key principles, will be distributed today.