The Charity Governance Code aims to support continuous improvement in charity governance, and, as you will be aware focuses on seven key principles. The main changes in this refresh relate to:
In brief, the amendments to the integrity principle relate to ensuring that governors:
For most independent schools, the procedures around safeguarding are likely to be well established but this is a reminder to ensure that this important aspect of school governance is governor-led and the safeguarding aspects of governance are well embedded in decision making, strategic thinking and in monitoring performance and holding the senior leadership team to account.
The changes to Principle 3 also addresses the issue of power imbalances on a board and in particular that charities should check that there are no individual or groups within the board which have undue power or influence. This can be a particularly sensitive topic and can require looking carefully at recruitment, codes of conduct, delegation to committees as well as the personalities involved. It is perhaps a timely reminder that reviewing governance more generally and performance managing governors is important.
The main aim of this area of the Code is to ensure that the board has a clear, agreed and effective approach to supporting EDI throughout the school and in its own practice. Recommendations include that governors should:
Over the last 12 months EDI has rightly been a focus for the wider charitable sector and the UK as a whole, but putting these principles into practice is perhaps much more difficult. Certainly a governance review will be necessary for many schools with the need to look at governance codes of conduct and policies and procedures that generally support the delivery of the school's EDI strategy.