What is the Charities Governance Code?

The Charities Governance Code was announced in November 2018 by the Charities Regulator. The code sets out the minimum standards that must be met in order to effectively manage a charity. The code is made up of six principles of governance which are:

  1. Advancing charitable purpose

  2. Behaving with integrity

  3. Leading people

  4. Exercising control

  5. Working effectively

  6. Being accountable

At a minimum, charities are expected to meet the core standards of these principles. With over 10,000 registered charities in Ireland the code was designed to work for a diverse range of organisations. More ‘complex’ charities are also expected to meet the additional standards set out. Each charity should itself decide whether it needs to meet these additional standards. This decision should be based on factors such as income, number of employees etc.

Compliance with the Charities Governance Code is one of the three elements required to achieve the Triple Lock standard.

Who Is the Charities Governance Code For?

All registered charities in Ireland are expected to meet the core standards of the six principles of the Code. Ultimately, the responsibility of compliance rests with the charity’s trustees. By law, charity trustees have individual and joint responsibility for what happens within their charity.

When Is Compliance with the Charities Governance Code Expected?

The Charities Regulator has stated that 2019 is viewed as a learning year for charities. In 2020, charities will be expected to comply with the Code. In 2021 charities will be expected to report on their compliance with the Code. In time, the Charities Regulator will publicly display whether or not a charity is in compliance.

How Does a Charity Comply with the Charities Governance Code?

To comply with the Code charities should follow the ten steps laid out on the Charities Regulator website. These include reading the code in full and becoming familiar with it, recording the actions you will take to comply, and declaring compliance with the Code when submitting your annual report to the Charities Regulator.

How Does a Charity Display Compliance with the Charities Governance Code?

A charity must declare its compliance to the code when submitting its annual report to the Charities Regulator. It must complete the Compliance Record Form each year. The Charities Regulator may ask for this at any time.

If your charity is not complying with the Governance Code you will need to explain to the Charities Regulator why this is. Valid reasons for non-compliance could be the winding up of your charity or the fact that your charity is newly established and needs more time to comply.

Resources

Charities Governance Code (PDF)

The Ten Steps to Compliance, Compliance Record Form, and more can be found on the Charities Regulator Website.