Governance Blogs

Keep up to date with the latest governance news and advice.

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Charity Commission aiming to open the doors to charity trusteeship

Following Trustees Week in Autumn 2023, the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, Helen Stephenson, has recently provided feedback on the discussions which she held with Trustees during this time. She has said that the Charity Commission are aware that work still needs to be done to open the doors to trusteeship and that one of the common misconceptions was that trusteeship isn’t suitable for the average person. Helen recounts

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Newspaper text saying campaign.

The Non-Party Campaigner Code and what this means for Charities

The chair of the Charity Commission has advised that Charities need to be aware of the implications of the new Non-Party Campaigner Code which came into effect on 1 December 2023. This Code will introduce some important changes to electoral law which will be relevant to many charities whose leaders and trustees will see this as a critical moment to speak up for beneficiaries and highlight causes.  This continues to

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Yellow background with post it note that says AI and has a square robot head.

Using AI as a Charity

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? AI is a part of our everyday lives. It can have great benefits in terms of efficiency and social good but there are ethical requirements which it is important to be aware of.   The Information Commissioner’s Office definition of AI is:   “…an umbrella term for a range of algorithm-based technologies that solve complex tasks by carrying out functions that previously required human thinking. Decisions made using AI

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Trustee training session shows 5 people sat at a table while a 6th person is standing presenting,

Trustee Training at VODA

Did you know that VODA provides free in-person training courses to new and existing Trustees of organisations based in North Tyneside to help them act as effective members of your Board?   The training focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the Trustee and other principles of governance. The informal session lasts around 2 hours and includes interactive activities as well as a chance to discuss issues and ask questions. 

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Social enterprise. Talking cartoon heads.

Understanding Social Enterprises

What is a Social Enterprise?  Social enterprises are businesses that put the interests of people and planet ahead of shareholder gain. These businesses are driven by a social/environmental mission and reinvest profits into creating positive social change. They aim to get most of the income they need from trade rather than from funding or donations.   How are they structured legally?   Social enterprises can take on many different legal structures. Some

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Filling out form on laptop

Trustee Expenses and Payments

The concept of unpaid trusteeship has been one of the defining characteristics of the charitable sector, contributing greatly to public confidence in charities. The basic principle is that trustees must not put themselves in a position where their personal interests conflict with their duty to act in the interests of the charity unless authorised to do so. Key areas to consider are: Expenses: However, trustees are entitled to have their

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Legal scales

Charities Act 2022 -Autumn 2023 Changes

In February 2022, the Charities Bill received Royal Assent and passed into law as the Charities Act 2022. The recommendations from the Law Commission formed the basis for the provisions of the new legislation and the Act is designed to give trustees more flexibility to manage charities effectively. They will not have a big impact on charities’ daily operations but simplify certain areas of regulation. The Charity Commission entered a

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Charity written in newspaper print

Is setting up a charity the best option?

Sometimes people assume that setting up a charity is the best or only option when they are setting up a new organisation which aims to help. However, sometimes this isn’t the case. Consider these points below to see whether a charity is the best option for you and your organisation.  Who you will help and how you will help them: If your organisation benefits the community, it does not mean

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Social Media Guidance for Charities

An update on the new guidance on social media produced by the Charity Commission The Charity Commission has released new guidance on the use of social media for charities which provides a very useful tool for trustees. The Charity Commission recognises that social media has become a powerful way for many charities to promote their work, engage their supporters and campaign for change. The public is also using social media

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Two people working at an idea board with post it notes.

Trusteeship Good for Business?

How trusteeship can help provide great experience for junior staff members looking to build their leadership skills There is a myth that becoming a charity trustee is just for those people who’ve been there, and done that. A retired professional or businessperson comes to mind as an ideal candidate. Whilst it’s true that a Board of Trustees will benefit immensely from trustees with this type of background, younger trustees are

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Question mark jigsaw

Charity Commission produces knowledge test quiz for Trustees

The Charity Commission has launched a new quiz which tests Trustee’s knowledge of their duties and responsibilities and aims to increase awareness of the Commission’s 5-minute guides. There are 10 multiple choice questions on topics such as conflicts of interest and a charity’s reserves policy. There is a feedback section for each question and links to further guidance on each topic. This is a really useful resource to help Trustees

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Community Centre Interior

Knowledge Update: Legal Costs of a Lease Renewal-Who should pay?

Background If you rent or lease the place where your organisation conducts their work, then you are a business tenant. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (Part 2) gives business tenants an important legal protection, called ‘security of tenure’ – the right to renew the tenancy when it comes to an end. This right to renew will be applicable if the tenant has not ‘contracted out’ which means they have effectively

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Working at laptop

Organisational Health Checks: A How-to Guide

Health checks are an increasingly accepted way of identifying how your organisation really works and whilst primarily aimed at smaller organisations they can be used as a starting point for larger organisations.  A health check for your organisation is like an MOT for your car. It enables you to look at all the different elements within your organisation and to check that they are working properly and running smoothly. Like

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Terraced Housing

Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service

The Ministry of Justice has just launched a new service to help those at risk of losing their homes called the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service. The service provides: Early legal advice (legal help) on housing, debt and welfare benefits issues to those at risk of possession proceedings and loss of their home; and On the day emergency advice and representation at court to those with a listed possession hearing

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People at board meeting

Boardroom behaviour: a recipe for success

How your board works together as a group is vital and improving this is often a key development need for boards. Some of the things that you can do to help to ensure ideal behaviour in meetings include: Effective chairing: A chair should spend their time listening, moving the discussion on, and then summarising. At the end of each agenda item the chair should ensure that everyone is clear about

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Research jigsaw

The Charity Commission 2023 trustee and public trust annual research

The Charity Commission undertakes annual research which relates closely to their statutory objectives, including increasing public trust and confidence in charities, promoting compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations and enhancing the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the wider public. The 2023 research has confirmed the following key findings: Public Trust: Charities continue to be well regarded and highly trusted, ranking second only to doctors. The research

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