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Good Governance

Key Information


How you govern your charity is incredibly important. There are several rules and regulations around running a charity and ensuring that your governance is comprehensive and complete is vital. 

Governance is the systems and processes concerned with ensuring the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an organisation. 

Good governance ensures:

  • Compliance with law and regulation
  • That an organisation is well run and efficient
  • That problems are identified early and dealt with appropriately
  • The preservation of the reputation and integrity of the sector
  • That charities make a difference and the objects of the charity are advanced 

Governance in charities

Usually a charity is governed by a trustee board that takes overall responsibility for its work. Governance is a term used to describe the trustees’ role in:

  • Securing the long term direction of the charity (furthering its objects or purposes as set out in its governing document)
  • Ensuring that policies and activities achieve those objects
  • Ensuring the charity is run in a way that is legal, responsible and effective
  • Being accountable to those with an interest or 'stake' in the charity.

Good governance runs throughout a charity. The trustee board is responsible for good governance, but they rely on many different people to be able to govern well – staff and the chief executive in particular, volunteers, advisors and others with an interest or stake in the organisation (stakeholders).

Free support available

HEY Smile Foundation's Community Development Team run a free service offering practical 1:1 support. The 'Charity Chat' service includes advice and guidance to make sure your group has all the right governance in place to be successful and compliant. By attending these 'Charity Chats' the teamwork with groups to create a plan to support and nurture them through challenges and opportunities.

Charity Chats are booked on a weekly basis and start with an initial one-hour meeting. To make an appointment start by registering on and then get in touch with the Community Development Team by calling 01482 590270 or email


Sources of information you may find useful when setting up your charity or reviewing your charities governance:

The NCVO represents over 16,000 voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and social enterprises across England -the web site has loads of information to help guide you through the complicated governance requirements  - NCVO's Introduction to Governance

Charity Governance Code is a practical tool to help charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance. The Code has its own website  - The Charity Governance Code

The Cranfield Trust provide pro bono management support to charities. Visit the website to learn more about free management consultancy and business services available to charities and CICs. The Cranfield Trust

The Charity Commission website Set up a charity - step by step


Published at 1:22 pm Wed Aug 11th, 2021 in Key Updates

NCVO begins governance review

Published at 11:17 am Thu Apr 8th, 2021

The Charity Excellence Governance Framework

Published at 11:09 am Thu Apr 8th, 2021

'My Community' Resource Database