The Board wanted to ensure that it was operating to the highest standard of governance possible, and therefore decided to review itself against the standard for smaller charities published by the Charity Commission as the Charity Governance Code (“the Code”) available here and choosing "For smaller charities".
The Code says:
A charity should explain the approach it takes to applying the Code, so it is transparent to anyone interested in its work. We call this approach ‘apply or explain’. All trustees are encouraged to meet the principles and outcomes of the Code by either applying the recommended practice or explaining what they have done instead or why they have not applied it.
A report on the Board's review is below.
Approach taken to the review
We conducted the review with each Trustee asked to comment independently with his/her views on the extent to which we were applying the Code. These views were then circulated and discussed at a Board meeting, agreeing any current non-application, and either action(s) to remedy the gap or to explain it. The actions were then monitored to completion.
To ensure the Board did not become entirely focused on this activity to the detriment of other work, one section of the Code was reviewed at each meeting over a period of about a year.
Results of review
The Code's recommendations are in the following 7 sections:
- Organisational purpose
- Decision-making, risk and control
- Board effectiveness
- Openness and accountability
The Board found the review process very helpful, mostly confirming that we were governing closely in accordance with the Code's recommendations, but occasionally allowing us to identify improved ways of working (which were then implemented). The Board confirms it is now applying the recommendations in each section with one exception where we felt it inappropriate to do so.
Section 6: Diversity
Given the small number of people on the Board, Trustees felt it was difficult to be completely representative of the orienteering population but strongly supported the principles in the Code. The Board considered the Code's recommendations and decided to develop a diversity policy statement which can be found in Policy Documents.
The Board will continue to monitor the Code, and will review itself again in future if the Code changes and / or periodically in future years.