What is good Governance?

What is Governance?

NCVO describes governance as a term used to describe trustees’ role in:

  • the long term direction of the charity, including its objectives or purposes 
  • implementing policies and activities to achieve objectives
  • complying with legal requirements 
  • accountability to those with an interest or 'stake' in the charity

What is good Governance?

"Good governance in charities is fundamental to their success. It enables and supports a charity’s compliance with the law and relevant regulations. It also promotes a culture where everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s vision." 

(Charity Governance Code)

Good Governance is the building block of your organisation and it's vital to your success. 

There are a wealth of resources to help you, some digital, some national and some here in the North East.

Here's a round up of the ones we think you should know about.

The Charity Commission

Everything you need to know to operate a legal charity, covering how to set up an organisation, tax, fundraising, safeguarding and your trustees and board.

Visit the Charity Commission website.

The Charity Governance Code

The Code aims to help charities and their trustees develop these high standards of governance. It's a practical tool to help set the principles and recommended practice for good governance and is deliberately aspirational: some elements will be a stretch for some charities to achieve. There are two versions of the Code, one for smaller (annual income of under £1m) charities, and one for larger charities. 

Read the Charity Governance Code.

Trustees and Trusteeship

Yes We Can run training in the North East for new charity trustees during their first year of trusteeship, visit their website to find out more details.

NCVO has a programme, a Good Trustee Conference, and training packages, as well as some really useful guides, including The Good Trustee Guide. They also provide a range of free resources and affordable online training courses through their Knowhownonprofit website.

The Charity Commission's guidance The Essential Trustee explains the key duties of all trustees in England and Wales.

Community Group Training run a range of (paid for but low cost) online learning courses


The Law Commission have published a report, The Technical Issues in Charity Law, which makes a number of recommendations to maximise the efficient use of charitable funds whilst ensuring proper safeguards for the public.

Strategic Support 

The Pilotlight Programme supports charity leaders to think strategically about where their organisation is going and helps them to plan for sustainability, development and growth.

Locality have a range of services and tools to support community organisations, including with governance.

Directory of Social Change offers a range of courses and training (London based) 

ACEVO provide a range of courses and support including a governance hotline (available for their members)

For small charities

The Charity Finance Group (CFG) is the networking body providing support for finance professionals working across the charity sector. CFG’s Small Charities programme provides practical finance training and resources for charities with an income of £1m or less across England and Wales, developing their knowledge and capabilities.

Small Charities Coalition support small charities to acccess skills, tools and information and have a whole section on their website dedicated to governance.


The Directory of Social Change website has access to a free book, Financial Governance: a gentle guide for the non-financial trustee.

The Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel have published a guide for Tackling Charity Fraud.

The Honorary Treasurers Forum published a handbook specifically for charity Treasurers.

Your Local Infrastructure Organisation (LIO)

LIOs provides support at a local level to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations on a range of issues including governance, view the list of all North East LIOs.