Charities Governance Code

Posted on 4 Dec 2019

The Charities Regulator launched a new Charities Governance Code in late 2018. This Code sets out a mandatory standard for governance in Irish charities. All charities in Ireland must implement the Code from 2020 onwards.

The Code identifies 6 principles on which good governance is based. Under each principle the Code provides a set of core standards that all charities are expected to apply. On top of this, “complex charities” are expected to apply a set of additional standards.

The six principles of the Charities Governance Code are:

  1. Advancing Charitable Purpose
  2. Behaving with Integrity
  3. Leading People
  4. Exercising Control
  5. Working Effectively
  6. Being Accountable & Transparent

You can view this webinar to get an overview of the Code and its requirements. Learn more about the Charities Regulator here.

Implementing The Code

The trustees of the charity (i.e. the governing body) are responsible for making sure that the organisation implements the Code.

To begin, the trustees, together, need to:

  • Read the code carefully & discuss the action plan for implementation at a board meeting
  • Identify if their organisation is a “complex charity” and would therefore need to apply the additional standards along with the core standards.

We would recommend the following additional steps:

  • Identify who within the charity will take a lead responsibility on compliance – this may be a named trustee or staff member.
  • Consider setting up a working group to carry out compliance work – this sub-group of the board may include trustees, staff and other volunteers.
  • Identify key milestones so that the trustees can be assured that the charity will meet its obligations on time.

In order to report on your compliance with the Code the charity needs to:

  • Identify what actions it will take to meet each of the required standards 
  • Identify what evidence the charity can provide for those actions 
  • Complete the Compliance Record Form which sets out the actions and evidence for each standard
  • The trustees should review this completed Compliance Record Form and sign-off on its accuracy 
  • Declare your organisation's compliance with the Code in your annual reporting to the Charities Regulator
  • Complete a fresh Record Form every year & report on your annual compliance to the Regulator. 

Resources & Support

The Regulator has produced a set of guidance documents and complimentary resources which will help charities with their compliance work, called the Charities Governance Code Toolkit.

Check out the Charity Trustee Driver’s Licence as a tool to get your trustees up-to-speed with their legal duties.

Explore the rest of our Advice & Guidance section for the latest on all issues relating to charity governance.