New Code Introduced to Promote Good Governance and Transparency

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, yesterday launched a new code of practice designed to promote high standards of governance and transparency in the charity sector.

The Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations provides, for the first time, clear guidelines on the roles, duties and responsibilities of those who run community, voluntary or charitable Governance Codeorganisations. The Code can be adopted by nonprofit  organisations of all sizes – from small volunteer-led groups to large domestic and international charities.

The Governance Code was developed over a three-year period by a Working Group of eight charities, assisted by a number of experts in the area of governance. The Working Group consulted widely with community and voluntary organisations, funders, regulators, statutory bodies and other stakeholders.

Over 150 charities have already committed to adopting the Governance Code. Speaking at the launch in Dublin’s Mansion House, Deirdre Garvey, Chairperson of the Working Group, said that the enthusiastic reaction to the Code is evidence that charities care passionately about running their organisations to the highest possible standards. “Charities rely on the trust of the public and their funders; upholding high standards of governance, accountability and transparency is essential to maintaining that trust. The Governance Code provides community, voluntary and charitable organisations with both a benchmark of good governance and a tool to demonstrate their trustworthiness,” said Ms Garvey.

Welcoming the Governance Code at the launch, Minister Phil Hogan said: “Now more than ever we all need to demonstrate to the public that we are delivering on goals for the public’s very scarce resources. It does not matter whether you are a Philanthropic organisation, a Community and Voluntary organisation or a Government Department, we all need to make better decisions, better investments and we need to demonstrate the impact and benefits of these investments.“

The Working Group also called on Government to commence the Charities Act 2009 fully, as soon as possible: “In the absence of adequate regulation, the community, voluntary and charity sector has shown great initiative by developing this Code, particularly at a time when many charities are struggling with funding and an increasing demand for their services. However, only the full commencement of the Charities Act will provide a complete framework of oversight for charities,” said Ms Garvey.

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