Governance is not the first thing that an individual or a group of associates think about when getting together to discuss a passion or interest in a cause with the intention to deliver a vision for a better future.
But good governance can be the difference between success or failure. Good Governance will establish the foundations for an organisation that can thrive and grow to fulfil the ambitions of those who first had that vision. People may come and go and the external and business environment may change, but good governance will help navigate you through those difficult times. An organisation with bad governance is unlikely to be so resilient and may disintegrate when times get rough.
Generally, the main characteristics of good governance include being participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follow the rule of law. This helps the organisation to allow involvement, open to the views of its beneficiaries and makes decisions in their best interests. In short it is the process of sound decision-making.
Bad governance or ignorance of what leaders and trustees can and cannot do can lead not only to internal problems but can have far reaching consequences in terms of reputational damage and worse. This was played out quite publically in the case of Kids Company and more recently by the founder of the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has been updating its own Charity Code of Governance over the past year. This refreshed Code contains seven core principles (eight if you include complying with the law). These are :-
• Organisation purpose
• Decision making, risk and control
• Board effectiveness
• Openness and accountability
Each principle of the code has a brief description and an outline of how it can help improve your own processes and ultimately your performance. If your processes require improving or updating, then we recommend using this tool or the wealth of other sources of information and help on our Leadership and Governance Resources webpage.
Its also worth noting that there is a new Code for Sports Governance which sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity that will be required from those who ask for Government and National Lottery funding from April 2017.
You may also want to book a place on our FREE Governance Made Easy training which we are holding in both Lambeth or Southwark (depending on where you are based) over the coming months and /or book an appointment with one of our development Officers for some 1:1 advice: email the development team.