We’ve put together a list of external websites and resources that many Chairs find help them fulfil their role. Members can find more resources in the members only area including reading lists and specialist Chairs’ briefings – written specifically from the Chair’s perspective.
A sound understanding of governance is the foundation to good chairing and is the responsibility of every board member. Here are some key resources that Chairs and board members will want to be familiar with:
Charity Commission for England and Wales
The Charity Commission is the regulator of charities. It provides a wide range of useful free resources on different aspects of governance. See in particular The Essential Trustee, Charity Governance Code and Big Board talk. Definitely a site that charity Chairs should visit charity-commission.gov.uk. You can sign up to receive Charity Commission News, their quarterly newsletter which contains essential information for charity trustees.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own regulators: the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is at oscr.org.uk and the Charity Commission in Northern Ireland is at charitycommissionni.org.uk.
Good governance code
The Good governance code is written specifically by the voluntary sector for the voluntary sector. It sets out six principles for effective boards:
- Understanding their role
- Ensuring delivery of organisational purpose
- Working effectively both as individuals and a team
- Exercising effective control
- Behaving with integrity
- Being open and accountable
You’ll find the latest version of Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector as well as a version for small organisations and for Welsh organisations at governancecode.org
Regulator of community interest companies
The regulator of community interest companies provides information and resources at gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-regulator-of-community-interest-companies
ICSA: The Governance Institute
Provides a range of general resources and some guidance relevant to the not-for-profit sector at
A number of organisations can help you understand the non-profit sector and your responsibilities as a Chair. They provide information and briefings and hold events that may be of interest to you. Here are the key ones:
NCVO: National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Provides a very wide range of information and resources on most matters affecting the voluntary and community sector. Look out for their microsites as well, for example data.ncvo.org.uk and knowhownonprofit.org NCVO publishes the very useful and regularly updated Good Trustee Guide. Why not make sure every member of your board has a copy? It also runs an annual Trustee Conference. Find out more at ncvo.org.uk
Small Charities Coalition (merged with Charity Trustee Networks in 2011)
Small Charities Coalition provides a range of information, support, mentoring and networking opportunities especially for smaller charities and their trustees at
smallcharities.org.uk. You’ll find a library of online governance resources. Members of the Small Charities Coalition can request help with governance queries by submitting online questions or phoning a free governance advice line.
ACEVO: Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
ACEVO is an important source of information and support for your CEO. Leading the CEO and Chair to Effective Governance (revised 2012) explores the Chair-CEO relationship and includes a section about CEO appraisal, examples of CEO role descriptions, case studies and a useful role analysis exercise. It also has a section on The CEO and Chair in crisis – positive steps for recovery. ACEVO also publishes an annual pay survey. ACEVO’s CEO in Crisis service is for CEOs, designed to help when their relationship with the Chair has broken down and they need support in trying to repair the relationship or they believe their job is at risk and want to understand their rights and options. The service is available to full members of ACEVO who have been members for three months or more. ACEVO’s annual conference is open to Chairs. See acevo.org.uk
DSC: Directory of Social Change
A leading provider of publications and training on voluntary sector issues at dsc.org.uk. DSC offer training and publications for trustees.
Social Enterprise UK
SEUK provides advice information and services to social enterprises and helps social enterprises to network at socialenterprise.org.uk
Co-ops UK have a range of resources including the Corporate governance code for consumer co-operative societies at uk.coop/
Civil Society is a useful online resource on news and developments in the sector. You might like to take out a subscription to their Governance magazine. The subscription includes additional copies that you can share with board members. If you have an online subscription you can access past copies, research and model documents which you may find useful. Third Sector is published online and in print and is a useful source of news and analysis of events in the non-profit sector.