A new, refreshed Charity Governance Code has been launched today – with significant updates to the Diversity and Integrity principles in the Code.

The Charity Governance Code was first published in 2017. It is not legally binding, but aims to express ‘best practice’ core principles and governance goals for charity trustee boards, and has been widely adopted across the sector.

The Code is built around seven core principles, supported by best practice recommendations. It is reviewed every three years – the latest changes follow a sector-wide consultation which finished earlier this year.


Respondents to the consultation commented that diversity has moved on significantly since 2017 and that this was an area that would benefit from a full review and update. In response, the Diversity Principle has been replaced by a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Principle.
The new principle is framed around the potential journey that a charity board could make to meet its diversity challenges:

  1. Assessing understanding, systems and culture
  2. Setting context-specific and realistic plans and targets
  3. Taking action and monitoring EDI performance
  4. Publishing performance information and learning

The Code highlights a number of practical steps that charities can take to embed the spirit of the Code’s EDI principle within their governance structures, including recruiting diverse trustees, and encouraging inclusive and accessible participation.


Informed by consultation responses, the Integrity principle has been updated to emphasise the importance of a charity’s values, ethics and culture, with a reference to NCVO’s Charity Ethical Principles. It reflects the recent focus on safeguarding in the sector – noting that everyone who comes into contact with a charity should be treated with dignity and respect and feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment. New recommendations ask trustees to:

  • understand their safeguarding responsibilities
  • establish and review appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures and
  • ensure that anyone working with the charity knows how to speak up and feel comfortable raising concerns.

The revised Code is available at www.charitygovernancecode.org.

The Code is recognised by the Charity Commission as the standard for effective charity governance and boards of larger charities are expected to review their own performance annually with an external evaluation every three years. If your board is looking to carry out such a review, we can help by carrying out a governance health check. We will analyse your current arrangements and provide a road map towards best practice and governance effectiveness.

For more information please see here https://bateswells.co.uk/products-solutions/charity-governance-review/ or contact your usual advisor.