The group responsible for publishing the new Charity Governance Code has dropped recommendations on publishing trustee conflicts of interests and company secretaries, in response to feedback from the sector.
It has also added a section on trading subsidiaries, after being told by the Charity Law Association that oversight of trading subsidiaries was the biggest risk to many charities.
The code has also dropped a section on the legal and regulatory underpinning of its recommendations, and attempted to simplify its language to be more accessible.
Rosie Chapman, the independent chair of the steering group for the code, announced the changes at the charity governance conference at ICSA: the Governance Institute last Friday. She said she was hopeful that the code would be published on 11 July, but this date is not confirmed.
“We’ve rolled back the section on conflicts of interest,” she said. “The feedback we had was that the level of declaration we wanted might put people off from becoming a trustee. So we’ve fudged it a bit. I’ll be interested to see whether people feel we’ve been too cautious in that area.”
Chapman said that “despite my best efforts” the code no longer made any explicit reference to company secretaries.
“We’ve just talked about employing a specialist in governance support,” she said. “We had quite forceful feedback asking why we’d used the term company secretary. I personally think it’s a shame.”
She said she expected charities to struggle with a requirement to explain what was being done to address diversity. “My feeling is that will be quite a journey,” she said.
Chapman was asked whether grantmakers should make it mandatory for charities to adopt the code before they provided funding.
“There could be mileage in that,” she said. “If you want to go for a sizeable grant, you should be able to show you meet good governance standards.”