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More charities adopt Governance Code


Adoption of the Charity Governance Code rose by over 10% in 2020 when compared to 2019, taking the adoption rate to 55% of charities surveyed by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

RSM analysed 85 charities with incomes of over £5m to determine whether they were demonstrating behaviours and evidence of compliance with the Governance Code. 

Over half (55%) of charities had adopted the Governance Code in 2020 when compared to 44% in 2019. In addition, the number of charities reporting on diversity, equality or inclusivity increased by over 10% from 22% to 36% now publishing formal diversity statements.

Medical and healthcare charities achieved the highest adoption rate at 69%, with housing and financial support and general charities at 67% overtaking animal and environment charities (58%) and overseas aid charities (58%) when compared to 2019; while sporting and education and training charities were at a lower 33% and 27% respectively.

Of the 85 charities surveyed:

55% acknowledged the Code within their annual reports, up from 44% in 2019;27% of charities now provide high-quality statements on the Code, up from 20% in 2019;Over a third (36%) published diversity, equality or inclusivity statements; andMedical and healthcare charities maintained the highest rate of adoption at 69%.

Nick Sladden, RSM’s head of charities and the author of the report said:

“It’s great to see a marked improvement in charities adopting the Governance Code which outlines seven principals of good governance to support charities to strive for excellence in all aspects of their organisation. Being transparent and meeting high ethical standards will be key to ensuring public generosity and support.


“Having good governance in place no doubt helped medical and healthcare charities react and effectively respond to the national emergency. Whether it was private hospitals repurposing space or medical charities delivering support online. Having a strong foundation of effective governance allows charities to be more adaptable, nimble and reactive to maintain organisational purpose, even throughout a global pandemic.


“The charity sector reflects the communities in which we live so it’s great to see more organisations highlighting diversity, equality and inclusion as a key focus. Following the introduction of this as a new principal as part of the Governance Code, we expect to see more charities reporting on diversity, equality and inclusion in 2021.”

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