It Is Time to Implement The Governance Code For Your Non-profit

Has your board committed to adopting the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations? If not, now is the time, says Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, Chair of the Governance Code’s Working Group.

Charities were, up to very recently, one of the few remaining pillars of Irish society in which the public’s trust had not been crushed by repeated damning failures. Our trust and confidence in the banks, the Catholic Church, the political system and various organs of State, have been eroded by a series of scandals arising from poor controls, arrogance and lack a character.

The recent controversy in the CRC demonstrates all too painfully that we, in the charities sector, are not immune to the harmful damage that a major failure in corporate governance would have for our organisations and our sector. The development and adherence to good governance principles is a collective responsibility of the board, the CEO and the management team. Other stakeholders such as funders and regulators have a certain role and responsibility, but ultimately, and ethically, the prime responsibility rests with the organisation itself.

Corporate governance is about the methods and processes we put in place to provide for the proper guidance and oversight of management. It is the systems that set out what we want the management of the organisation to do, the rules or policies they need to adhere to and how they need to account for the deployment and use of the organisation’s resources. It is about how the organisation is directed and controlled. How decisions are made and how the organisation reports on the impact of those decisions. It is critical to the effectiveness of the organisation and those involved in it.

Implementing and complying with the Governance Code (www. is a very useful tool for putting these issues on the table on an objective basis. Good governance is a continuing journey where you constantly aim to apply good practice principles and check regularly on how you are doing. It is not a tick box exercise or about producing big binders of policies and controls that nobody pays attention to. It is about leadership, compliance, accountability, transparency, effectiveness, honesty and fairness. It is about seeking to do the right thing at all times.

Has your board decided yet to adopt and comply with the Governance Code to protect the good name of your organisation?

This piece was originally written for the Spring edition 2014 of Be The Change magazine.

Written on 7 Nov, 2014

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