Revised Charity Governance Code ramps up equality, diversity and inclusion focus

The Charity Governance Code has been updated to give a greater emphasis to charities’ responsibility to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

The revised code includes a specific EDI principle and has been written following consultation with the charity sector and advice from independent EDI consultant Pari Dhillon.

Four stages of practice are recommended for charities on their “EDI journey”.

Boards are urged to:

1.Think about why equality, diversity and inclusion is important for the charity and assess the current level of understanding.

2. Set out plans and targets tailored to the charity and its starting point.

3.Monitor and measure how well the charity is doing.

4. Be transparent and publish the charity’s progress.

“Great EDI has the power to create social justice in our boardrooms, charities, sector and ultimately society,” said Dhillon

She added: “EDI practice sits at the heart of good governance, and I’d argue you can’t have one without the other.”

She urged boards to focus on equality of outcomes and ensure their membership is diverse “reflecting and centring the voices of the community and needs that the charity seeks to serve”.

According to the NCVO, BAME charity staff earn on average of 20% less than non-BAME staff, which is worse than the previous year, when the gap was 18%.

Rosie Chapman, chair of the code’s steering group, said: “These improvements to the Charity Governance Code reflect changes in society and the broader context in which charities are working.

“The updated Code is designed to help charities adopt good practice and secure better outcomes for the communities they serve.

“We know that charities are at varying stages in their efforts to fully adopt the Code, including in achieving equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the updated Code is designed to help charities on this journey.

“We’ve also heard that charities and boards would like more guidance on how to improve their approach to EDI. In response, we are asking charity umbrella and infrastructure bodies to provide more guidance and support to charities, to help them meet the recommended practice in the Code.”

The revised code also includes an update to its ‘integrity principle’ to emphasise ethics and safeguarding for all those in contact with the charity.

It asks trustees to fully understand their safeguarding responsibilities, establish appropriate safeguarding procedures and ensure that all those in contact with the charity know “how to speak up and raise concerns”.

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