The UK’s first Charity Digital Code of Practice has today been launched, providing charities with practical advice on incorporating technology into their work.
The Code, which has been funded by Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation and managed by a steering group of representatives from across the sector, is voluntary and free to access for all charities.
A need for the Code was recognised following the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2017, which showed only 48 per cent of charities have full basic digital skills, and 50 per cent of charity leaders lack confidence in introducing digital change.
The Code highlights seven principles to be considered by charities wishing to develop their digital activity. These cover best practice relating to leadership, beneficiaries and other stakeholders, culture, strategy, skills, adaptability and managing risks and ethics. It also sets out how to measure success when making changes to digital.
Today’s launch follows a consultation period, which sought input from charities of all sizes and recognised a need for resources to help charities implement the advice from the code.
Over 100 charities responded to the consultation and issues around wider adoption, funding and risk were identified as the main barriers to progress.
A version of the code has now been produced for small charities alongside tailored resources to help charities with tighter budgets and less capacity to understand where they can make improvements.
The steering group said this aspect of the code has been a particular priority following the revelation in the 2018 Charity Digital Skills report that 58 per cent of charities see funding as their biggest obstacle to digital progress.
“Digital is changing the way the public behaves. For charities to stay relevant, increase the difference they can make, and protect their charity from risks, understanding and engaging with the digital world is vital,” Charity Commission director of policy, planning and communications, Sarah Atkinson said.
“The enthusiasm with which the charity sector has responded, and the willingness to use the Code and increase digital skills indicated in the responses, is very positive. As the regulator, we want to ensure charities have the information and tools they need to succeed and that’s why we are pleased to continue supporting the development of the Code.”
Charities can access The Charity Digital Code of Practice code by visiting doit.life/charity-digital-code and join the conversation about the Code by using the hashtag #CharityDigitalCode