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Charities Governance Code – Maintaining Compliance

The Charities Governance Code was first introduced in 2018 by the Charities Regulator. It aims to help charity trustees ensure that they meet the minimum standards expected of them in the management and control of their charities, and meet their legal duties under the Charities Act 2009. Reporting on compliance with the Governance Code has been a requirement since 2021 with the introduction of a declaration of compliance in the annual report. All charities are required to submit this to the Charities Regulator. We have set out some practical tips to assist charity trustees in ensuring that they maintain the standards required of them by the Governance Code.

Many charity trustees will recall the considerable time and effort which went into completing the Governance Code Compliance Record Form for the first time. They will also remember ensuring that all of the necessary policies and procedures were in place. For those who engaged with the process, this exercise will have been of huge benefit in helping the charity trustees to satisfy themselves that they have the appropriate policies in place to effectively govern their charity. Key, however, to the continued success of the Governance Code is to remember that it is an ongoing process, rather than a “one-off” exercise. Maintaining compliance with the Governance Code requires an ongoing commitment on the part of the charity trustees. However, there are several practical steps that charity trustees can take to ensure that this can be achieved as efficiently as possible. These steps are designed to, in a meaningful way, help charity trustees to more effective govern their charity.

  1. Prepare a rolling compliance schedule or calendar. It can be helpful to extract from the Charities Governance Code a simple list of the various tasks and map them out with a timeline – for example, what tasks need to be completed at every board meeting; quarterly; annually etc. Where you have policies that require board approval, have a clear list of these policies and how often they need to be reviewed.
  2. Set an annual board workplan. Setting a workplan in advance can be extremely helpful in ensuring that you do not overlook any key governance items throughout the year. Once you have a compliance calendar in place, you will find that your workplan will already be partly populated with the items identified on the compliance schedule or calendar. Where there are items to be reviewed annually, it is helpful to spread these out over the year, rather than trying to tackle them all at once.
  3. Have governance as a standing agenda item. Even if your annual workplan indicates that a particular board meeting might not have any specific governance matters to be considered, it is helpful to have governance as a standing item on board agendas. This is both to remind charity trustees that governance is one of their key functions, and to allow for any governance matters arising on an ad hoc basis throughout the year.
  4. Read the Charities Regulator’s annual Charities Governance Code Review. The Charities Regulator publishes an annual review of levels of compliance with the Charities Governance Code. Charity trustees should read these as it helpfully identifies those standards where charities are least compliant. The review also gives an indication of the approach that the Charities Regulator is taking regarding non-compliant charities. It is worth noting the very clear expectation on the part of the Charities Regulator that all charities should be compliant with the Code.


A charity’s annual report is due to be submitted to the Charities Regulator 10 months after their financial year end. For most charities this means that their annual report will be due either by the end of June, or the end of October. This gives charities plenty of time to start planning for their review of the Governance Code and implementing the suggested steps to ensure that they can do so in a structured and efficient way. Should you need help with the Charities Governance Code, we would be very happy to provide practical support and guidance.

People also ask

What is the Charities Governance Code?

The Charities Governance Code is a code issued by the Charities Regulator. It outlines the minimum standards of governance for charities in Ireland.

For more information and expert advice, please contact a member of our Charity and Not-for-Profit team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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