Charity Governance Code

Cochrane has signed up to the Charity Governance Code. This Code is intended for use by charities registered in England and Wales, but its principles, rationale and outcomes are universal and apply equally to all charities, whatever their size or activities. The aim of this Code is to help charities and their trustees to develop effective governance and the set up the right leadership structures.

The Code is not a legal or regulatory requirement and it draws upon the Charity Commission’s guidance. It sets the principles and recommended practice for good governance and it deliberately aspirational. The Code should be a tool for continuous improvements towards the highest standards.

There are seven principles which make up this Code. These seven principles build on the assumption that a charity is meeting its legal and regulatory responsibilities as a foundation.

  1. Organisational purpose
    The board is clear about the charity’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably.
  2. Leadership
    Every charity is led by an effective board that provides strategic leadership in line with the charity’s aims and values.
  3. Integrity
    The board acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which help achieve the organisation’s charitable purposes. The board is aware of the importance of the public’s confidence and trust in charities, and trustees undertake their duties accordingly.
  4. Decision-making, risk and control
    The board makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely and that effective delegation, control and risk assessment and management systems are set up and monitored.
  5. Board effectiveness
    The board works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions.
  6. Diversity
    The board’s approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision-making.
  7. Openness and accountability
    The board leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable. The charity is open in its work, unless there is good reason for it not to be.

If you have any questions about the Code, please contact

Charity Governance Code diagram