3. Integrity

Principle

The board acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which helps 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.

Rationale

Trustees, and the board members collectively, have ultimate responsibility for the charity’s funds and assets, including its reputation. Trustees should maintain the respect of beneficiaries, other stakeholders and the public by behaving with integrity, even where difficult or unpopular decisions are required. Not doing this risks bringing the charity and its work into disrepute.

Key outcomes

  1. The board acts in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries. The board is not unduly influenced by those who may have special interests and places the interests of the charity before any personal interest. This applies whether trustees are elected, nominated, or appointed. Collectively, the board is independent in its decision making.
  2. The board safeguards and promotes the charity’s reputation and, by extension, promotes public confidence in the wider sector.
  3. Members of the board and those working in or representing the organisation are seen to be acting with integrity, and in line with the values of the charity.

Recommended practice

  1. Maintaining the charity’s reputation
    1. Trustees adopt and adhere to a suitable code of conduct that sets out expected standards of probity and behaviour.
    2. The board considers how the charity is perceived by other people, and organisations involved with the charity and the public. It makes sure that the charity operates responsibly and ethically, in line with its own aims and values.
    3. The board ensures that the charity follows the law. It also considers adherence to non-binding rules, codes and standards, for example relevant regulatory guidance, the ‘Nolan Principles’ and other initiatives that promote confidence in charities.
  2. Identifying, dealing with and recording conflicts of interest/loyalty
    1. The board understands how real and perceived conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalty can affect a charity’s performance and reputation.
    2. Trustees disclose any actual or potential conflicts to the board and deal with these in line with the charity’s governing document, and a regularly reviewed conflicts of interest policy.
    3. Registers of interests, hospitality and gifts are kept and made available to stakeholders in line with the charity’s agreed policy on disclosure.
    4. Trustees keep their independence and tell the board if they feel influenced by any interest or may be perceived as being influenced or to having a conflict.
  1. Maintaining the charity’s reputation
    1. Trustees adopt and adhere to a suitable code of conduct that sets out expected standards.
    2. The board considers how the charity is perceived by other people, and organisations involved with the charity and the public. It makes sure that the charity operates responsibly and ethically, in line with its own aims and values.
    3. The board ensures that the charity follows the law. It also considers adherence to non-binding rules, codes and standards, for example relevant regulatory guidance, the ‘Nolan Principles’ and other initiatives that promote confidence in charities.
  2. Identifying, dealing with and recording conflicts of interest/loyalty
    1. The board understands how real and perceived conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalty can affect a charity’s performance and reputation.
    2. Trustees disclose any actual or potential conflicts to the board, and deals with these in line with the charity’s governing document and a regularly reviewed conflicts of interest policy.
    3. Registers of interests, hospitality and gifts are kept and made available to stakeholders in line with the charity’s agreed policy on disclosure.
    4. Trustees keep their independence and tell the board if they feel influenced by any interest, or may be perceived as being influenced or to having a conflict.