Diversity Principle Review


The Charity Governance Code is led by a steering group with an independent chair. The last version of the Code was published in summer 2017 and, for the first time, this version contained a principle specifically addressing diversity. Since then the Code has been widely adopted and gained respect across the sector as a coherent and practical tool for governance improvement. Research has shown that using the Code improves charity governance.

As a steering group, we want to continually improve the Code to reflect evolving understanding of what is good governance and expectations of the sector’s various stakeholders. When we published the last edition the intention was to review the contents and impact of the Code at three-year intervals, to make sure that it remains current. As such we have recently consulted on how the Code can be improved and we intend to publish an updated Code in summer 2020.

We believe we need to strike a balance between continually updating the Code and potential disruption to those using it, especially as it can take some time to work through all the recommendations. For this reason, we are only proposing a ‘light refresh’ of the Code this time round. However, one of the main areas where we feel there is both a requirement and appetite for change relates to the Code’s diversity principle.

The existing Code played a part in ensuring diversity is considered as core to effective charity boards. Yet the Code’s practice is focused very much on how a board recruits, retains and monitors their own diversity and, as a framework, it focuses on how a board should be more diverse in its own composition.

In this update to the Code, the steering group is keen to explore how the diversity principle might be enhanced, for example by also including practice on how a board should embed good diversity and inclusion practice throughout the organisation such as in the design of strategy, the delivery of services, management of staff and volunteers.

The Opportunity

Following an open recruitment process the code steering group is pleased to have appointed Pari Dhillon and Chaka Bachmann to:
• Lead an engagement exercise designed to identify good practice on board diversity and inclusion
• Support the Code steering group in develop understanding on barriers
• Based on feedback and engagement exercises propose draft changes to the principle
• Advise the steering group and facilitate decisions on changes

This work is due to conclude with the revision of the diversity principle toward the end of 2020.