What do we mean by governance?

From Our Toolkit

Governance is the way that an organisation is managed. The elements of good governance are clearly laid out in the Charity Governance Code. You don’t have to be a charity to follow this code and the principles are applicable to all organisations. The pillars of good governance are summarised in the infographic below.

Pillars of good governance infogaphic

The pillars of good governance.

If you are setting up your organisation or a group which will be managing the heritage within your organisation it is important to invest time setting up the governance which is appropriate for your situation as this will affect how you manage yourselves, how you can raise funds and generate income and who you are required to report to.

Who is responsible for governance

It is the responsibility of the governing body, whether that is a committee, working group, board of trustees or board of directors to implement good governance. We will explore what this means in this module. The expectations for those managing the governance of an organisation are laid out in the Charity Commission’s Essential Trustee graphic below. (These duties are also similar to those for a board of directors)

Jigsaw infographic outlining the main responsibilities of a trustee

The Essential Trustee jigsaw

What are the benefits of good governance?

Good governance enables organisations to:

  • Be accountable to their internal stakeholders for example their members, external stakeholders for example funders, partners and external regulatory bodies for example the Charities Commission / Companies House / CIC regulator
  • Be efficient in the way you use your resources and capacity
  • Be pro-active rather than reactive in your planning and use of resources (financial, people, equipment, collections etc)
  • Build a good reputation which will help attract and build support
  • Be more financially viable by effectively managing your money, mitigating internal and external risks, effective and efficient monitoring of your impact, and robust strategic planning
  • Make effective and better decisions as a governing body
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