Rathbones sponsors Financial governance: a gentle guide for the non-financial charity trustee

Rathbones’ charity team is delighted to have sponsored the production of Financial governance: a gentle guide for the non-financial charity trustee, authored by Dorothy Dalton and jointly published with the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).

The guide aims to help trustees understand — in a simple and practical manner — what is expected of them when it comes to the governance of their charity’s finances. The vast majority of trustees ensure their organisations are effective and well-run, despite the many challenges they face. Trusteeship is a voluntary role. Yet the case for good governance in charities led by trustees that have a proper understanding of their role has never been clearer.

Dorothy Dalton is a leading expert on governance who has written several books on the subject. She has previously held positions as chief executive of ACEVO and editor of Governance: essential information for effective trustees and has been a trustee of many charities, including Marie Curie.

Exemplary governance has become an expectation rather than an aspiration, the rationale being that it is fundamental to effective charitable activity alongside strong leadership. Mark Goyder (Director of Tomorrow’s Company) highlighted the necessity of both aspects in organisations seeking to maximise their impact when he said: “Governance and leadership are the yin and the yang of successful organisations. If you have leadership without governance you risk tyranny, fraud and personal fiefdoms. If you have governance without leadership you risk atrophy, bureaucracy and indifference.”

Governance is a subject close to our hearts at Rathbones. We are a member of the FTSE4Good Index Series which only includes companies that demonstrate strong environmental, social and governance credentials. Separately, as a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, we are obliged to consider corporate governance in deciding whether or not we should invest in a company on behalf of our clients. In addition, around 3,000 trustees have participated in our dedicated trustee education programme over the past 10 years, our ultimate aim being to help them perform their roles more effectively.

Vicky Browning, CEO of ACEVO, noted: “This guide is designed as a first and gentle introduction to charity finances, aimed at trustees who haven’t had experience of this area before. By giving it to new or less experienced trustees and even experienced trustees who lack confidence when it comes to financial governance, you can steer them towards the areas where they should have informed oversight, and give them the confidence to know they’re asking the right questions to meet their duties.”

“The key to good financial (and any other) governance depends on the trustees understanding their role and duties… We welcome this new piece of guidance as it sets out clearly the things trustees will need to know when looking at investing their charity’s funds and is a useful addition to the resources available to the charitable sector.”

Sarah Atkinson, Director, Policy and Communications, Charity Commission

View the publication here or email zydrune.seskeviciute@rathbones.com to request a printed copy.

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