Governance and trusteeship

  • Is your board providing purpose, clarity and vision?
  • Are trustees adding value and using their time effectively?
  • Do board meetings feel all talk and no action?
  • Is there a clear sense of areas for development in the organisations governance?
  • Is there clarity over the role of the CEO and the role of the board?

In the last two years charity governance has been firmly in the spotlight. Trustees’ approach to management, as well as their oversight of fundraising and excessive executive pay, albeit in a small number of cases, have been the subject of scrutiny and negative coverage in the media.

Given this backdrop, the case for good governance – charities led by trustees with a clear understanding of their role, appropriate skills and ability to deliver on their organisation’s purpose – has never been stronger.

How NCVO can help

Our governance work focuses on both defining what effective governance in the voluntary sector looks like and in supporting trustees to implement these standards.

NCVO has an experienced governance consultancy team who benefit from the support of our policy and research departments. Our team have undertaken reviews and training for a wide range of clients, including major household name charities and small local community groups.

We have also been central in the development of the Charity Governance Code which creates a set of guiding principles applicable and scalable to any size organisation. We use the code to provide a robust basis for all of our governance work and to provide our clients with a meaningful and recognised framework for development.

Governance reviews and health checks

At NCVO our governance consultancy team can offer a range governance review exercises bespoke to your needs and specific context.

Full reviewStreamlined reviewHealth check
  • Comprehensive option.
  • Robust and in-depth review.
  • Consists of board surveys, interviews, observations, document reviews.
  • Culminates in a report, facilitated away day and an improvement strategy.
  • Streamlined to the minimum necessary to conduct a meaningful review.
  • Consists of rigorous analysis of your current governance arrangements.
  • Culminates in a report and suggestions on how to create an improvement.
  • Simplest option.
  • Health check approach with a future focus rather than a review.
  • Identifies key areas of development for your board.


The NCVO Governance WheelThe Governance Wheel scores on understanding board role, delivery of purpose, board effectiveness, board in control, board integrity, open and accountable board, trustee engagement and external leadership.

Building on the Charity Governance Code, we have created the Governance Wheel – our central diagnostic, development and evaluative tool. The Governance Wheel provides a clear framework for boards to stay in effective and demonstrable control to achieve your charitable purpose. We regularly use the Wheel to support governance reviews.

Training and workshops

NCVO runs a variety of governance training, for beginners to experienced board members.

  • Trustee induction and refresher. 
  • Developing high performance.
  • Supporting effective governance.
  • Understanding the numbers for trustees.

Training is available in-house or at regular intervals throughout the yearat our offices in Kings Cross. Take a look at our events listing for more details.

They can be adapted for inclusion in a facilitated away day or we can develop a fully bespoke package in consultation with you.

We also have a range of short online courses available on Studyzone, our online training platform, which are free for NCVO members.

Individual and team development

NCVO’s governance coaches work with chairs and other organisational leaders through focused learning to achieve rapid improvement and sustainable effectiveness in their position. Our coaching targets high performance usually focusing on specific skills, knowledge and goals.

There is significant evidence to suggest that developing openness, trust and an effective team is a central component of effective governance. Our team building uses workshops and analytical tools to develop shared goals and to implement effective governance processes. We work with trustees and staff to identify complementary strengths and leadership styles to get the best out of the governance team for your organisation and your beneficiaries.

Contact us

If you have an issue that you think we may be able to help with, please get in touch.

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