Governance is high on the agenda in all sectors public, private and voluntary. As voluntary and community organisations working for public benefit, we are increasingly expected to demonstrate how well we are governed. Good governance is a vital part of how voluntary and community organisations operate and are held accountable. Other sectors have already developed Codes in recent years. Housing associations have a detailed Code prepared by the National Housing Federation. Co-operatives UK have the Corporate Governance Code of Best Practice. In the public sector, there is the new Good Governance Standard for Public Services.And the private sector has its 2004 Combined Code on Corporate Governance, which builds on the work of the Cadbury, Greenbury and Higgs Inquiries over the last decade or so. Action in our sector is overdue. This Code arises from directly expressed needs in the voluntary sector.These came from organisations which needed guidance to clarify the main principles of governance and to help them in decision-making, accountability and the work of their boards. In response to these demands, a group of voluntary sector infrastructure associations, with the Charity Commission, came together and decided to work towards developing the Code. Vitally, the Code has thus been developed by and for voluntary and community organisations. This first edition is aimed at the entire voluntary and community sector. After it has been in operation for some 18 months, we intend to carry out a major and open review of its effectiveness, so that we can refine it to better meet the sectors needs. See Appendix 10 for details of the review, and of how to comment.
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