Charity Governance Conference

Leading by example


View the slides from the conference

In his last public meeting as Charity Commission Chair, William Shawcross said that charities need to “live their values”. That statement seems truer than ever, certainly in the wake of the Oxfam scandal. As the pressure mounts to quickly restore public trust and with the Commission armed with a set of new powers to fine charities and punish trustees, the stakes have never been higher for the sector.

The ICSA Charity Governance Conference 2018 on 15 June looked at the role of the trustee and how boards can ensure they are providing ethical leadership and effective oversight. Topics included guidance on board behaviours, tackling the challenges around trustee diversity and insight into board evaluation techniques. Technical sessions explored issues such as financial auditing, safeguarding and managing conflicts of interest.


09.30 Registration, tea and coffee

Chair’s opening remarks

Cecile Gillard, Legal Manager, Charities and Civil Society, Burton Sweet


Trustee recruitment: challenges around diversity

It is generally accepted that diverse boards make better decisions and therefore should be better equipped to overcome challenges. However, many trustees continue to be recruited informally (I.e. through a network of friends and contacts) and as a result, there are significant issues for charity boards particularly around age and ethnic diversity. So, what can be done to improve the situation?

Ian Joseph, Managing Director, Russam GMS & Chief Executive, Trustees Unlimited


Managing conflicts of interests

Under the Charities Act, Trustees have a statutory duty to avoid conflicts of interest but working out what is, and what isn’t a conflict can be tricky. Recently the Commission has intervened in a number of situations where conflicts of interest have been identified resulting in reputational damage and the loss of key trustees. In this session, we look at how organisations can identify and manage conflicts in the real world.

Anne-Marie Piper, Senior Partner, Farrer & Co


Board evaluation

Expectations of trustee boards have increased significantly in recent years with new demands and increased liabilities. The Commission now also recommends that larger charities evaluate their own performance every year with an external evaluation every three years. Here we look at the various evaluation methods available; how they are carried out and; what they can cover.

Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit), ICSA


Networking tea and coffee break


The Trustee role: constructive tension and challenge in the boardroom

‘If everybody is thinking and behaving in the same way, it’s utterly pointless’ so said a respondent to ICSA’s Conflict and Tension in the Boardroom report. Equally, boards can be just as ineffective as those that become mired in politics and infighting. This session will give delegates the opportunity to recognise and differentiate between constructive and destructive challenge in the boardroom.

Hilary Barnard, Founder, HBMC


The role of the audit committee

Audit committees now have an increasingly wide-ranging set of responsibilities with regard to risk management, transparent and fair financial oversight and reporting. We discuss the increasing expectations made of the modern charity audit committee and consider strategies for improving their effectiveness.

Pesh Framjee, Head of Non Profits, Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP


Networking lunch


Crisis management

All organisations will face a crisis at some point in their life. Ensuring management is ready to handle a crisis is an important part of the board’s risk oversight and it’s always better to know about those gaps before a crisis hits. Directors themselves might even need to take a more active role if a crisis spins out of control. So, is your board prepared?

Robin Swinbank, Founder, The Counsel House


Back to basics: safeguarding principles

At the end of 2017 the Government issued an alert to all charities on safeguarding. This followed a number of recent reports to the Charity Commission of serious incidents involving concerns about the welfare of charity volunteers and beneficiaries. This session looks at the trustees’ role in ensuring safeguarding risks are managed properly and policies are robust and fit for purpose.

Rosie Carter, Managing Director, SAFE CIC


Closing keynote address: governance for impact

Dan Corry, Chief Executive, New Philanthropy Capital


Final remarks and close of conference

*This is a draft programme and may be subject to change.


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Media Partner

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Charity Times is the leading business and management magazine for UK non-profit professionals. Every two months it offers a wide range of in-depth, independently-written features and news analysis.

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