ICSA issues Board Assurance Framework guidance to improve trustee stewardship

London, 22 August 2017 – ICSA: The Governance Institute has today issued guidance on how to build a board assurance framework (BAF), a single document that pulls together all relevant data pertaining to a charity’s strategic goals, and the risks it faces. The BAF provides a framework by which the board can be assured of the veracity of data presented to it, presenting trustees with triangulated information to support management assertions that the charity is well run.

“It can be challenging for trustees to know with absolute certainty that the charity they have responsibility for is being run properly and meeting its strategic goals. Some trustees can feel disconnected from the activities of frontline staff, but compliance and oversight requires a certain amount of insight into operational matters. The quality and veracity of board information is key to enabling trustees to provide challenge and stewardship. This is where a board assurance framework can give assurance, providing evidence that decisions are being implemented and strategic aims are having the intended outcome,” says Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit) at ICSA: The Governance Institute.

The benefits of a board developing a BAF are: 

  • a clear and comprehensive overview of the charity’s risks, including the management and mitigation of those risks
  • identifying where there is insufficient assurance available and strengthening those controls
  • highlighting areas of overlap, duplication or disproportionate control mechanisms
  • flagging up where control mechanisms are ineffective or inefficient
  • focussing limited resources at those areas of greatest need
  • providing evidence to support formal governance statements.

“A BAF is a structured approach for ensuring that boards get the right information, which is accurate and relevant, at the right time and with a level of assurance attributed to each source of data. It is more than just another tool to measure and manage risks; it should be viewed as a framework by which the board can triangulate the information it receives and be assured of the veracity of data presented to it. This guidance will help boards to build their own BAF, and once in place, to assess whether it continues to be effective. Like other key board documents, it must be regularly reviewed and amended accordingly,” says Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA.

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For further information, please contact Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit):


+44 (0)20 7612 7040

+44 (0)7793 654 355



Notes to Editors:


  1. ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. We have members in all sectors and are required by our Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With over 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.
    Website: www.icsa.org.uk

  2. The guidance can be downloaded for free at www.icsa.org.uk/knowledge/charity-resources
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