Guidance on improving charity boardroom behaviours

The Chartered Governance Institute released of guidance aimed at improving behaviours in charity boardrooms. Based around the Charity Governance Code’s seven principles of good governance, the guidance translates these principles into suggested boardroom behaviours for trustees, chairs, chief executive officers (CEOs) and governance professionals.

Introducing the guidance Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit) at The Chartered Governance Institute said:

“Good governance is about more than just having the right policies, procedures and protocols in place. If the people responsible for leading the charity are ignorant of them, or unable or unwilling to adhere to them, governance falls down. This is why boardroom behaviours and the ethical practices, values and culture of the charity are of equal importance. This guidance provides examples of positive behaviours that should help trustees to make constructive challenge and good decisions that further the charitable objects and lead to positive changes.”

The boardroom behaviours attributed to the seven principles of good governance have been broken down as follows for trustees:

  • Principle 1 – Organisational purpose: committed to the cause; clarity of focus (understanding their role and purpose); being strategic
  • Principle 2 – Leadership: leads by example; can operate as part of the team
  • Principle 3 – Integrity: integrity; independent thinking; ethical
  • Principle 4 – Decision making, risk and control: probing but not controlling; risk aware, not risk averse
  • Principle 5 – Board effectiveness: self-aware; creative, innovative; keen to learn and improve
  • Principle 6 – Diversity: open-minded; courageous
  • Principle 7 – Openness and accountability: listens; inspires trust; accepts responsibility and accountability.

Each boardroom behaviour is then broken down into examples of behaviour for effective trustees, chairs, CEOs and governance professionals. Finally each principle has been assigned key questions for the board and individual trustees so that they can assess whether or not they are meeting the principles effectively in terms of appropriate behaviour.

Louise concluded:

“Good and professional behaviour is critical to board effectiveness. Getting the right boardroom behaviours is more complex than writing and implementing guidelines, however. The recruitment process and the role of the chair are integral to help develop, and maintain, a team that demonstrates the appropriate boardroom behaviours. This guidance should help to focus the mind so that trustees are asking the appropriate questions of themselves and the charity they respresent.”            

- Ends -


For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager:

+44 (0)20 7612 7072

+44 (0)7890 649 143


Notes to Editors:

1      The Chartered 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.

2      The guidance can be downloaded for free at

Search CGI