Registered Charities

Governance and policies

This section has information to help you develop yor charity's governance and/or address any governance issues. It will also help you create policies to agree and fulfil your charity's vision.

This can help your charity to:

What is the difference between governance and management?

What is 'governance' and how can it benefit your charity? How is it different from what you do already, and how might things be better? Here are some resources to help answer these questions and enhance your charity's governance.

Governance v Management

CommunityNet's resource kit points out when   the distinction between governance and management (PDF) becomes important and also gives tips on building good relationships between the two.

Keping it Legal has produced a useful brochure on   legal responsibilities for voluntary organisations (PDF). It explains the types of legal form that exist and the requirements in law for each one.

Governing Boards

KnowHow NonProfit delves inside governance from the Board's perspective, helping nonprofit organisations ensure they have governing bodies that are effective, accountable and equipped to handle change.

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How can we effectively manage our Board and its governance processes?

These resources outline ways to help manage relationships between the Board, managers and staff of a charity, including resolving conflict, setting agendas and maintaining good records.

Processes and meetings

The CommunityNet resource kit's governance section covers governing body processes and includes a list of key tips and a retention checklist. Also in the governance section, you will find help with managing governing body meetings.

Committee role

Sparc has developed a checklist of things to consider for your committee - such as who you'll need, their roles, and how to run successful meetings.

An effective Board

KnowHow NonProfit (UK) offer suggestions on the types of people and ways of working towards an effective Board that adds value.

Working relationships

For an overview of a Board's responsibilities towards its staff and volunteers, see the Board, staff and volunteer relationships webpage on the UK National Council for Voluntary Organisation's website.

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What are my responsibilities to the Charities Commission?

Once registered with the Charities Commission, your charity must file Annual Returns and maintain its eligibility to be registered. The Commission is also working to help build capacity within charities and the charitable sector. These links connect you with important information about registration and ongoing obligations.

Annual return

The Charities Act 2005 requires all charities registered with the Charities Commission to file a return form and a copy of your accounts.


If a new officer is appointed or your previous officer has left or become disqualified, you must initiate a notification of change.

Organisation name

To be registered under the Charities Act 2005, your charity's name must meet the requirements of the Act. If this name changes you will need to initiate a notification of change.

Balance date

Your end of financial year or balance date is important when calculating your annual return due date. If this changes it is a requirement to notify the commission by initiating a notification of change.

Rules of operation

When you apply for registration under the Charities Act, we read your rules to identify whether you have a charitable purpose. If your rules change, you are required to let us know by initiating a notification of change.

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Where can I find help to develop and refine effective policies?

As your organisation matures and grows, clearly agreed ways of operating it can help ensure things are done in the most efficient and effective way. These resources provide technical guidance and suggest processes to help you develop effective policies.

Policy development

CommunityNet's resource kit provides a   step by step guide (PDF) on developing policies including some of the risks and pitfalls.

Policy toolkit

The Conscious Governance toolkit provides many examples of conscious governance policies and tools that will assist your Board to function with conscious awareness.


KnowHow NonProfit (UK) has a set of policies and procedures that can help define, regulate and inform how you and your organisation operate.

Policy Bank

OurCommunity.com.au (Australia) is where a number of non-profit organisations have posted their human resources, governance, values, Board operations, governance and financial management policies and procedures for others to browse and use, if they wish.

Sample list of personnel policies

Here is a list of policies to consider. It is not definitive, but provides a good starting point for developing policies that reflect the nature and needs of your charity. It is hosted by USA-based Free Management Library.

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How could we make our structure work better for us?

How do you know your charity has the right structure? Is it working? How can you make it better? These resources help answer these questions and provide guidance about using good governance to strengthen your charity

Governing body

CommunityNet's resource kit outlines the roles and functions of a governing body that cover all the various models of governance.

Organisational Change

For information on how to review, change and organise the structure of your organisation, see the case studies hosted by the UK-based KnowHow NonProfit.

Governance reviews

A governance review is an opportunity to assess and improve a charity's governance arrangements. The UK's National Council for Voluntary Organisations explains the options for such a review.

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