About the Code

This Scottish Governance Code has been created for the third sector, by the third sector. It is a statement of best practice and has been developed by Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum following consultation with over 250 individuals and organisations.

The first Code to be produced specifically for Scotland’s third sector, it recognises the need for the sector to have its own principles of governance and sets out the core principles and key elements of good governance for the boards of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in Scotland.

The Code has been developed with reference to a broad range of other governance codes across the UK. Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum would particularly like to acknowledge the work carried out by the authors of the England and Wales Charity Governance Code and the Northern Ireland Code for Good Governance, and the permissions given to use both Codes as an initial framework for this Code.

Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum brings together individuals and organisations with knowledge and expertise in governance issues. We are a small group of people with a big ambition to improve governance in the third sector. We have worked with people from all types of third sector organisations in Scotland to produce this Code. It reflects and celebrates the wealth of good practice that exists in our sector and provides a standard for all to aspire to. Thank you to everyone who contributed – we could not have done it without you.

Good governance matters because it underpins successful organisations. It matters in all sectors, but especially in ours where the purpose is to serve our beneficiaries as best we can. A good reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. Good governance underpins our effectiveness, and is also the best way to protect and enhance the reputation of our individual organisations and our sector as a whole.

Over 250,000 trustees in Scotland are volunteers and give their time and skills on a voluntary basis to steer the work of third sector organisations. Individually as trustees and collectively as boards, they are the bastions of good governance. This Code is for them. For you.

Please use it, share it and help us promote good governance.