Charity Council revised Code of Governance for charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs)

Charity Council revised Code of Governance for charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs)

The Charity Council has announced a refined Code of Governance for charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs). The code will commence on 1 January 2018, taking into account the Annual Reports relating to financial years, which will take effect from next year.
The Charity Council developed the Code of Governance in 2007, to set out principles and best practices in key areas of governance and management that charities are encouraged to adopt. The first refined Code was issued in January 2011.

The Charity Council initiated the second refinement in 2015 to provide greater clarity and relevance about good governance to the charity sector. According to the Charity Council, the Code aims to strengthen the governance practices of charities in Singapore, and enable them to be more transparent and accountable.

“To support charities in their implementation process, the Council and its partnering agencies will be rolling out a series of learning initiatives and enablers. Funding will also be made available through the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund (VCF) to help charities build up their governance capabilities,” it said.
The Charity Council noted that stakeholders’ feedback is an integral part of the review of the Code, saying that four dialogue sessions were held with over 183 charities and IPCs across various sectors, followed by a four-week long public consultation.
It stated that the new guideline now requires charities to disclose the reasons for retaining Board member who has served on the Board for more than 10 consecutive years.
“The intent of this guideline is to encourage charities to practice succession planning at the board level,” it said.
It then added that other key refinements to the Code which were supported during the consultation process are:

  • Definition of charity size to be determined by “Gross Annual Receipts or Total Expenditure, whichever is higher, in each of its two immediate preceding financial years.
  • Removing the ‘Not Applicable’ option in the Governance Evaluation Checklist (GEC). The Code operates on the principle of ‘comply or explain’.
  • Waiving the GEC submission requirement for small charities that have gross annual receipts or a total expenditure of less than $50,000.
  • Elevating the disclosure of information on Board members, such as their attendance at meetings and remuneration; and information of staff total annual remuneration, among others.
  • Introducing Risk Management, to ensure that there is a process to identify, monitor and review charities’ key risks.

Mr Gerard Ee, Chairman of Charity Council, expressed his appreciation to the Code of Governance Refinement Sub-Committee and its three workgroups, charity practitioners and all stakeholders who contributed to the refinement process.
He also assured the charity sector, saying, “The Charity Council will work closely with all charities in this journey, so that we can achieve our shared vision of a well-governed charity sector in Singapore. I hope the public will continue to support the charity sector so that charities can continue their good work and help those in need.”
Members of the public who are interested in reading the full Code can visit here.

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