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The principles

There are seven principles which make up this Code. These seven principles build on the assumption that RAISE Gambia  is meeting its legal and regulatory responsibilities as a charity.

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1. Organisational purpose

The board of trustees is clear about RAISE Gambia’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably.

2. Leadership

The foundation of our charity is an effective board of trustees that provides strategic leadership in line with RAISE Gambia’s aims and values.

3. Integrity

The board of trustees acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which help achieve the organisation’s charitable purposes. The board of trustees is aware of the importance of the public’s confidence and trust in charities, and trustees undertake their duties accordingly.


4. Decision-making, risk and control

The board of trustees makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely and that effective delegation, control and risk assessment and management systems are set up and monitored.

5. Board of trustees’ effectiveness

The board of trustees works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions.

6. Diversity

The board of trustees’ approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision-making.

7. Openness and accountability

The board of trustees leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable. The charity is open in its work, unless there is good reason for it not to be.

 



Foundation: the trustee role and charity context

It is the Code’s starting point that all trustees:

are committed to RAISE Gambia’s cause and have joined its board of trustees because they want to help RAISE Gambia deliver its purposes most effectively for public benefit
recognise that meeting RAISE Gambia’s stated public benefit is an ongoing requirement

understand their roles and legal responsibilities, and, in particular, have read and understand:

the Charity Commission’s guidance The Essential Trustee (CC3)

RAISE Gambia’s governing document

are committed to good governance and want to contribute to RAISE Gambia’s continued improvement.




Principle 1. Organisational purpose

Principle

The board of trustees is clear about RAISE Gambia’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably.

Rationale

Charities exist to fulfil their charitable purposes. Trustees have a responsibility to understand the environment in which the charity is operating and to lead the charity in fulfilling its purposes as effectively as possible with the resources available. To do otherwise would be failing beneficiaries, funders and supporters.

The board of trustees’s core role is a focus on strategy, performance and assurance.

Key outcomes

The board of trustees has a shared understanding of and commitment to RAISE Gambia’s purposes and can articulate these clearly.

The board of trustees can demonstrate that RAISE Gambia is effective in achieving its charitable purposes and agreed outcomes.

Recommended practice
1.3 Determining organisational purpose

1.3.1  The board of trustees periodically reviews the organisation’s charitable purposes, and the external environment in which it works, to make sure that RAISE Gambia, and its purposes, stay relevant and valid.

1.3.2  The board of trustees leads the development of, and agrees, a strategy or plan that aims to achieve the organisation’s charitable purposes and is clear about the desired outputs, outcomes and impacts.

1.4 Achieving the purpose

1.4.1 All trustees can explain RAISE Gambia’s public benefit.

1.4.2 The board of trustees evaluates RAISE Gambia’s impact, outputs and outcomes on an ongoing basis.



1.5 Analysing the external environment and planning for sustainability

1.5.1  The board of trustees regularly reviews the sustainability of its income sources and their impact on achieving charitable purposes in the short, medium and longer term.

1.5.2  Trustees consider the benefits and risks of partnership working, merger or dissolution if other organisations are fulfilling similar charitable purposes more effectively and/or if RAISE Gambia’s viability is uncertain.

1.5.3  The board of trustees recognises its broader responsibilities towards communities, stakeholders, wider society and the environment, and acts on them in a manner consistent with RAISE Gambia’s purposes, values and available resources.



Principle 2. Leadership

Principle

RAISE Gambia is headed by an effective board of trustees that provides strategic leadership in line with RAISE Gambia’s aims and values.

Rationale

Strong and effective leadership helps the charity adopt an appropriate strategy for effectively delivering its aims. It also sets the tone for the charity, including its vision, values and reputation.

Key outcomes

2.1 The board of trustees, as a whole, and trustees individually, accept collective responsibility for ensuring that RAISE Gambia has a clear and relevant set of aims and an appropriate strategy for achieving them.

2.2 The board of trustees agrees RAISE Gambia’s vision, values and reputation and leads by example, requiring that anyone representing the charity reflects its values positively.

2.3 The board of trustees makes sure that RAISE Gambia’s values are reflected in all of its work, and that the ethos and culture of the organisation underpin the delivery of all activities.

Recommended practice

2.4 Leading the charity

2.4.1  The board of trustees and individual trustees take collective responsibility for its decisions.

2.4.2  The chair provides leadership to the board of trustees and takes responsibility for ensuring the board of trustees has agreed priorities, appropriate structures, processes and a productive culture and has trustees who are able to govern well and therefore add value to RAISE Gambia.

2.4.3  If the charity has staff, the board of trustees will make sure that there are proper arrangements for their appointment, supervision, support, appraisal, remuneration and, if necessary, dismissal.


2.4.4  If RAISE Gambia has volunteers, the board of trustees will make sure there are proper arrangements for their recruitment, support and supervision.

2.4.5  The board of trustees’ functions are formally recorded. There are role descriptions that define trustees’ responsibilities for all trustees that differentiate clearly between the responsibilities, those of the chair and other officer positions, and outline how these roles relate to staff or volunteers where they exist.

2.5 Leading by example

2.5.1  The board of trustees agrees the values, consistent with RAISE Gambia’s purpose, that it wishes to promote and makes sure that these values underpin all its decisions and RAISE Gambia’s activities (see also Principle 1).

2.5.2  The board of trustees recognises, respects and welcomes diverse, different and, at times, conflicting trustee views.

2.5.3  The board of trustees provides oversight and direction to RAISE Gambia and provides support and constructive challenge to the organisation and, where they exist, staff and volunteers.

2.5.4  The board of trustees supports any staff or volunteers to feel confident and able to provide the information, advice and feedback necessary to the board of trustees.

2.6 Commitment

2.6.1  All trustees give sufficient time to RAISE Gambia to carry out their responsibilities effectively. This includes preparing for meetings and sitting on board of trustees’ committees and other governance bodies if / where needed. The expected time commitment is made clear to trustees before nomination or appointment and again on acceptance of nomination or appointment.

2.6.2  Where individual board of trustees members are also involved in operational activities, for example as volunteers, they are clear about the capacity in which they are acting at any given time and understand what they are and are not authorised to do and to whom they report.



Principle 3. Integrity

Principle

The board of trustees acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which helps achieve RAISE Gambia’s charitable purposes. The board of trustees is aware of the importance of the public’s confidence and trust in charities and trustees undertake their duties accordingly.

Rationale

Trustees, and the board of trustee members collectively, have ultimate responsibility for RAISE Gambia’s funds and assets, including its reputation. Trustees should maintain the respect of beneficiaries, other stakeholders and the public by behaving with integrity, even where difficult or unpopular decisions are required. Not doing this risks bringing RAISE Gambia and its work into disrepute.

Key outcomes

3.1 The board of trustees acts in the best interests of RAISE Gambia and its beneficiaries. The board of trustees is not unduly influenced by those who may have special interests and places the interests of RAISE Gambia before any personal interest.  Collectively, the board of trustees is independent in its decision making.

3.2 The board of trustees safeguards and promotes RAISE Gambia’s reputation and, by extension, promotes public confidence in the wider sector.

3.3 Members of the board of trustees and those working in or representing the organisation are seen to be acting with integrity and in line with the values of the charity.

Recommended practice


3.4 Maintaining RAISE Gambia’s reputation

3.4.1  Trustees adopt and adhere to a suitable code of conduct that sets out expected standards.

3.4.2  The board of trustees considers how RAISE Gambia is perceived by other people, and organisations involved with the charity and the public. It makes sure


that RAISE Gambia operates responsibly and ethically, in line with its own aims and values.

3.4.3 The board of trustees ensures that RAISE Gambia follows the law. It also considers adherence to non-binding rules, codes and standards, for example relevant regulatory guidance, the ‘Nolan Principles’ (Committee on Standards in Public Life 1995) and other initiatives that promote confidence in charities.

3.5 Identifying, dealing with and recording conflicts of interest/loyalty

3.5.1  The board of trustees understands how real and perceived conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalty can affect a charity’s performance and reputation.

3.5.2  Trustees disclose any actual or potential conflicts to the board of trustees, and deals with these in line with RAISE Gambia’s governing document and a regularly reviewed conflicts of interest policy.

3.5.3  Registers of interests, hospitality and gifts are kept and made available to stakeholders in line with RAISE Gambia’s agreed policy on disclosure (see Conflict of interest policy).

3.5.4  Trustees keep their independence and tell the board of trustees if they feel influenced by any interest, or may be perceived as being influenced or to having a conflict.



Principle 4. Decision making, risk and control

Principle

The board of trustees makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely, and that effective delegation, control and risk-assessment, and management systems are set up and monitored.

Rationale

The board of trustees is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of RAISE Gambia but it cannot and should not do everything. The board of trustees may be required by statute or RAISE Gambia’s governing document to make certain decisions but, beyond this, it needs to decide which other matters it will make decisions about and which it can and will delegate.

Trustees delegate authority but not ultimate responsibility, so the board of trustees needs to implement suitable financial and related controls and reporting arrangements to make sure it oversees these delegated matters. Trustees must also identify and assess risks and opportunities for the organisation and decide how best to deal with them, including assessing whether they are manageable or worth taking.

Key outcomes

4.1 The board of trustees is clear that its main focus is on strategy, performance and assurance, rather than operational matters, and reflects this in what it delegates.

4.2 The board of trustees has a sound decision-making and monitoring framework which helps the organisation deliver its charitable purposes. It is aware of the range of financial and non-financial risks it needs to monitor and manage.

4.3 The board of trustees promotes a culture of sound management of resources but also understands that being over-cautious and risk averse can itself be a risk and hinder innovation.

4.4 Where aspects of the board of trustees’ role are delegated to committees, staff, volunteers or contractors, the board of trustees keeps responsibility and oversight.


Recommended practice

4.5 Delegation and control

4.5.1  The board of trustees regularly reviews which matters are reserved to the board of trustees and which can be delegated. It collectively exercises the powers of delegation to committees or individual trustees, or staff and volunteers if the charity has them.

4.5.2  The board of trustees describes its ‘delegations’ framework in a document which provides sufficient detail and clear boundaries that the delegations can be clearly understood and carried out.

4.5.3  The board of trustees makes sure that its committees have suitable terms of reference and membership and that:

the terms of reference are reviewed regularly

the committee membership is refreshed regularly and does not rely too much on particular people

committee members recognise that the board of trustees has ultimate responsibility.

4.5.4  Where RAISE Gambia uses third party suppliers or services – for example for local delivery partners, data management or other purposes – the board of trustees assures itself that this work is carried out in the interests of RAISE Gambia and in line with its values and the agreement between the charity and supplier. The board of trustees makes sure that such agreements are regularly reviewed to make sure they are still appropriate.

4.5.5  The board of trustees regularly checks RAISE Gambia’s key policies and procedures to ensure make sure that they still support, and are adequate for, the delivery of RAISE Gambia’s aims. This includes: policies and procedures dealing with board of trustees’ strategies, functions and responsibilities, finances (including reserves), service or quality standards; where needed, good employment practices and encouraging and using volunteers; key areas of activity such as fundraising and data protection.

4.6 Managing and monitoring organisational performance

4.6.1  The board of trustees makes sure that operational plans and budgets are in line with RAISE Gambia’s purposes, strategic aims and resources.

4.6.2  The board of trustees regularly monitors performance using a consistent framework and checks performance against RAISE Gambia’s strategic aims, operational plans and budgets.


4.6.3  The board of trustees agrees what information is needed to assess delivery against agreed plans, outcomes and timescales. Trustees share timely, relevant and accurate information in an easy to understand format.

4.6.4 The board of trustees regularly considers information from other similar organisations to compare or benchmark the RAISE Gambia’s performance.

4.7 Actively managing risks

4.7.1  The board of trustees retains overall responsibility for risk management and discusses and decides the level of risk it is prepared to accept for specific and combined risks.

4.7.2  The board of trustees regularly reviews RAISE Gambia’s specific significant risks and the effect of these risks added together. It makes plans to mitigate and manage these risks appropriately. Trustees consider risk that relates to their situation and where they work.

4.7.3  The board of trustees puts in place and regularly checks RAISE Gambia’s process for identifying, prioritising, escalating and managing risks and, where applicable, RAISE Gambia’s system of internal controls to manage these risks. The board of trustees reviews the effectiveness of RAISE Gambia’s approach to risk at least every year. The board of trustees describes RAISE Gambia’s approach to risk in its annual report and in line with regulatory requirements.

4.8 Appointing external examiners or auditors

4.8.1 The board of trustees agrees and oversees an effective process for appointing and reviewing its external examiners if they are required.



Principle 5. Board of trustees effectiveness

Principle

The board of trustees works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions.

Rationale

The board of trustees has a key impact on whether a charity thrives. The tone the board of trustees sets through its leadership, behaviour, culture and overall performance is critical to RAISE Gambia’s success. It is important to have a rigorous approach to trustee recruitment, performance and development, and to the board of trustees’ conduct. In an effective team, board of trustee members feel it is safe to suggest, question and challenge ideas and address, rather than avoid, difficult topics.

Key outcomes
5.1 The board of trustees’ culture, behaviours and processes help it to be effective; this includes accepting and resolving challenges or different views.

5.2 All trustees have appropriate skills and knowledge of RAISE Gambia and can give enough time to be effective in their role.

5.3 The chair enables the board of trustees to work as an effective team by developing strong working relationships between members of the board of trustees and creates a culture where differences are aired and resolved.

5.4 The board of trustees takes decisions collectively and confidently. Once decisions are made, the board of trustees unites behind them and accepts them as binding.

Recommended practice

5.5 Working as an effective team

5.5.1  The board of trustees meets as often as it needs to be effective.

5.5.2  The chair, working with board of trustees members and where they exist staff, plans the board of trustees’ work and meetings, making sure trustees have the information, time and space they need to explore key issues and reach well-considered decisions.

5.5.3  The board of trustees regularly discusses its effectiveness and its ability to work together as a team, including individuals’ motivations and expectations about


behaviours. Trustees take time to understand each other’s motivations to build trust within the board of trustees and the chair asks for feedback on how to foster an environment where trustees can constructively challenge each other.

5.5.4  Where significant differences of opinion arise, trustees take time to consider the range of perspectives and outcomes, respecting all viewpoints and the value of compromise in board of trustees discussions.

5.5.5  The board of trustees collectively can get independent, professional advice in areas such as governance, the law and finance. This is either on a pro-bono basis or at RAISE Gambia’s expense if needed for the board of trustees to discharge its duties.

5.6 Reviewing the board of trustees’ composition

5.6.1  The board of trustees has, and regularly considers, the skills, knowledge and experience it needs to govern, lead and deliver RAISE Gambia’s purposes effectively. It reflects this mix in its trustee appointments, balancing the need for continuity with the need to refresh the board of trustees.

5.6.2  The board of trustees is big enough that the needs of RAISE Gambia’s work can be carried out and changes to the board of trustees’ composition can be managed without too much disruption. A board of trustees of at least five but no more than twelve trustees is aimed for.

5.7 Overseeing appointments

5.7.1  There is a formal, rigorous and transparent procedure to appoint new trustees to the board of trustees.

5.7.2  The search for new trustees is carried out, and appointments or nominations for election are made, on merit, against objective criteria and considering the benefits of diversity. The board of trustees regularly looks at what skills it has and needs, and this affects how new trustees are found.

5.7.3  Trustees are appointed for three years, subject to any applicable constitutional or statutory provisions relating to election and re-election. If a trustee has served for more than nine years, their reappointment is

subject to a particularly rigorous review and takes into account the need for progressive refreshing of the board of trustees

explained in the trustees’ annual report.




5.8 Developing the board of trustees

5.8.1  Trustees receive an appropriately resourced induction when they join the board of trustees that includes meetings with other members and staff (if the charity has staff, and by Skype if in The Gambia) and covers all areas of RAISE Gambia’s work.

5.8.2  The board of trustees reviews its own performance, including that of the chair. These reviews might consider the board of trustees balance of skills, experience and knowledge, its diversity, how the board of trustees works together and other factors that affect its effectiveness.

5.8.3  Trustees can explain how they check their own performance.



Principle 6. Diversity

Principle

The board of trustees approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision making.

Rationale

Diversity, in the widest sense, is essential for board of trustees to stay informed and responsive and to navigate the fast-paced and complex changes facing the voluntary sector. Board of trustees whose trustees have different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions.

The term ‘diversity’ includes the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 as well as different backgrounds, life experiences, career paths and diversity of thought. Board of trustees should try to recruit people who think in different ways, as well as those who have different backgrounds.

Key outcomes
6.1 The board of trustees is more effective if it includes a variety of perspectives, experiences and skills.

6.2 The board of trustees ensures that RAISE Gambia follows principles of equality and diversity, going beyond the legal minimum where appropriate.

Recommended practice
6.3 Encouraging inclusive and accessible participation

6.3.1  The board of trustees periodically takes part in training and/or reflection about diversity and understands its responsibilities in this area.

6.3.2  The board of trustees makes a positive effort to remove, reduce or prevent obstacles to people being trustees, allocating budgets, where necessary, to achieve this within RAISE Gambia’s available resources. This includes looking at

the time, location and frequency of meetings

how papers and information are presented to the board of trustees, for example using digital technology

paying reasonable expenses

where and how trustee vacancies are publicised and the recruitment process.


6.3.3 The chair regularly asks for feedback on how meetings can be made more accessible and how to create an environment where trustees can constructively challenge each other and all voices are equally heard.

6.4 Recruiting diverse trustees

6.4.1  The board of trustees regularly looks at the skills, experience and diversity of background of its members to find imbalances and gaps, informing trustee recruitment and training.

6.4.2  The board of trustees sees diversity, in all its forms, as an important part of its regular board of trustees reviews. The board of trustees recognises the value of a diverse board of trustees and has suitable diversity objectives.

6.4.3  When deciding how to recruit trustees, the board of trustees thinks about how to attract a diverse pool of candidates. It tries to have diversity in any trustee appointment panels.

6.5 Monitoring and reporting on diversity


6.5.1 Trustees ensure that there are plans in place to monitor and achieve the board of trustees’ diversity objectives.

6.5.2 The board of trustees publishes a description of what steps it has taken to address the diversity and accessibility of the board of trustees.



Principle 7. Openness and accountability

Principle

The board of trustees leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable. RAISE Gambia is open in its work, unless there is good reason for it not to be.

Rationale

The public’s trust that a charity is delivering public benefit is fundamental to its reputation and success, and by extension, the success of the wider sector. Making accountability real, through genuine and open two-way communication that celebrates successes and demonstrates willingness to learn from mistakes, helps to build this trust and confidence and earn legitimacy.

Key outcomes
7.1 The organisation’s work and impact are appreciated by all its stakeholders.

7.2 Trustees ensures that RAISE Gambia’s performance and interaction with its stakeholders are guided by the values, ethics and culture put in place by the board of trustees. Trustees make sure that RAISE Gambia collaborates with stakeholders to promote ethical conduct.

7.3 RAISE Gambia takes seriously its responsibility for building public trust and confidence in its work.

7.4 RAISE Gambia is seen to have legitimacy in representing its beneficiaries and stakeholders.


Recommended practice
7.5 Communicating and consulting effectively with stakeholders

7.5.1  The board of trustees identifies the key stakeholders with an interest in RAISE Gambia’s work. These include beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, donors, suppliers, local communities and others.

7.5.2  The board of trustees makes sure that there is a strategy for regular and effective communication with these stakeholders about RAISE Gambia’s purposes, values, work and achievements, including information that enables them to measure RAISE Gambia’s success in achieving its purposes.



7.5.3  As part of this strategy, the board of trustees thinks about how to communicate how RAISE Gambia is governed, who the trustees are and the decisions they make.

7.5.4  The board of trustees ensures that stakeholders have an opportunity to hold the board of trustees to account through agreed processes and routes, for example question and answer sessions.

7.5.5  The board of trustees makes sure it speaks to stakeholders about significant changes to RAISE Gambia’s services or policies.

7.6 Developing a culture of openness within RAISE Gambia  

7.6.1  The board of trustees gets regular reports on the positive and negative feedback and complaints given to RAISE Gambia. It demonstrates that it learns from mistakes and uses this learning to improve performance and internal decision making.

7.6.2  The board of trustees makes sure that there is a transparent, well-publicised effective, and timely process for making and handling a complaint, and that any internal or external complaints are handled constructively, impartially and effectively.

7.6.3  The board of trustees keeps a register of interests for trustees and agrees an approach for how these are communicated publicly in line with Principle 3.

7.6.4  When RAISE Gambia has staff, the trustees will agree how to set their remuneration, and they will publish their approach