Developing a governance planning framework

20 Jun 2019 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 23 Jan 2020

Creating a governance calendar is a very practical and effective way for organisations to develop their own planning framework to help them identify their key governance events and requirements throughout the course of a year.
File NICVA's Governance Calendar for 202019.46 KB

A good place to start is the AGM, as this is the time when the Trustee Annual Report (Director’s report) and annual accounts are presented to the members/stakeholders.  It is usually also the time when trustees start or end their governance journey with an organisation.  If all these activities are to happen successfully, then careful planning needs to take place. 

Create a Governance Calendar

If you estimate a date for your AGM, based on allowing enough time for the accounts to be independently examined/audited after the financial year end, then include board meetings, sub-committee meetings, deadline for charity register and company register. 

Then build in your key activities that need to happen throughout the course of the year and who will carry them out, for example which board meeting  will approve  the budget, the management accounts, the trustees annual report, and consider succession planning, time for audit/independent examination, notice of AGM, new trustees signed up with regulator(s).   

Consult your governing document

Your constitution, trust deed or articles of association usually sets out the governance arrangements for the organisation, for example, the term of office for trustees, who is eligible to be a trustee, how and when they can be appointed or elected, the notice period for general meetings and quorums for meetings.   If your governance arrangements are out of step with your governing document then you need to either comply with it or make arrangements to alter it.  NICVA's governance and charity advice team can advise you on this.  

Get started

The simple table below can be used to help you plan, simply add in the key governance events to the relevant months and add a specific date if possible.  The attached pdf shows a more detailed example of how NICVA’s completed governance calendar for 2020 looks like.

Add the relevant key governance events from the section on the right into the column below, as demonstrated by the example for the Financial Year End on the 31 March.   

[insert date]Governance event/activity
  • Board meeting
  • Sub-committee meeting
  • Financial year end
  • Agree annual budget
  • Set date for AGM
  • Succession planning
  • Draft annual accounts presented to the board
  • Send accounts and minutes to examiner / Auditor
  • Trustees sign off accounts and TAR
  • Send notice of AGM
  • Nomination forms
  • AGM
  • Sign up new trustees with regulators
  • Submit accounts/reports/AMR to charity commission
  • Submit annual accounts to Companies House
  • Submit Confirmation Statement to Companies House
  • Induction for trustees
  • Strategic planning
  • Arrange insurance
  • Board review
  • Update register of members
  • Update register of directors
31 MarchFinancial year end


Further information's picture
by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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