Governance and Charity Advice

The Governance and Charity Advice team offers advice, information and practical support on a wide range of matters from charity regulations to dealing with governance issues on the board.

Information and advice

Our various governance advice notes provide detailed guidance on the most common queries that we deal with, for example, charitable status, legal structures, conflicts of interest, company administration.  We can also provide advice and guidance on your specific queries however we ask you to check our comprehensive advice notes in the first instance.

Governing document review and drafting service

We provide a service for reviewing and/or drafting governing documents, for example constitutions or memorandum and articles of association, tailored to meet your organisation’s needs. The governance team will work with you to ensure that your Objects clause sufficiently covers your current activities and that the governance arrangements are clearly laid out and reflective of what happens in practice.   Please contact the governance team for details of the charges for this service.

CCNI Helper Group for charity registration

As one of the Charity Commission’s ‘helper groups’ we can assist you with your online application for registering with the Charity Commission.  In working with a number of organisations we have found that the question that poses the greatest challenge is ‘the public benefit statement’.  We will use the Commission’s public benefit toolkit to help charities write this and would encourage all organisations to read the Commission’s helpful registration support guidance  BEFORE starting the online application.

Governance training for the board

For many boards, participating in governance training is a very important aspect of maintaining good governance.  It is an opportunity for board members to gain a better understanding of their role and that of the board as a collective. It may be a time for the board to examine how effective it is and identify areas for improvement and/or it may also be an opportunity to keep up to date with the latest in charity regulations.  Our governance team can design a bespoke session relevant to the needs of your board and deliver it in your own premises at a time that suits the board members, daytime or evening.  We also provide more general governance training which is sometimes available on the training calendar, for example, risk assessment and governance for new trustees.

Charity regulation

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland commenced compulsory registration of charities in December 2013.  We provide the sector with the most up to date information on the key changes in charity regulation.  For the latest on new charity regulations and a history of recent charity law reform in NI, please see our dedicated charity regulation webpage.

Code of Good Governance

The revised Code of Good Governance sets out the principles and practices of good governance for the boards of voluntary and community organisations.  Launched in early 2016 by the Developing Governance Group (DGG) it has been widely accepted as the set of standards for governance in the sector.  In order to help boards adhere to the principles of the Code, the DGG devised a governance health check as a self-assessment framework in which boards could assess their own governance practices.  In addition, the practical resources on the ‘diycommitteeguide’ website have been remapped to the principles of the Code.

The Code of Good Governance was first published in 2008, and after consultation with the sector is was agreed that the revised five principles were more appropriate for all sizes of organisations to work with. 

Useful Links

Useful relevant legislation and governance links


Code of Good Governance launched in Trustees' Week

The revised Code of Good Governance for the voluntary and community sector in NI was officially launched at a special seminar as part of Trustees’ Week.  If you missed this event, you can watch it now at the link below.

NICVA's response to the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill

Further to the introduction of this Bill to the Assembly in September, the Committee for Communities has launched its ‘call for evidence’ and seeks your views. The closing date has been extended to 26 November 2021. 

Trustees' Week 2021

Trustees’ Week takes place in the first week of November. It is a time to recognise and value the work that thousands of trustees contribute to charities large and small.  

Charity Commission launches new stakeholder forum to connect with charities

A new forum aimed at supporting and improving communications on issues around charity law, regulation and trends has been launched by Northern Ireland’s charity regulator.

New rules for society lotteries

Charities and other societies will be allowed to sell their lottery tickets online from the 7 September 2021.

Charities Bill introduced

The Minister for Communities introduced the Charities Bill to the Assembly on 21 June 2021.  

Supporting The Scout Foundation NI

Michelle Magee, is Office Manager at The Scout Foundation NI based in North Belfast. Here, she talks about her experience of working with NICVA.

NICVA response to the independent review of charity regulation

NICVA has prepared its response to the independent review of charity regulation.  Closing date for receipt of responses is Wednesday 12 May 2021.  

Have your say in the future of charity regulation

The closing date for responses to the independent review of charity regulation is 12 May 2021. Please take this opportunity to comment on changes that are needed to help voluntary and community organisations. 

Minister Hargey provides more opportunities for local voluntary groups and clubs to raise vital funds

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is changing legislation to enable local voluntary groups and clubs to raise vital funds by selling tickets online.


Risk assessment made easy
9 Feb 2022 -
10:00 to 12:30
Trustee Annual Reporting
25 Apr 2022 -
16:00 to 17:30
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Donna Semple

Governance and Charity Advice Officer


Denise Copeland Governance and Charity Advice Manager's picture
Donna Semple Governance and Charity Advice Officer's picture

Share your COVID-19 support service information

Organisations providing support to people and communities during the COVID-19 emergency can share their service information

> Share your support

The information that we were supplied with was most beneficial. We have since taken various steps to support Good Governance and probity, adhering to the Good Governance Guide and ensuring that the organisations operate with the governing document.

Johny Turnball, Headway