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, or online, at a time that suits your 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 Code of Good Governance sets out the principles and practices of good governance for the committees / boards of voluntary and community organisations.  The 3rd edition of the Code which was launched in November 2021 by the Developing Governance Group (DGG) and is widely accepted as the set of standards for governance in the sector.  In order to help committees / 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.

Useful Links

Useful relevant legislation and governance links


Responding to the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

Help and advice for people and organisations who want to help following the Turkey-Syria earthquake. 

Making time for governance in the New Year

As we are nearing the end of the year it is an opportune time to start planning for 2024 and reflecting back over the year which is almost past.

Trustees' Month - November 2023

Trustees' Week is 6-10 November 2023, it is a special opportunity to recognise the valuable work of Trustees in our sector and to encourage others to volunteer on boards. This kicks off our Trustees' month in NICVA.

Charity Commission for NI Scheme of Delegation Consultation

The Department for Communities is consulting on a draft Scheme of Delegation for the Charity Commission which details decisions to be made by staff, senior management and those which are reserved for a committee of the Commissioners.

New working group to examine impact of a charity registration threshold

The Department for Communities has set up a Registration Threshold, Registration and Proportionality of Annual Reporting Working Group to commence the work on introducing a threshold for charity registration. 

Responding to the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

Help and advice for people and organisations who want to help following the Turkey-Syria earthquake. 

NICVA draft response to Charity Commission's draft strategic plan consultation

The Charity Commission’s consultation on its draft strategic plan for 2023-2026 and its engagement strategy will close for responses on 6 March at 5.00 PM (extended from the 6 February).  

Charity banking challenges

Some charities have experienced issues with either opening a bank account for their charity or maintaining their bank account.  We have been passing these issues on to the banks on your behalf via the Community Banking Project.

Department plans for a de-minimis threshold for charity registration

NICVA warmly welcomes the Minister for Communities’s decision that a de-minimis threshold for charity registration should be introduced in Northern Ireland.  

Trustees Week 2022

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

Good governance and charity regulation update seminars

The Developing Governance Group in association with the Charity Commission would like to invite you to free seminars focusing on governance and an update on charity regulation. 

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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