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


AGMs and company house filings

Companies, registered societies and credit unions that are due to hold an AGM in early 2021 will be glad to hear that they will be permitted to hold this online.

Trustees' Week 2020 was a hit with Trustees

Trustees’ Week is a time to celebrate and recognise the great work done by thousands of trustees. This year Trustees got the opportunity to brush up on their governance knowledge at our series of webinars for Trustees. 

Trustee annual reporting webinar recording

If you missed our webinar on Trustee annual reporting for Trustees' Week you can watch it now at the link below. 

The Code of Good Governance in a virtual world webinar recording

If you missed the Developing Governance Group's webinar for Trustees' Week on the Code of Good Governance in a virtual world, you can watch it now below.  

What does being a charity trustee mean? webinar recording

Sarah Finnegan, Head of Compliance and Enquiries at the Charity Commission for NI, kicked off Trustees’ Week with a webinar on What does being a charity trustee mean?

Great boards, Great Board members - Trustees' week

As part of Trustees' week 2020 we held a webinar on what makes and great board and becoming a great board member in partnership with BITC. It is part of a series of Skills Match webinars.

Charities SORP - Time for Trustees to have their say

Charities which prepare accounts on the accruals basis are legally required to apply the Charities SORP.  This SORP is in the early stages of being redeveloped and charity trustees' views are being sought.

Trustees' Week 2020

Trustees’ week is a time to recognise and value the work that thousands of Trustees do voluntarily for organisations of different sizes and purpose across the voluntary and community sector. 

Managing finances and options for sustainability in uncertain times Webinar recording

NICVA facilitated a webinar on 24 September 2020 on 'Managing finances in uncertain times and the options for sustainability.'  

The Accelerator Programme with CFNI and NICVA

Between September 2020 and May 2021, NICVA worked with The Community Foundation for NI and Department for Communities to deliver the Accelerator Programme. 


Being an effective chair
22 Sep 2021 -
16:00 to 17:30
Risk assessment made easy
28 Sep 2021 -
10:00 to 12:30
Financial reporting to the board
6 Oct 2021 -
16:00 to 18:15
Trustee responsibilities under GDPR
13 Oct 2021 -
16:00 to 17:00
Essential HR for Trustees
3 Nov 2021 -
16:00 to 17:00
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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