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


The Accelerator Programme with CFNI and NICVA

NICVA is delighted to be working with The Community Foundation for NI and DfC to deliver the Accelerator Programme, to improve the skills and confidence of people in our sector and strengthen organisations at this critical time.

Charity Annual Reporting Requirements Guidance

The Department for Communities has tasked NICVA to help charities who may be experiencing difficulty completing their annual monitoring return or struggling with compiling and uploading their required reports and accounts.

Financial Planning Webinar - with Rosemary Gallagher

NICVA facilitated a webinar on 3 July 2020 on Finanical Planning.    Thanks to Rosemary Peters Gallagher OBE (Moore NI LLP) for delivering the session

Charity register in NI

Due to the legal consequences of the legal judgement against the CCNI, charities on the Register of Charities are no longer registered charities, but they are still charities in law.

Effective online trustee meetings webinar recording

If you missed our webinar on 'Effective trustee meetings online'  you can watch it now via the link below.

Volunteers' Week 2020

Volunteers’ Week UK 1 – 7 June recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.  

Managing finance in difficult times webinar

If you missed our recent webinar on 'Managing finance in difficult times' delivered by Tony Clarke from Clarke & Co Accountants Ltd, you can watch it now via the link below. 

Wrongful trading provisions to be temporarily suspended for UK companies

Charitable companies and their trading subsidiaries will be relieved to hear that the government is planning to temporarily suspend wrongful trading provisions retrospectively from 1 March 2020 until 30 June. 

Is your organisation carrying out different activities as a result of the coronavirus?

Many voluntary organisations are helping out with the impact of the coronavirus but are they restricted by their own governing document from doing so? 

Companies House - extension for filing accounts

Registered companies will be able to apply to Companies House for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts to help them deal with the impact of Covid-19


61 Duncairn Gardens
Co Antrim
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Donna Semple

Governance and Charity Advice Officer


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Michele Crilly Governance and Charity Advice Officer's picture

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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