Governance can be thought of as: 'the systems and processes concerned with ensuring the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an organisation'. The Code of Good Governance distills this definition into 6 key principles of good practice:

  • Understanding your role
  • Ensuring delivery of organisational purpose
  • Working effectively both as individuals and as a team
  • Exercising effective control
  • Behaving with integrity
  • Being open and accountable

Why is governance important?

Governance is high on the agenda in all sectors. As voluntary and community organisations working for public benefit, we are increasingly expected to demonstrate how well we are governed. Good governance is a vital part of how third sector organisations operate and are held accountable.

In the third sector, trustees take ultimate responsibility for the governance of their organisations. However, governance is not a role for trustees alone: it is the way trustees work with chief executives and staff, volunteers, service users, members and other stakeholders to ensure their organisation is effectively and properly run and meets the needs for which the organisation was set up.

Support through ACEVO

ACEVO is able to offer a wide range of support around ensuring your governance is fit for purpose and strong enough to see your organisation through the good and bad times. Services include:

  • CEO/Chair relationship development
  • Renewing your Board
  • Faciliated away days and Board Development
  • Dealing with a crisis: Mediation Service
  • A broad range of regularly updated publications
  • Masterclasses for CEOs and trustees

For more information on Governance support through ACEVO, contact or call 020 7014 4600.

Our Governance Helpline can assist ACEVO members who have a question regarding governance.

Access the Governance Helpline

Please note, you will need to log into ACEVO before viewing the Govenance Helpline. Members who feel their organisation's governance is in crisis can call our CEO in Crisis service. 

If you are not an ACEVO Member but would like to use our Governance Helpline, please contact