About the Code

This Scottish Governance Code was created for the third sector, by the third sector. It is a statement of best practice and was developed by Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum in 2018 following wide ranging consultation with the sector. It was then further reviewed in 2022.

The Code sets out the key elements of good governance for the boards of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in Scotland, and was originally developed with reference to a broad range of other governance codes across the UK. Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum would particularly like to acknowledge the work carried out by the authors of the England and Wales Charity Governance Code and the Northern Ireland Code for Good Governance and the permissions given to use both Codes as an initial framework for this Code.

Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum brings together individuals and organisations with knowledge and expertise in governance issues. We are a small group of people with a big ambition to improve governance in the third sector. We have worked with people from all types of third sector organisations in Scotland to produce this Code. It reflects and celebrates the wealth of good practice that exists in our sector and provides a standard for all to aspire to. Thank you to everyone who contributed – we could not have done it without you.

Good governance matters because it underpins successful organisations. It matters in all sectors, but especially in ours where the purpose is to serve people, causes and communities as best we can. A good reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. Good governance underpins our effectiveness and is the best way to protect and enhance the reputation of our individual organisations and our sector as a whole.

This Code is for the 250,000 trustees in Scotland who give their time and skills on a voluntary basis to steer the work of third sector organisations. Please use it. Please share it. Please help promote good governance.