Charities Governance Code

About the 'Charities Governance Code'

The Charities Governance Code explains the minimum standards you should meet to effectively manage and control your charity.

Good governance involves putting in place systems and processes to ensure that your charity achieves its charitable objectives with integrity and is managed in an effective, efficient, accountable and transparent way.


Key dates relating to the Code2019 - was the year of learning and preparation for charities. The Charities Governance Code Toolkit provides guidance notes and templates to assist charities and charity trustees to meet all of the core standards outlined in the Code.2020 - is the first year that registered charities are expected to comply with the Code.2021 - will be the first year that registered charities are expected to report on their compliance with the Code.

Questions about the Charities Governance Code

  • What is the Charities Governance Code?

    The Charities Governance Code (PDF file) is made up of - 

    • six principles of governance, which all charities should apply,
    • core standards that we expect all charities to meet when putting the principles into action, and
    • additional standards that reflect best practice for charities with high levels of income and/or complex organisational and funding structures and/or a significant number of employees.

    We wrote the Code with volunteer-only charities and charities with a small number of paid staff in mind, as this reflects the reality of the charity sector in Ireland where these two groups make up the majority of registered charities.

    Additional governance standards have been included, which we expect more complex charities to meet.

    For these reasons, the Code is relevant for every charity operating in Ireland.

  • Who is the Code for?

    The Code is for charity trustees.  The term ‘charity trustee’ includes:

    • committee members;
    • council members;
    • board members; 
    • company directors.

    By law, charity trustees have individual and joint responsibility for what happens within their charity.  This means that if their charity does not meet its legal duties, they are responsible both as individuals and together as a board, committee, council or other core group (referred to in this Code as the ‘board’).

  • What are the six principles of the Code?

    Charity trustees are responsible for the governance of their charity and should make sure that the following governance principles are being applied.

    The charity is:


  • What are the ten steps to comply?

    Step 1

    Read the Charities Governance Code (PDF file) (the 'Code') in full.

    Step 2

    Decide if your charity is more complex for the purpose of the Code.

    Step 3

    For each standard, decide what action or actions you will take to meet that standard in your charity.

    Step 4

    State each action next to the relevant standard in the Compliance Record Form (WORD doc).

    Step 5

    If any of the standards do not apply to your charity, explain why next to that standard in the Compliance Record Form (WORD doc).

    Step 6

    Decide what evidence you can provide for the action or actions that you are taking to meet each standard that applies to your charity.

    Step 7

    State the evidence you can provide next to the relevant action in the Compliance Record Form (WORD doc).

    Step 8

    Review the Compliance Record Form (WORD doc) and agree it is accurate at a board meeting.

    Step 9

    Declare your charity’s compliance (or provide your charity’s reason for not complying) with the Code when submitting your annual report to the Charities Regulator.

    Step 10

    Having considered the standards, actions and evidence (Steps 3 to 7) again, complete a fresh Compliance Record Form (WORD doc) at a board meeting every year before reporting on compliance to the Charities Regulator.

Charities Governance Code Toolkit - Guidance Notes and Templates

Charity trustees are responsible for the governance of their charity and should make sure that the six principles of the Charities Governance Code are being applied.  In order to assist and provide practical support to charity trustees in their efforts, the Charities Regulator is committed to developing a suite of guidance documents and templates.  To download a document, click on the document title below to access it.

Download the Charities Governance Code

Download the Charities Governance Code

Download the editable Compliance Record Form (WORD doc)


If you have any queries regarding the Code please email them to and one of our team will respond.