Introducing the code

The Code of Good Governance sets out the principles and key elements of good governance for the boards of voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland.  

What is the Code?

The Code of Good Governance sets out the principles and key elements of good governance for the boards of voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland.  

Its five key principles cover:


The Code was first launched in 2008 by the Developing Governance Group, following consultation with the voluntary and community sector which recognised the need to have its own principles of governance.  While it is not mandatory, it has been widely accepted as the set of standards for governance in the sector.  

It is intended to help and support organisations by identifying the standards to which they should be working as management committees, executive committees, boards of directors, boards of trustees or any other type of governing body.

Organisations that comply with the Code are invited to state this in their Annual Report and other relevant published material, demonstrating their commitment to good governance.

Where did it come from?

Both government and the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland have long recognised the need for a proactive approach in promoting good governance in the sector.  This Code has been adapted from the Good Governance Code adopted by the voluntary and community sector in England and Wales.  This is the second edition of the Code of Good Governance for Northern Ireland.

How can groups use the Code? 

  • Circulate copies of the Code of Good Governance to members of your management committee/board to increase awareness of the best practice standards expected.  (See below for relevant links) 
  • Benchmark your current practices against the key principles and supporting principles that form the best practice standard.  This can help to identify and prioritise areas for development or improvement.  Why not use our NEW Governance Health Check tool! 
  • Use www.diycommitteeguide.org to access further guidance and resources, structured under the principles of the Code.  Many of the member organisations of the Developing Governance Group will be able to provide practical assistance in terms of advice, training and support.
  • Subscribe to the Code.  Organisations that comply with the Code are invited to state this in their Annual Report and other relevant published material, demonstrating their commitment to good governance.

Useful resources