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Governance: are charities up to speed?

Carol Sellwood analyses the results of Baker Tilly’s second survey of voluntary sector governance

16 April 2004

Charities are unaware of the importance of two recent developments in governance and regulation, according to a survey by accountancy firm, Baker Tilly. Many charities are ignorant of the importance of the Higgs report, which was commissioned by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and published over a year ago. In the survey of over 750 charities, more than a third did not answer a question about the report and nine per cent admitted to never having heard of it. Of those who did answer, 55 per cent said it had no influence at all. With new governance initiatives being brought into the commercial sector following the Enron scandal, these results are worrying, particularly as the report covers the independence of trustees and the composition of audit committees. However, it may reflect the absence of formal guidance for adopting the report’s guidelines as best practice for the sector. However, this excuse can not be given for the lack of interest in the Strategy Unit review of charities, ...

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