The Charity Commission has submitted feedback to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ consultation on its draft Charity Code of Ethics. The code aims to support charities in recognising and resolving ethical issues and conflicts.
In responding to the draft, the Commission said:
We welcome this sector-led response to recent high profile safeguarding incidents, and its broader view of ethical issues and their potential implications.
Our research Trust in Charities, 2018 highlighted the importance for charities of following ethical principles and reflecting their values in every aspect of their work. This is a key element of trustworthiness. The public rightly have high expectations of charities’ conduct and behaviour because of the importance of the work they do, their unique status and the vulnerability of some of their beneficiaries.
As recent events have shown, ensuring that charities live up to their purpose and the public’s high expectations is about more than compliance with minimum legal requirements. Changes need to be rooted in organisational culture and what is considered acceptable in terms of individual attitudes and behaviour. We welcome the statement that “all charities should proactively champion ethical behaviour and reflect their charitable ethos in every activity they undertake, going beyond legal and regulatory requirements.” Voluntary codes set by the sector should promote higher standards than regulators can expect or require.