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Scottish Governance Code for the Third Sector – Good Governance Checkup

By 1 June 2020June 2nd, 2020No Comments
Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum
Published: June 2019


This report was developed by Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum and provides a statement of best practice for good governance in all third sector organisations. The Code is designed to be aspirational rather than a legal or regulatory requirement, for trustees to reflect on and improve governance in their own organisations. The Code is split into five fundamental principles for good governance: organisational purpose, leadership, board behaviour, control, and effectiveness.


The report outlines the five key principles for good governance and lists the ways these can be demonstrated and implemented. Towards the end of the report there is space to complete action plans with regards to each of these principles, where trustees can list the areas that need to be improved, the actions required to do so, and their deadlines.

Key Findings

An organisation should be clear on its purpose and how it aims to achieve its goals. This can be done by ensuring that all decisions are informed in line with an effective governing document, and resources and assets are used appropriately. Good leadership requires a well-run board that sets the tone through behaviour, culture and performance. Board behaviour, both collectively and individually, should embrace and demonstrate mutual respect, integrity, openness and accountability. Appropriate controls, structures, and processes should be put in place to direct progress and performance, for example by regularly reviewing policies and procedures, monitoring and evaluating operational plans and budgets, overseeing contracts, and ensuring there are robust legal and financial controls in place. Finally, effectiveness can be achieved when a board works collaboratively and proactively, with a diverse and appropriate balance of skills and experience.


The report will be of use to board members of third sector sport bodies and clubs seeking guidelines for good governance. The exact details of how the five key principles are met will vary depending on the type of organisation, and it is up for board members to review and design their own action plans for achieving good governance.