NCVO launches Charity Ethical Principles guidance

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21 January, 2019

NCVO is encouraging governing bodies, staff and volunteers to consider integrating its new set of Charity Ethical Principles throughout their work.

The new principles have been developed following extensive consultation with the sector.

The principles include: beneficiaries first, integrity, openness and the right to be safe.

Each of the principles in the document is accompanied by guidance on how it can be upheld, providing broad, instructive statements that charities using the code should observe.

Dame Mary Marsh, who led on drafting the principles, said: “These principles demonstrate how much we all want to live our values in everything we do and show the public that charities aim to be places where everyone meets the highest ethical standards.”

The guidance is intended as complementary to existing codes such as the Charity Governance Code, and is a voluntary framework.

NCVO has stressed that it sees the Charity Ethical Principles as a ‘living document’ and wants to continue the conversation with voluntary organisations using the principles in their work, encouraging them to email with any comment.


The development of the Charity Ethical Principles was supported by NCVO and a wider advisory group representing the sector.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said: “NCVO is pleased to have supported the development of the Charity Ethical Principles.

“I hope they will be widely used by charities in their decision making and in the development of their policies and procedures.

“This work does not end here and we are open to further development of this important guidance once organisations have started to use it as part of their decision making.”



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