The VSB Foundation - Volunteer Now

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Governance Awards

Leadership and Good Governance Awards
The Leadership and Good Governance Awards, recognise voluntary organisations, which are working hard to improve their governance. The awards have been running for two years and they have become better established over time. They provide recognition for the whole board rather than one individual in line with the fact that the board is jointly liable for the governance it provides. They are organised on behalf of VSB Foundation by Volunteer Now and CO3.

Background to the Good Governance Award
The awards were established as a result of a key recommendation in the Giving Leadership, Giving Time research published in December 2015 by the VSB Foundation and Volunteer Now.
The Good Governance Awards showcase how good governance and driving social change are essentially interlinked and will provide an opportunity to celebrate what is best in the sector.
In 2017 criteria included:
1. Organisations with an income of more than £500,000 per annum and those with an income of less than £500,000 per annum
2. Registered with or having expressed the intention to register with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or previously recognised as a charity via HMRC
3. The nomination process is for the whole board and not for one particular individual as good governance is a collective responsibility

In 2016 awards were only provided for organisations with an income of below £500,000, the additional category was added for larger organisations in response to feedback from the sector.
Organisations self-nominate outlining how they have implemented the Code of Good Governance, in particular Principles One and Two.
Principle 1: An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by understanding its role and responsibilities.
Principle 2: An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by working well both as individuals and as a team.
Large organisations also include detail in their nomination form about how they meet Principle 3 of the Code:
An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by ensuring delivery of organisational purpose.
Development of the Awards
In 2016, the first year of the awards 5 groups nominated themselves. In 2017 this grew to 6 groups for the small organisation award and 14 groups for the larger organisation award.
Several short films have been produced to allow the winners to share their experiences of good governance and these have been promoted via the internet and social media.
The feedback from the attendees at the event has been extremely positive. The Charity Commission for N Ireland has supported the awards and both events have taken place at Stormont and been sponsored by MLAs.
The panel is made up of representatives from the boards of VSB Foundation, Volunteer Now and CO3. Jenny Ebbage from Edwards and Co and Conor Dolan from Finnegan Gibson has also taken part and this year we were joined by Leigh Yeaman representing Investec.
Future Plans
Both CO3 and Volunteer Now see great value in continuing with the awards. Promoting the role good governance pays in the sector has never been more important.
For 2018 the Awards will be expanded  to include a medium sized award, so it would be under £500,000k, between £500,001 – £1 million and £1 million+. This is to take on board feedback from groups who felt as medium sized organisations it was very difficult to compete with much larger and better funded organisations.
Awards will be presented at an  event in November 2018 we will consider the venue given the growth of the awards as the Long Gallery may not be sufficiently large.