Charity Council seeks feedback on proposed changes to code of governance for charities

The Charity Council, chaired by Mr Gerard Ee, is asking for public feedback on proposed changes to the Code of Governance for the charity sector.
The Charity Council, chaired by Mr Gerard Ee, is asking for public feedback on proposed changes to the Code of Governance for the charity sector.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Charity Council is asking for public feedback on proposed changes to the Code of Governance for the charity sector.

The code serves as a best practices guide for charities to improve their effectiveness, transparency and public accountability. The council, chaired by social service veteran Gerard Ee, promotes good governance in the sector and advises the Commissioner of Charities on regulatory issues.

In a statement on Monday (Sept 19), the council said it started on the latest refinement to the code in August 2015, "to enhance the code's relevance and clarity, taking into consideration developments in other jurisdictions and increased global focus on good governance, transparency and accountability to enable informed giving decisions".

The key proposed changes include the introduction of a maximum term limit of 10 years, for at least two-thirds of the charity's governing board members. The importance of risk management as part of internal controls should also be emphasised, to ensure that there is a process to identify, monitor and review the charity's key risks.

The council also suggested promoting disclosure and transparency on the information of charities' board members, such as their attendance at meetings and remuneration, and information on the staff's total annual remuneration, among others.

The code was introduced in November 2007 and first refined in 2010. The latest refined code is expected to be launched early next year. Charities will need to apply the code's new reporting requirements, where applicable, for financial years beginning on or after Jan 1, 2018.

The public can send their feedback to the council from Tuesday (Sept 20) to Oct 18, to charity_council_sec@mccy.gov.sg

The consultation paper is available on www.charities.gov.sg and www.reach.gov.sg

Earlier, from May to June this year, the council held dialogues to get feedback from selected charities. In general, the participants supported the refinement process, and acknowledged that good governance is a continuous work in progress, said the council.