"A growing concern among our members is that governance in the sector is not as transparent and open as it should be," said Acevo chief executive Stephen Bubb. "The diversity on our boards is now significantly worse than in the public sector."
Rodney Brooke, chair of the General Social Care Council, the regulator for the social care workforce, will lead the inquiry. He will examine whether approaches to governance are robust, whether the regulatory framework is helping third sector groups and how Acevo members could reform governance.
Acevo has already sent a survey to all MPs and is due to canvass the opinions of every local authority chief executive.
"We are being very bold in saying this is an issue that chief executives know to be problematic, and we are looking into what we should do about it," Bubb said.
"The public and private sectors have undergone these reviews, and it is beginning to look as if we are complacent and are being left behind. There is shameful apathy in the sector on this."
However, the governance consultant Linda Laurence disagreed. "There are obviously pockets of incompetence and ignorance, but I don't recognise complacency," she said.
"Trustee boards have become increasingly aware of the need to address the quality of governance in their organisations. This review will be from the point of view of Acevo members, which does not necessarily reflect the sector as a whole."
- See Editorial, page 15.