Research will look into governance of UK's 500 largest charities

Cass Business School and Compass Partnership have sent out a detailed questionnaire

Mike Hudson, director of the Compass Partnership,
Mike Hudson, director of the Compass Partnership,

The Cass Business School and the management consultancy the Compass Partnership are carrying out detailed research into governance practices at the UK’s 500 largest charities.

The questionnaire, which has been sent to each of the UK’s 500 largest charities by total income, will form the basis for a report on charity governance due to be published in March. It will ask how much time chairs and chief executives spend together, how much time chairs give to the role and how many other boards a charity’s chair and chief executive sit on.

It will ask about the size and diversity of trustee boards, the behaviour of trustees and the number and length of board meetings. It will also aim to establish how charities review the performance of their chief executive.

Mike Hudson, director of the Compass Partnership, said the report’s aim was to shed light on how these organisations were governed. "There is something very distinctive about the governance of Britain’s largest charities, and we want to look at them very closely," he said.

Hudson said that all charities with incomes of £15m or more were in the top 500 charities by total income, and that all charities with incomes of this level or above could take part in the research.

Charities in the top 500 wanting to take part should contact Debbie Emerson, business manager at the Compass Partnership, on

A separate piece of research by Penelope Gibbs, a programme director of the Prison Reform Trust and a fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Programme, published today, says that the failure of relationships between charity chairs and chief executives has in several cases caused serious damage to the charities they lead.

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