Diversity In Charities Autumn Report

Since the charity Kids Company was closed there has been exceptional focus on governance of charities across the UK. One of the areas that has had very little focus however has been the makeup of those responsible for the effective running of charities. This report seeks to highlight the current situation in regards to board diversity within the Third sector, comparing this with the private and public sector, and recommending a way forward. We reviewed boards of trustees in the top-500 charities registered in England and Wales according to total annualized income.

  • Over half of the charities in the top-500 had ‘all-white governance’. From the 500 charities surveyed, 287 (57.4%) had no identifiable BAME trustees whilst as many as 113 charities (22.6%) had as few as 1% to 10% BAME representation on their boards of trustees.
  • Only eight charities in the top-500 had all-BAME board of trustees. Perhaps not surprisingly, these charities each had a predominantly international focus, or primary charitable objectives aimed at supporting ethnic minority or religious groups. Domestic focused charities faired significantly worse.
  • Our findings suggest that the third sector is still lagging behind the private sector in terms of diverse governance. Out of a total of 5,988 trustees listed by the Charity Commission just 379, 6.3% of trustees were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. This compares to 8.0% of FTSE 100 company directors but was better than 3.5% of senior leaders in 500 public sector organisations.

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