Charities have to "be good, as well as do good" if they are to retain public trust and confidence, said William Shawcross, CVO, the new Chair of the Charity Commission.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) today, he emphasised the need for independence and accountability as the two core elements of the good governance necessary to maintain the public's trust.
This was Shawcross' first speech as Chair, having taken up the position last month.
He said: "the public expects that all charities meet certain basic standards of integrity and probity. So if charities are part of the glue that holds society together, then good governance is the glue that binds charities."
Recognising charities that advance faith
Shawcross took the opportunity to reassure delegates that the Commission will continue to recognise the contribution made to British society by charities that advance faith.
He said: "The suggestion some have put forward that the Commission is seeking to overturn centuries of law and culture by questioning the charitable status of religious charities is, quite simply, wrong. One MP asked me recently if the Commission was part of a plan or even plot to secularise British society. Absolutely not, I said. I repeat that emphatically today.”
There are over 31,000 charities in England and Wales that cite religious charitable objects and many more that have a faith-based focus.