NCVO (the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) has been developing a set of principles that can act as a ‘code of ethics’ for the charity sector and is now consulting on a draft code.

You can read the draft code of ethics here.


Recent concerns about safeguarding and wider conduct at work are, rightly, a major priority for charities, government, and regulators. At summits held by the Charity Commission and the Department for International Development, charities, sector bodies, the regulator and government agreed to put new mechanisms in place to strengthen safeguarding, workplace practices and culture, and prevent incidents wherever possible.

What the code of ethics is for

NCVO hopes the code will provide a framework for charities to review their own policies and practice. They can then identify where these need to change in line with their own purpose and specific values.

The proposed code would apply to:

  • safeguarding
  • conduct within charities
  • safe employment practices
  • dignity in the workplace
  • treating all individuals with respect.

Adoption and endorsement of the code will be voluntary.

Why NCVO is doing this

Many charities have their own codes of behaviour, but they’re usually specific to their circumstances and focus on particular issues (such as working with children, or vulnerable adults). There is no overarching set of principles that reflects the values shared across the charity sector.

Read more on the NCVO website


NCVO champions the voluntary sector and volunteering by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations.