What do we mean by governance?

There is no one universal definition of governance, but it is a word used to mean the management of processes for making, implementing and reviewing decisions in an organisation.

Good governance holds these qualities:

  • Accountable – the organisation is able to report, explain and be responsible for the consequences of its decisions.

  • Transparent – the ways in which the organisation operates is easy to identify and understand.

  • Compliant – it complies with internal procedures, the organisation’s constitution (as set out in its governing document such as Articles of Association or trust deed) and the relevant laws.

  • Responsive to the relevant needs of the organisation over time, making the most of limited resources in a timely and appropriate away.

  • Participatory – so that relevant people can be involved in decision making processes.

  • Predictable – so that the same situations result in the same decisions.

  • Efficient – to avoid misuse of resources.

ACE governance definitions:

“Governance means being in charge of how an organisation works and what it does”


“Governance means all the groups of people involved in the strategic direction of an organisation, working with the executive leadership and providing challenge and support, and importantly holding accountability.”

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