Ethics in the Charity Sector

Publication type: Other
21 June 2018

Tags: Code of Ethics

What are the key ethical issues for charities and what are the ethical requirements on them? This Research Report answers these questions and promotes the belief that all charities should ensure that they have their own code of ethics.


Charities have been rocked by major scandals in 2018. This Research Report focuses on the impact of these scandals on the sector and the ethical issues that charities must now address. Although it concentrates on UK-based charities as a whole, the issues raised are applicable to charities everywhere. This briefing will be of use to charity trustees and those with an interest in or responsibility for governance and ethical management.

It promotes the belief that all charities – large or small, domestic or international – should ensure that, as a starting point, they have their own code of ethics, which they then support with policies, processes and an ethics programme.

It includes an overview of the key issues for charties, including:

  • safeguarding
  • bullying and harassment
  • transparency
  • referencing schemes
  • speaking up, and
  • executive remuneration

It also highlights the ethical requirements on charities and the importance of leadership.