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Code of Governance 2020

12 November 2020

The 2020 Code of Governance is designed to help housing associations achieve the highest standards of governance and board excellence.

Organisations and their boards in all sectors should aim to achieve a set of standards in order to be well governed. This code sets out the standards that housing associations, their boards, and the wider sector should seek to attain.

The 2020 code has been completely rewritten and restructured to reflect a changing world and emerging issues within the operating environment and the sector. Now, more than ever, there is a need to protect the interests of the communities that housing associations serve, and an increasing importance to be accountable to residents.

This new 2020 code requires those adopting it to make sure that:

  • The views and needs of their residents are at the heart of their strategic decision-making, as outlined in our Together With Tenants initiative.
  • Measures are in place to ensure that residents, other customers and staff are kept safe. 
  • Boards have an oversight of risk and thoroughly test the impact of potential risk scenarios on their organisations’ future.

The code is built around the key values that good governance is based on – accountability, integrity, openness, and equality, diversity and inclusion. And at its heart are four core principles which shape the content of the code, each with a set of requirements for organisations to adopt:

  • Mission and values
  • Strategy and delivery
  • Board effectiveness
  • Control and assurance

The code is designed to cater for the diversity within the housing sector, and those adopting it should apply it in a way that fits the size, complexity and scale of their organisation. We are calling for all housing associations to adopt the code by 31 March 2021.

As the code is closely linked to our commitment to be accountable to residents and involve them in decision-making, organisations adopting the code should also adopt our Together with Tenants charter.

Additional guidance

Separate to the main code, we’ve produced a compliance checklist document and an additional guidance section, which contains key information on how to apply the code for different types and sizes of organisation. We have also produced a note relating to board member terms.

Organisations may choose to follow the guidance wholly or in part, depending on their size, type and complexity and their existing policies.

Get the Code of Governance 2020

  1. You do not need to be an NHF member to get the code but if you haven’t previously done so, you need to register on our website first. If you have any difficulty with this, please email
  2. Once you have registered on the website and logged in, click 'Buy now' and follow the instructions. The code is free and you will not be charged. 
  3. Once you have completed the process, the code will be emailed to you.

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