PIP Policy Framework


Practical resources for charities and social enterprises

The PIP policy framework uses the SDGs as a baseline for adopting progressive internal policies. Social policies are included under the 'people' heading; policies relating to reach, accountability and transparency issues are included under the 'impact' heading; and, environmental policies are included under the 'planet' heading.

These generic SDG targets have been carefully selected as they are applicable to most civil society organisations.  Alternatively, you may opt to select additional and/or alternative targets, that are most suitable for your organisation.

This toolkit is best used in conjunction with our report titled 'Engaging the Volunatry Sector with the Sustainable Development Goals'.


Paying real Living Wage


SDG1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions


The real Living Wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated based on the basic things needed to have a “low but acceptable standard of living”. Employers choose to pay it on a voluntary basis and at present only 4,984 employers have signed up.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report in December 2018 highlighting that one in five of the population is now living in poverty. Furthermore, eight million people live in poverty in families where at least one person is in work – with low pay and rising cost of living trapping people in poverty. By paying a Living Wage and providing opportunities for employees, employers can help to reduce poverty levels in the UK.


Gender equality and pay gap reporting

SDG5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

SDG10.4 Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality


Employers with more than 250 employees are required by law to report on their gender pay gap, and to publish the information annually on both their website and on the government’s website. The gender pay gap is effectively the average difference between the amounts paid to men compared to the amounts paid to women.  Employers are expected to report on the following information: gender pay gap (mean and median averages); gender bonus gap (mean and median averages); proportion of men and women receiving bonuses; and, proportion of men and women in each quartile of the charity’s pay structure.

Although reporting on gender is not mandatory for charities with less than 250 employees, voluntary reporting could significantly help to reduce inequality in the work place. ACAS has published a guide which includes worked examples, of how to calculate and report the gender pay gap.

Diversity in recruitment: General

SDG10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status


Although progress is being made with regards to female representation at SMT/board level, people from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic backgrounds are still significantly underrepresented on board across the sectors. Likewise, young people below the ages of 30 are also significantly underrepresented, they make up less than 3% of trustee boards. There is also limited research that has been carried out into the representation of individuals with other protected characteristics. 


It is therefore imperative for each organisation to put measures in place to improve diversity and inclusion, and ultimately help to ensure that the sector remains open to all. Capturing diversity data enables charities to monitor different characteristics within their organisations – an important step in ensuring that representation (in terms of numbers) is taken into consideration by the HR team and/or committees. 


Our Diversity Monitoring checklist can be downloaded below. 


Diversity in recruitment: Neurodiversity

SDG10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

Neurodiversity is a fairly new term that refers to individuals with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and other spectrum neurocognitive differences. Emerging research argues that neurodivergent individuals should be seen in terms of their diversities rather than only their disabilities, and that they can thrive in employment once barriers are removed.

The Chartered Institute of Professional Development’s guide will help you learn more about the benefits of diversity and how your charity can support neurodivergent individuals to be comfortable and successful at work. Resources  to support adjustments may also be accessed via the Access to Work scheme.

Staff wellbeing: Mental Health First Aid

SDG3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a initiative that aims to encourage employers to have first aiders for both physical health and mental ill health. Stress, anxiety and depression are the main causes of sickness absence at work, according to MHFA England. In addition to this, mental ill health is responsible for 91 million working days lost every year and one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point.

Having a trained mental health first aider may help to ensure that support is available for any charity employees or volunteers experiencing mental ill health or distress.


Safeguarding and protecting people

SDG16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere

SDG16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

Trustees have a duty to safeguard the people that come into contact with the charity from abuse and mistreatment, both domestically and overseas. This includes not just beneficiaries, but also staff and volunteers. Detailed guidance is published by the Charity Commission and includes useful links to additional resources such as the Charity Governance Code; Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS); guidance for safeguarding both children and adults; as well as, how to handle and report incidents and allegations.

Charities should update and regularly review their safeguarding policy, and put appropriate controls and measures in place.


PACT with communities, beneficiaries and partners


SDG16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels


The final Civil Society Futures report (2018) highlighted the need to shift power and bridge divisions – it proposed that civil society should commit to a “shared pact”, as outlined below.

Power: consciously shifting power in big ways, sharing more decision-making and control, being a model for the rest of society and doing whatever is needed so that everyone can play a full part in the things which matter to them.

Accountability: holding ourselves accountable first and foremost to the communities and people we exist to serve, revolutionising our approach – including being more accountable to each other and to future generations.

Connection: broadening and deepening our connections with people and communities – especially when it’s hardest – for this is the heart of civil society’s purpose, bridging the frequent divides that span our society and investing in a new social infrastructure for civil society.

Trust: devoting the time and resources necessary to building trust – our core currency and foundation – earning trust by staying true to our values and standing up for them, and trusting others with vital decisions that affect them”.


SDG16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

The Trustees Annual Report is an essential document that helps to ensure that reporting practices remain transparent, and accountability to stakeholders can be discharged.  The charity sector has had multiple challenges over the years including the discourse around trust and confidence in the sector, fundraising practices and Chief Executive salaries. These concerns may be addressed in part, by charities being more open and transparent, helping to dispel any misconceptions. 


The Trustees Annual report enables charities to tell their story, in their own words. It calls for charities to openly report on both successes and failures – normalising the reporting of failures and working towards improving trust by being transparent in their practices. Our research on how to prepare a good trustees annual report may be downloaded via the link below. 


SDG13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

SDG12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse


The effects of climate change are wide spread, and it is undeniably one of the most pressing issues being faced globally.  Climate change could significantly affect the world's water systems, resulting in an increase in floods and droughts, which in turn will have an adverse impact on food supply. According to the United Nations, ‘evidence is increasing that climate change is taking the largest toll on poor and vulnerable people’.

There is still time to mobile efforts and tackle climate change; however, it will require the active engagement of governments, businesses, civil society and individuals. 


Carbon footprint guide and calculator from the Carbon Trust

Waste and recycling


Lived experience trusteeship

SDG5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

SDG10.4 Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality


More charities are considering the important contribution that individuals with first- hand experience (lived experience) of the charity’s cause can contribute at a strategic level. Due to their unique position, having been a service user of the charity, these individuals are often in a position where they can critique the strategy of the organisation, offering unique perspectives that individuals with learned experience lack. This is an important skill that can strengthen the trustee board. 


In some instances, service users face barriers that prevent them from being able to pursue leadership positions in the charity sector. Dedicated programmes may create opportunities for individuals to be supported into roles and positions where they can use their unique lived expertise to contribute towards the development of the charity’s strategy. 


Our research into the experiences of women with lived experience of the criminal justice system, serving on charity boards, can be downloaded below.