Governance Issue Addressed
This year the Board of Trustee’s decided to focus on communication and working effectively. This falls under Principle 5: Working effectively and our actions are probably best reflected in Core Principle 5.7: Make sure all of your trustees understand: their role as charity trustees; the charity’s governing document; and this Code.
Being a Trustee is a responsible position. A lot has changed in the governance space since many of our Trustee’s received their initial inductions. Expecting Trustee’s to understand and digest their roles and responsibilities ‘on paper’ just did not seem to be as effective as it should be. In early summer 2019, our Board of Trustee’s decided to arrange a ‘Governance Review Session’ later in the summer, where all Trustee’s would take time out to immerse themselves in what their role meant and also to take the time to understand the Constitution and how it relates to their role.
All Trustees were invited to the session. 8 out of 9 attended.
The Company Secretary and Manager of the service (who form part of the Governance Working Group) lead everyone through a session, which looked like this:
- Our Constitution & what it means for us
- Charities Drivers License – Video 1 (7 minutes)
- Charities Drivers License – Video 2 (13 minutes)
- Governance Code – Principle 1
- Charities Drivers License – Video 3 (9 minutes)
- Governance Code – Principles 2-6
- Actions & Timelines for completion of Governance Code
Breaking it down into manageable pieces meant that everyone could engage, discuss and clarify.
The Charities Drivers License is a Tool developed by The Wheel to inform Trustees about their role and responsibilities. It is interactive and contains a convenient ‘Assessment’ or ‘Quiz’ at the end where you can test your knowledge on the relevant sections that you are covering. Using the tool of the Charities Drivers License and completing these exercises as a Board of Trustees, was a worthwhile experience which promoted discussion and debate.
Impact for our Organisation
Doing this exercise as a Board had a number of impacts on the organization. It reinvigorated the Board, and gave them a clearer vision of what they want to achieve. It deepened their understanding of their roles and responsibilities. It also gave them a sense of purpose and urgency for the Code, which we are now aiming to be compliant with by 31st October 2019.
It also prompted the Trustee’s to update and revise the Constitution, which is currently underway, as they felt our listed mission could be explained in a clearer way. It also became evident that we needed to review the membership and prescribed organizations in the constitution to ensure that the organization was as representative as possible.
Whilst Governance is always on the agenda at Trustee meetings, it was a hugely important task to dedicate a whole morning to solely governance.
It was a hugely positive experience and one well worth setting aside the time to do.