A well-run board understands its role, powers and duties, and works collectively and proactively to achieve its organisational purpose.
As the board we should be self-aware and work together as a team, with a diverse and appropriate balance of skills and experience to continually improve the governance of our organisation. We will do this by:
- understanding the legal structure and governing document of our organisation and making sure we act in line with it
- setting, embedding and scrutinising the strategic direction of the organisation
- regularly reviewing our performance and the composition and skills of the board
- developing and improving our capacity and capability with on-going support and training
- having a pro-active succession plan, which is linked to the strategic direction of the organisation, following any rules for how trustees are elected and how long they serve
- having a transparent and timely trustee recruitment and induction process
- making sure our meetings enable us to explore key issues and reach well-considered collective and recorded decisions that are acted on
- ensuring that meetings are well-organised, well-informed, effectively chaired and there is active participation
- communicating with those who have a legitimate interest in the work of our organisation
Three questions to think about at your next board meeting
- How does your board know it is effective? eg how productive are your meetings?
- Does your board regularly make time to review and reflect on its work and its working relationships?
- Does the board invest in ensuring the board members are ready for their role and actively participate in governance?
How your board can demonstrate good governance
- You review the skills, knowledge and experience of the board regularly, and provide opportunities for training and development.
- You have a formal and transparent system for both the recruitment and removal of trustees in line with your governing document, and fixed terms of office for trustees.
- If you have members who nominate and elect trustees, you support the members to play an informed role in the democratic process.
- You recruit trustees beyond the usual networks to ensure diversity and make a positive effort to prevent obstacles to people becoming trustees, allocating a budget if necessary, to achieve this.
- You have a good induction process which includes meetings with other trustees, staff and volunteers, and a copy of your governing document. You provide a mentor for new board members.
- Your meetings are inclusive, a place where everyone feels it is safe to suggest, question and challenge ideas and address, rather than avoid, difficult topics.
- You discuss your board’s performance and ability to work together as a team, including individuals’ motivations and expectations about behaviour, so you can tackle ineffectiveness at both a collective and individual level.
- You involve stakeholders in shaping your work and decision making, designing services and developing strategy.
- You’re aware of changes in the external environment and how they will affect your work. You need to be adaptable and consider stopping some activities, starting others.
- You collectively seek independent, professional advice in areas such as governance, the law and finance, if needed.