Cost of living

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Governance and trusteeship

Do you share our belief that good governance in charities is fundamental to their success?

In recent years charity governance has shifted significantly. The move to remote or hybrid meetings, increased pressure on resources and the need to respond rapidly to a changing world have placed strain on previously robust and effective structures.

Charity governance has also been in the spotlight. Trustees’ approach to management, their response to the global pandemic and cost of living crisis, as well as their oversight of safeguarding practice, staff wellbeing, fundraising and executive pay, albeit in a small number of cases, have understandably been the subject of scrutiny. The case for good governance is stronger than ever.

Aspiring to good governance is about more than just navigating current challenges. A charity is best placed to achieve ambitions if it has effective governance and the right leadership structures. Skilled and committed trustees, who understand their roles and work in partnership with executive leadership, provide the right conditions for success. The right governance arrangements promote a culture where everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s vision.

The needs of your organisation

We have experience of reviewing, developing, and supporting governance arrangements in organisations right across the sector. Whatever your budget, we can tailor our support to help you drive change and implement good governance. We can help if you’re:

  • Reviewing your governance arrangements or board performance using the Charity Governance Code
  • Reviewing the composition, skills, and diversity of your trustee board to inform recruitment or training
  • Seeking training or development for your trustees and staff in relation to governance and charity law
  • Hoping to facilitate an awayday focused on relationship building, board performance, strategic objectives, or tricky decisions
  • Seeking to establish or reset ways of working with your senior staff team
  • Restructuring or reviewing delegated decisions and your subcommittee structure
  • Considering how to better involve those your charity serves in decision making
  • Undertaking reviews of individual trustees’ contribution and performance
  • Investigating complaints and/or issues related trustee conduct
  • Considering potential partnerships or mergers
  • Mediating difficult conversations

How our consultancy service can help

Independent governance review

Regular reviews provide a clear and independent evaluation of your governance arrangements, provide a pathway for improvement, and demonstrate your commitment to good governance. We typically offer reviews using the Charity Governance Code (the Code) as our framework for evaluation and utilise our specially developed Governance Wheel as our central diagnostic. These exercises range in depth and can be tailored for each organisation. We are committed to producing clear, prioritised recommendations which support the principles set out in the Code.

We can also tailor our process to adhere to sector-specific codes such as education and social housing.

Governance assessments and board appraisals

We will often support organisations with a more focused or lighter touch reviews, examining the performance of the board, a subcommittee or subsidiary entity. We can work with you and adapt our approaches to ensure we give meaningful recommendations with limited time.

Composition, skills, and diversity audits

We regularly support organisation to review the makeup of the boards or subcommittees. This can be done as part of a governance review or separately. The exercises are intended to identify what skills and experience trustees bring, and the gaps in skills and diversity on your board. We can then help you to decide where to focus recruitment, training, or paid advice.

We also know that the inequalities in society are often replicated in boards and governance structures. Auditing a board’s diversity can allows organisations to develop plans which address barriers to participation and monitor progress against diversity objectives.

Facilitated discussions

We are passionate about supporting boards to make good decisions and we know that some discussions benefit from structured external facilitation. Our skilled and experienced facilitators can help your board give focus to key issues, frame tricky questions and reflect on performance and learning. We can provide an external and independent input to help shape your discussion.

Individual trustee review

The Charity Governance Code encourages larger charities to review the contributions of individual trustees on a regular basis. We can support with facilitating this exercise, drawing out wider themes and lessons for the board and establishing personal development plans for board members.

Advice and governance development

Whether it is a new induction process for trustees, a revised scheme of delegation or a reworking of committee terms of reference, we are happy to provide extra capacity to your team in making practical changes.

Mentoring and coaching

Our consultants have experience as board members, chairs and professional governance roles. We regularly provide structured mentoring or coaching support to trustees and chairs who are new to their role or navigating challenging situations.

Independent investigations

From time-to-time charities require external and independent support with complaints or investigations. We have significant experience in providing this support and offer clear conclusions which can support good decision making.

Partnership and merger

There has been a growing interest in merger in the sector. This is in response to a combination of internal and external factors along with the impact of the global pandemic. From deciding if merger is right for you, to thinking through options for future governance arrangements we can help.

Training and board development

We are proud of our extensive programme of governance training, from eLearning for trustees to our live trustee induction and refresher, financial intelligence for trustees and supporting good governance courses.

Contact us

If you have an issue that you think we may be able to help with, please get in touch.

Complete our enquiry form or email consultancy@ncvo.org.uk.

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