Deborah Austin

Is your Board of Trustees or Governors your “Critical Friend”?

Earlier blogs have talked through the importance of a skills audit, recruitment and succession planning for the Chair.  Now consider whether your Board of Trustees or Governors are holding your Charity or School to account.

Your Board is responsible for the organisations vision and direction; implementing strategies; monitoring performance, and challenging the Managers or Senior Leadership Team.

Are your Board aware of your vision and strategies to implement this?

Do your Board have knowledge of the Charity’s aims, objectives, area of working? or the schools pupil demographic, community and staff issues?

Do your Board members know where to go to obtain external confirmation of the information they are being provided, to ensure this is being accurately reported to them?

Schools are under scrutiny from OFSTED and 3-4 years ago OFSTED started to more robustly challenge the quality of Governance in schools.  Charities have fallen under the spotlight over the last year through the Kids Company and the issues around the poor quality of Governance which may see more Charities come under scrutiny in the future.  Boards must be seen to be asking the right questions of management or senior leadership teams and must not be too trusting.

Appropriate training and support for your Board is vital and its value should not be underestimated.

Schools Governors can access external support through:

  • National Governors Association
  • Local Governors Association
  • Clerk to Governor (often supported via Local authority)
  • Local Authority Support – i.e. Coventry School Improvement Partnership
  • Private Training providers – these are quite often the trainers schools could previously access through their local authority
  • Schools network or cluster meetings

Charities can access external support through:

  • Charities Commission
  • Financial Advisors – can provide specialist in house training and support for both the finance team and Board
  • Investment Managers
  • Involvement in more than one Board with similar objectives
  • Peer to Peer training and support

To see how Dafferns can assist you with a skills audit for your Board contact Deborah Austin, Geoffrey Cox or Richard Miller.