A well-run board will develop and implement appropriate controls to direct and oversee progress and performance of the organisation.

As the board we should put in place appropriate structures, controls and processes to make sure the organisation is run in line with its purposes and values, governing document, and relevant legal and regulatory requirements. We will do this by:

  • maintaining and regularly reviewing policies and procedures and reporting arrangements, for example our internal governance, safeguarding, fundraising and financial controls
  • making sure our scrutiny and collective decision-making processes are rigorous, informed, transparent, timely and well communicated
  • understanding and analysing the internal and external operating environments of the organisation to create effective strategies and systems for risk management
  • monitoring and evaluating performance against operational plans and budgets
  • ensuring that any contracts are agreed and carried out in line with the interests of our organisation and in line with our values
  • considering whether our organisation’s legal and governance structure provides appropriate protection for the organisation, our trustees, and our members
  • ensuring there are robust internal financial controls in place and clear information provided to the board to allow it to monitor the organisation’s financial position
  • being clear about where we delegate to staff, volunteers or committees and how we exercise oversight

Three questions to think about at your next board meeting

  • Does the board feel confident that they know what’s going on in their organisation?
  • Is the board satisfied with its level of scrutiny, eg through financial management and controls, contracts, risk management?
  • Is the board clear on its powers, as stated in your governing document, and the limits to those powers?

How your board can demonstrate good governance

  1. If your organisation has staff or volunteers, you should ensure they are treated fairly, and any legal requirements are met.
  2. You should consider what your organisation’s specific significant risks are, and how you will mitigate and manage them. Your risk register should be up-to-date, and your approach to risk should be described in your annual report.
  3. You should understand your organisation’s accounts, and your financial strategy, policies and procedures. You should know who your funders are.
  4. You should develop appropriate and up to date policies and procedures for your organisations and seek outside advice where needed.
  5. You should understand what tasks (rather than responsibilities) can be delegated. Any committees should have suitable terms of reference and membership which are regularly reviewed.
  6. You should agree and oversee an effective process for appointing and reviewing external examiners or auditors if required.
  7. You should consider the benefits and risks of partnership working, merger or dissolution if other organisations are fulfilling your purpose more effectively, and/or if your organisation’s viability is uncertain.