What is the role of the chairperson?

Chairing is a key role on any voluntary Management Committee. The Chairperson must ensure that the Management Committee functions properly, that there is full participation during meetings, that all relevant matters are discussed and that effective decisions are made and carried out.

The role of a Chairperson is time consuming, with work between meetings, external representation of the organisation, and work with staff. Chairing a large organisation requires diplomatic and leadership skills of a high level.

Main duties of the chairperson

The responsibilities of a Chairperson can be summarised under four areas:

1. To ensure the Management Committee functions properly.

The Chairperson is responsible for making sure that each meeting is planned effectively, conducted according to the constitution and that matters are dealt with in an orderly, efficient manner. The Chairperson must make the most of all his/her committee members and ‘lead the team'. This also involves regularily reviewing the Committee's performance and identifying and managing the process for renewal of the Committee through recruitment of new members.
More on running effective meetings
More on chairing meetings
More on reviewing and renewing your committee

2. To ensure the organisation is managed effectively.

The Chairperson must co-ordinate the Committee to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for the effective management of the organisation.
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More on policies and procedures

3. To provide support and supervision to the chief officer.

The Chairperson will often be the direct line manager for the chief officer (the most senior staff member).
More on managing the senior staff member
More on supervising the senior staff member 

4. To represent the organisation as its figurehead.

The Chairperson may from time to time be called upon to represent the organisation and sometimes be its spokesperson at, for example, functions or meetings.
More on delegating to honorary officers