Principle 5

Delegating to honorary officers

Effective delegation to honorary officers is based on clear consideration and communication of the following 4 elements:

  1. Role descriptions
  2. Policies and procedures
  3. Decision-making authority
  4. Reporting requirements

Collectively they provide clear parameters for both the honorary officers and the wider management committee. Having clear lines of responsibility and communication prevents a situation where an honorary officer is acting outside their delegated authority.

1. Role descriptions

When delegating to honorary officers the starting point should be a clear role description including details of what is expected of the person in that role. This should be agreed by the committee as a whole and used as part of the recruitment and induction process for the person acting in that honorary position. This will outline the broad parameters of the role.
More on the role of honorary officers
Worksheet for developing role descriptions

2. Policies and procedures

The committee may also provide policies to guide honorary officers relating to things such as finance, personnel, fundraising, dealing with the media etc. These should be documented and approval noted in the minutes of the committee.
More on developing policies and procedures
More on developing finance procedures

3. Decision-making authority

For more specific pieces of work the committee may need to agree an outline of what decisions they expect the person to make without having to come back to the committee for further discussion.

Setting a financial limit is commonly required For example the Treasurer may be able to approve expenditure up to an agreed amount on a particular project without seeking specific permission from the whole committee.
More on developing finance procedures

4. Reporting requirements

There should be a report (oral or written) from the relevant officer at each committee meeting to review progress and inform committee members of any relevant activities or decisions made. Committee members have a responsibility to scrutinise and question these reports to ensure they are satisfied that the delegated authority is being appropriately exercised.
More on monitoring delegated authority