Information and advice

Management committee/board members should ensure that they receive the appropriate advice and information they need in order to make good decisions.

(Supporting principle to Principle 3 of The Code of Good Governance)

 

Management committee members are not expected to be expert in all their areas of responsibility, but they do need to know when and where to access information and specialist advice. This includes both information regarding external matters that impact on the organisation and accessing information and advice from within the organisation itself.

A committee that is well-informed and appropriately advised.....

...limits their legal liability if anything should go wrong

Where there is any loss or damage (financial or otherwise) to the organisation or to third parties, the Management Committee or its members need to be able to demonstrate that they have acted responsibly. Seeking information and advice to support them in their duties, and acting on this advice, both reduces the likelihood of things going wrong and limits their legal liability.

...is confident that they are meeting their legal responsibilities and obligations

The management committee need to be aware of key areas of law that affect the organisation and know when and where to access specialist advice. As laws are constantly changing, in the area of employment for example, committee members must have procedures in place to ensure they are kept up to date with recent developments that may affect them.

....is kept in touch with the organisation and its activities

Where activities and functions are delegated, for example to volunteers or staff, appropriate reporting mechanisms need to be in place. The management committee that becomes out of touch with the day-to-day functioning of the organisation, is unable to retain effective control of the organisation, make good decisions, or plan strategically for its future. Committee members should seek opportunities for positive engagement with the wider organisation to ensure they remain in touch. The committee also need to respect the experience and expertise of those to whom they delegate, seeking advice from relevant staff and volunteers in their particular field, as appropriate.

...is open and responsive to the needs and concerns of stakeholders

An awareness of stakeholders and their concerns helps to ensure that a management committee keeps the organisation focused on delivering its core purpose and aims. An informed committee should have an awareness of the profile of its stakeholders (whether members, beneficiaries or clients, and have in place mechanisms for feedback and regular consultation with these groups. These could include methods such as:

  • client feedback forms
  • consultation meetings with members
  • circulating questionnaires
  • carrying out telephone interviews.

Their openness should include being able to demonstrate how this consultation informs their decision-making.

...anticipates and responds to relevant developments and changes, ensuring the organisation can maintain and develop its role and services

Management committee members also need to remain informed regarding developments in the sector in which they operate such as changes in local demographics, funding streams, policy developments etc. Awareness of these external challenges and opportunities enables the management committee to plan strategically for the future, acting as effective ‘guardians' of the organisation.

In summary....

A management committee that is well-informed and accesses appropriate advice is confident in its decision-making and effective in its leadership of the organisation.

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