Role of the management committee

Management committee/board members have ultimate responsibility for directing the activity of the organisation, ensuring it is well run and delivering the outcomes for which it has been set up.

Every management committee/board should provide leadership to the organisation by:

  • Setting the strategic direction to guide and direct the activities of the organisation;
  • Ensuring the effective management of the organisation and its activities; and
  • Monitoring the activities of the organisation to ensure they are in keeping with the founding principles, objects and values.

(Supporting principle to  Principle 1 of The Code of Good Governance)

Understanding the role

There are nearly 34,000 individuals involved on Management Committees in Northern Ireland, many of which are on more than one Management Committee, and the majority of which volunteer in their own time (Committee Matters, 2003).

Management committee members carry out a vital role within the community and voluntary sector. Their role is not necessarily about doing, it is about ensuring things are done.  Usually the day-to-day management of the organisation will be delegated to paid staff or to volunteers, although the Management Committees of smaller organisations are often much more actively involved.

The management committee is the group of people who are held accountable for the activities of the organisation. It is the ultimate decision-making forum.

Terms used

Management Committees are also frequently referred to as Boards of Trustees, Governing Bodies, or Executive Committees.

Overview of responsibilities

The Management Committee plays an important role in the organisation as both leaders and decision-makers. Their overall responsibilities are summarised below.  Use the links provided to access more information on each topic:

Vision and Leadership

The Management Committee ensures that everything the organisation does supports its vision, purpose and aims. They establish the fundamental values, the ethical principles and strategic direction in which the organisation operates.

Accountability

The Management Committee must account for everything the organisation does, including its spending and activities. The Management Committee is accountable to the membership of the organisation and other key stakeholders such as funders and donors. The Management Committee monitors and evaluates all areas of the organisation's performance.

Keeping it Legal

The Management Committee ensures compliance with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements and seeks guidance around any uncertainties. Everything the Management Committee and the organisation do must also be in line with its governing document, e.g. constitution or memorandum and articles of association.

Financial Oversight

The Management Committee ensures that all money, property and resources are properly used, managed and accounted for. In order to be accountable, suitable systems must be in place and kept up to date.

Managing Staff and Volunteers

In organisations that employ staff, the Management Committee is essentially the employer. They must ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for staff and for volunteers, and that both are properly managed and supported. The Management Committee, usually represented by the Chairperson, also directly line manage the most senior staff member.