Skills and experience

Management committee/board members should have or ensure that they have access to the diverse range of skills, experience and knowledge needed to run the organisation effectively.

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

The responsibilities of the management committee vary widely and it is unlikely that each member will possess all the skills, experience and knowledge required. Indeed, some committee members may have been recruited specifically for their skills in a particular area. However, you should ensure that, as a collective, the committee holds the necessary expertise.

What expertise is required

All management committee members will need to have or develop knowledge & experience of:-

  • the organisation's core business;
  • organisational management;
  • financial management; and
  • governance in the voluntary and community sector.

The skills or expertise required by specific organisations will vary, but is likely to include many of the following areas:

In addition, many organisations feel it is important to have committee members who can provide particular perspectives through personal experience of the issues addressed by the organisation's activities. Users or beneficiaries may therefore be recruited onto the committee.

How to develop your committee's expertise

Step 1: Establish what's there already;
Step 2: Agree a development strategy;
Step 3: Implement an action plan; and
Step 4: Monitor and review.

Step 1: Establish what's there already

Undertake a skills diversity audit of the management commitment to identify gaps in management committee expertise.

Step 2: Agree a development strategy

Options for addressing the gaps include:

  • Develop the skills and expertise of existing members through training or mentoring;
  • Co-opt members. Seek co-options from members of the organisation with these skills;
  • Identify and recruit advisers or advisory groups to enable participation from people with relevant skills and knowledge, without expanding the committee;
  • Access external expertise in the form of information, advice, facilitation or training;
  • Review the recruitment strategy. If relevant expertise isn't available from your organisations' membership, consider approaching other organisations in the same area of work. Don't forget that service users may have a valuable experience of and commitment to, your organisation.

Step 3: Implement an action plan

Ensure your strategy is turned into an action plan which specifies:

  • What action is required?;
  • Who will carry this out?;
  • When will the action be completed?; and
  • When will the committee review progress & impact?

Step 4: Monitor and review

Has your strategy worked? Have you successfully addressed the identified gaps in skills and expertise? Have there been subsequent changes in the makeup of the committee or in the requirements of the role which have resulted in new gaps emerging?

Ensure that your committee continues to be up to the challenge by having a process for regular review of skills requirements and by monitoring the effectiveness of any development strategies in place.