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.
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.
Keeping a management committee fresh, focused and effective has to involve regular renewal of its membership. This enables the committee to periodically review what skills or attributes the committee requires to meet the changing challenges and demands of the organisation. It can also help to strengthen the commitment and enthusiasm of individual committee members, by introducing mechanisms for limiting their term of office.
Recruiting new members onto a Management Committee is not as straightforward as recruiting for other voluntary roles:
The role of management committee members is described may vary according to the size and nature of the organisation. However, all committee members are individually committing to:
• upholding the values and objectives of the organisation;
• giving adequate time and energy to the duties of being a trustee; and
• acting with integrity and avoiding or declaring personal conflicts of interest.
(Adapted from Good Governance: A Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector).
Co-option is when a new member is appointed to a board because of a paticular skill set or area of interest, usually on a short term basis. It is usually done during the year and not at the AGM. It is not permitted by all governing documents so you should look carefully at your organisation's governing document before considering co-opting someone on to your board. Your constituion may also provide for different voting rights etc for the co-opted person and this needs to be made clear.
The Election Process
There are a variety of ways of re-electing the committee. One way to provide continuity is for a third of the committee to retire each year. Some organisations hold elections every two years. The minimum and maximum number of Management Committee members and the process for election is often set down in the governing document. Remember that it is good practice to review your governing document and make changes or amendments to it to ensure that your organisation is governed effectively.
The Management Committee is ultimately responsible for ensuring that these obligations are met. By so doing, they will help to safeguard, not only these vulnerable groups, but also the organisation, its staff and its volunteers.
The obligations placed on organisations are designed to ensure that they:
a) recruit suitable people to care for children, young people and adults at risk; and
b) operate on the basis of good practice policies and procedures in order to minimise the risk of harm to those in their care.
What is the role?
Do you know:
- The exact role and responsibilities of your Management Committee members?;
- The level of commitment actually required?; and
- The skills and qualities required to carry out the role effectively?
Don't be afraid of scaring off potential applicants! It is much better to be up front about what is involved in the role than have someone resigning prematurely because the role was not what they expected.
There is no exact recipe for recruiting the right people onto your Management Committee. Every group/organisation is different with different structures and different ways of doing things. However, the following are different approaches and ideas that have worked for other organisations.
Why join a Management Committee?
"The main reason for becoming a committee member is the individual's commitment to the cause of the organisation." (Giving Leadership, Giving Time, Volunteer Now 2015)
All organisations, regardless of their size and purpose, should provide an induction programme for new Committee members. The better your induction, the more effective new members will be!
An effective induction programme will:
Your role as employer and associated legal requirements should be taken very seriously: