Delegating to Staff and Volunteers

However, it is the management committee that will be held ultimately accountable for the organisation's activities. They therefore need to ensure that responsibilities are clearly delegated, with effective controls and regular reporting, in order to protect the interests of the organisation and its beneficiaries.

Effective delegation

Effective delegation to staff and volunteers should be based on clear consideration and communication of the following elements:

Monitoring Delegated Authority

The mechanisms used may be slightly different depending on whether it is staff, Honorary Officers or sub committees to whom the authority has been delegated.  These mechanisms reflect the need for the committee to remain in control of the organisation and its activity and to ensure sufficiently robust accountability mechanisms are in place.  They also allow sufficient opportunity to ensure that individuals or groups exercising delegated authority have the skills they need to do this effectively.

Sub committees

Sub-committees are set up so that a small group of management committee members (and sometimes co-opted experts) may focus in detail on a particular issue. This allows the management committee to ensure that sufficient attention is being paid to the detail of specific issues without one topic dominating the committee agenda at every meeting. An example of this may be a sub-committee dealing with finance and personnel, fundraising or a specific project such as a new building or a merger.


A Management Committee/Board can delegate authority for a task but not responsibility.  They will still be held ultimately accountable for any decisions or actions taken.  They must therefore set up appropriate systems to monitor the use of delegated authority. More....


Delegation is necessary for all of the work of an organisation to be completed. Except with very small organisations it is not possible for the members of the committee/board to do everything necessary for the smooth running of the organisation.

However it is important to remember that the committee can delegate authority but not responsibility. The committee is ultimately accountable for everything that goes on in an organisation.

Who's Who?

Organisations in the voluntary and community sector involve people in many different roles and capacities.  The table below outlines how the management committee fit into this framework.

Who are they?

What do they do?

Management Committee

(may also be called Board of Trustees, Board of Directors, Executive Committee etc).