Performance appraisal of the management committee or of individual members may seem daunting or even offputting. However, as volunteers, it is good practice for committee members to have this opportunity for review and to highlight support and development needs. As the effective 'guardians' of the organisation, the management committee has a responsibilty to ensure that it is working effectively as a team and continues to be capable of meeting the demands of the role.
Efficiently run committees are more likely to be able to secure and retain the commitment and enthusiasm of all their members. This has to make organising the committee's work effectively a high priority.
Well-organised committees have the following features:
The committee needs to have a good understanding at a strategic level of the work of an organisation. This includes an awareness of the vision, values and mission, strategic and operational plans, staffing, funding and finance, monitoring and evaluation relating to an organisation's work. The management committee also has a responsibility to present regular reports of the organisation's work to members, funders and stakeholders. For example the Charity Commission.
Management committees are responsible for taking major strategic decisions and need to take decisions jointly with other members. In making any big decision, a number of steps are involved, including some or all of the following:-
Before the Meeting
- Plan the agenda with the chief officer and officers. Include items brought to you by other members.
Qualities, skills and knowledge
A good chairperson will:
However, where committees are anxious not to completely lose valued members, many struggle to deal with this issue and are reluctant to take the necessary steps to improve attendance.
The chairperson is responsible for dealing with poor attendance. S/he needs to find out what the governing document/constitution says about attendance and apply the rules. (Keeping a register of attendance at management committee meetings and publishing it annually often helps to improve the situation!)
Healthy conflict, in which conflicting viewpoints are debated, can be of significant benefit to an organisation, if it is effectively managed. Creating a forum where decisions and approaches are open to challenge and new ideas can be constructively discussed is vital if the management committee/board is to provide effective leadership for the organisation. It enables the committee to be open and responsive to stakeholders, to adapt to change, to plan effectively for the future, and to regularly review and evaluate its own performance.
These suggestions are tools available to committee members. Consider what would be appropriate to your circumstance and what would help address both the causes and the symptoms of conflict which are damaging your organisation.
Some of this material draws on NCVO's online guidance for trustees in England and Wales. It has been adapted for use here with their kind permission.
This self-assessment sheet is designed to enable you to reflect on your role as a management committee member, identifying areas for development where you would like further support, training or information.
This worksheet is intended for use by established committee members. It is not appropriate for use with new members.