How 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:
(adapted from Good Governance: A Code of the Voluntary and Committee Sector).
As committee members, they will make decisions as a collective group and hold joint responsibility for decisions and actions taken by the management committee, even in their absence. They are responsible for ensuring that all decisions are taken in the best interests of the organisation and that their role is carried out effectively. Individual members should demonstrate selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership (known as The Nolan Principles).
Management committee members should have access to relevant information to support them in carrying out their responsibilities. This clarity should commence during the recruitment process, with provision of:
This should be followed up in the induction process, ensuring the new member is well-equipped to carry out their role effectively. Many management committees also provide a committee handbook as a uniform reference point for all members. Click here for an example committee handbook.
Use our checklist to find out.
It is also important to have a training and development strategy in place for the management committee, ensuring that they remain sufficiently well-informed and skilled to effectively manage the organisation.
“A volunteer is someone who gives of their time freely and by choice, to help others (individual, community, environment) without concern for financial reward.”
Management Committee members are volunteers. As with all volunteers, Management Committee members will invariably need support. The organisation should have an appropriate support system in place, which may involve the Chairperson or another committee member acting as a point of contact for specific areas.
It is good practice to have written role descriptions for Management Committee members and honorary officers, and to provide induction training. Support may also include reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses (check your governing document or policy of the organisation).
Remember, good support helps all Management Committee members work better as a team!
The community and voluntary sector is made up of groups and organisations that have either: no paid staff (and everyone’s a volunteer), or paid staff (ranging from one or two, to several hundred).
Management committee members must have an understanding of the distinction between governance and management including the difference between their role as employer and the chief officer’s role as manager. Click here for summary details on each role.
The Management Committee, then, is ultimately responsible for the organisation. However, they often:
Committee members need to ensure that there is clarity in relation to the task being delegated. Management Committees cannot delegate responsibility for decisions taken. It is therefore essential that sub-committees refer back to the full committee meeting where decisions are taken.
In addition, if a membership organisation, the Management Committee will have an important communication role with its members. And, of course, there is communication with a range of external organisations such as funding bodies, statutory agencies, other voluntary organisations, etc.
If your organisation is a limited company, your Management Committee members are usually the Company Directors.
Download: Responsibilities of Company Directors