Principle 4 - Exercising Control

Senior staff member

Management Committees can struggle to effectively manage the most senior staff member in the organisation. This can be for a variety of reasons, sometimes the most senior staff member has been with the organisation a long time and is more experienced than some members of the committee.  Generally the most senior staff member will have more information about the day to day running of an organisation.

Volunteer Management

Involving volunteers

In 2016 Northern Ireland, just under a third (32%) of respondents to the Department for Social Development's volunteering survey indicated that they had carried out voluntary work within the past year. 

Many voluntary organisations indicate that they can not manage without their volunteers.

Staff Management

Where a voluntary organisation employs paid staff, the Management Committee is ultimately the employer.  The Management Committee is responsible for ensuring that the organisation's policies and practices are compliant with relevant legislation, are kept up to date and that its employment practices are at an acceptable standard.  Good people management helps to contribute to the organisation's overall effectiveness and its ability to achieve its objectives. This of course brings additional responsibilities both legally and practically in terms of managing staff.


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.

Risk Management

Management Committees are responsible for safeguarding the organisation, its assets and third parties, including staff and volunteers. This requires being aware, not only of the current activities and circumstances of the organisation, but also being mindful of what could happen in the future in order to minimise any potential negative impact on the organisation.

SORP and Financial Reporting Requirements

Charities should prepare accounts at least annually.  The purpose of preparing accounts is to provide useful information for the decision making process of the board, funders and other external stakeholders.  In addition the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which were developed by the Department for Social Development, commenced on 1 January 2016. These regulations require charities in Northern Ireland to prepare annual accounts depending on the size of the organisation.


Management Committees need to develop organisational policies in order to implement the strategic aims and priorities of the organisation.

Policies provide guidance so that each time a question arises about how to implement a broad decision, there are some parameters to inform the response. Policy guidelines articulate how an organisation's overall mission and aspirations are to be pursued.


During the current COVID-19 emergency, charity trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them.  Many charities are facing the double challenge of a sudden fall in income with an increase in demand for their services.  The Charity Commmision for Northern Ireland has prepared guidance for charity trustees, especially of smaller charities, who may not have access to professional financial advice.