The Committee has a key role to play in overseeing the work of the organisation.
The committee needs to have a good understanding, at a strategic level, of the work of the 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 committee members are not expected to be expert in all their areas of responsibility, but they do need to know when and where to access information and specialist advice. This includes both information regarding external matters that impact on the organisation and accessing information and advice from within the organisation itself.
A committee that is well-informed and appropriately advised…
…limits their legal liability if anything should go wrong
Where there is any loss or damage (financial or otherwise) to the organisation or to third parties, the Management Committee and committee members need to be able to demonstrate that they have acted responsibly. Seeking expert information and professional advice to support them in their duties, and acting on this advice, both reduces the likelihood of things going wrong and limits their legal liability.
…is confident that they are meeting their legal responsibilities and obligations
The management committee need to be aware of key areas of law and regulations that affect the organisation and know when and where to access specialist advice. As laws are constantly changing, in the area of employment for example, committee members must have procedures in place to ensure they are kept up to date with recent developments that may affect them. The management committee must ensure that policies are regularly reviewed.
….is kept in touch with the organisation and its activities
Where activities and functions are delegated, for example to volunteers or staff, appropriate reporting mechanisms need to be in place e.g. receiving regular reports at committee meetings on delegated activities. The management committee that becomes out of touch with the day-to-day functioning of the organisation, is unable to retain effective control of the organisation, make good decisions, or plan strategically for its future. Committee members should seek opportunities for positive engagement with the wider organisation to ensure they remain in touch, without interfering with the operational work of those to whom responsibilities have been delegated. The committee also need to respect the experience and expertise of those to whom they delegate, seeking advice from relevant staff and volunteers in their particular field, as appropriate.
…is open and responsive to the needs and concerns of stakeholders
An awareness of stakeholders and their requirements and concerns helps to ensure that a management committee keeps the organisation focused on delivering its core purpose and aims. An informed management committee should have an awareness of the profile of its stakeholders (whether members, beneficiaries or clients, and have in place mechanisms for feedback and regular consultation with these groups. These could include methods such as:
- client feedback forms
- consultation meetings with members
- circulating questionnaires and/or
- carrying out telephone interviews
Their openness should include being able to demonstrate how this consultation informs their decision-making.
…identifies and manages risk
Effective management committees need to spend time identifying potential risks/threats to the organisation, assessing the likelihood of them occurring and the potential impact on the organisation if they did occur, and put in place actions to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence and/or mitigating any impact. (See Risk Management).
…anticipates and responds to relevant developments and changes, ensuring the organisation can maintain and develop its role and services
Management committee members also need to remain informed regarding developments in the sector in which they operate such as changes in local demographics, funding streams, policy developments etc. (See Understanding the Organisation’s Operating Environment) Awareness of these external challenges and opportunities enables the management committee to plan strategically for the future, acting as effective ‘guardians’ of the organisation.
A management committee that is well-informed and accesses appropriate advice is confident in its decision-making and effective in its leadership of the organisation.