Checklist: Getting the most out of a review

By governance expert Judith Rich

Judith Rich
Judith Rich

When conducting a governance review, a great deal depends on the chair, who must determine not only the scope of the meeting, but also where it is destined to lead.

But the chair's own views might not be shared by the whole board. When this is not taken into account, difficulties can arise.

If anything more than informal discussions are arranged, it is wise for the board itself to endorse the remit, and it should perhaps appoint one or two members to work on the whole proposal.

Of course, this might not be popular with a chair who has a strong vision - in this case, the board might suggest that a larger group or a sub-committee does the work.

This is a lonely task - care must be taken to ensure that the widest range of advice is sought, if only to protect those involved. An objective outsider can often see where the problems lie and is better able to suggest alternative solutions.

Discussions about the charity's vision, mission and objectives can be difficult and painful, especially as personal relationships can be affected.

But such discussions can often result in serious decisions about the governance structure, and the availability of different views can lead to a stronger outcome, which will serve the charity well in the future.

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