Checklist: Self-questioning of trustees

By governance expert Ruth Lesirge

Ruth Lesirge
Ruth Lesirge

The Code of Good Governance, a set of guidelines published by the Charity Trustee Network and other voluntary sector bodies, says "ensuring delivery of organisational purpose" is a key principle of charity governance.

This seems self-evident, but the real test is about how you apply it in practice. That means making the time to reflect on how proactive and well-informed trustees really are.

A good place to start is through a structured board discussion at which trustees ask themselves some questions.

These could include whether they are sure that what the organisation does is still valid and how they know. Ask also what contribution the board has made to the charity's long-term strategy and what else could it do. Ask whether they can assess the effect of their contribution as trustees.

It is also important that trustees ask whether they really understand the operational plans and budgets they have signed off.

The benefits of such an examination might include discovering that they know more, or less, than they thought. The discussion can also offer a better understanding of their skills and perspectives.

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