Checklist: how trustees can develop a 'radar system'

By governance expert Rodney Buse

Trustees might think they should be all-knowing. But they cannot be expected to be experts in every area of charity management and governance, and effective governance depends on contributions from a number of quarters.

Boards should not be afraid of seeking - and paying for - independent, expert advice. It is also possible for trustees to stay aware through networking of external issues, events and policies that might affect the organisation, such as - for example - recommendations in the latest New Philanthropy Capital report on governance.

It's easy for like-minded people to think inside the box. That's why it is very valuable to have impartial, independent members - valued for their effective 'radar' systems and knowledge of governance best practice - serving on governance committees that deal with issues such as risk, audits, nominations and remuneration.

They can bring the views of the outside world to internal thinking and help to give objectivity to board competency and performance reviews.

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