Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Chris White, Home-Start

The branch of Home-Start of which I am a trustee is very small, so I have been surprised how professionally the board is run. It operates much as I'd expect a company to operate. My particular branch has only three part-time staff and seven trustees. Nevertheless, we still have to deal with all of the things professional organisations have to face, such as data protection - but without the millions of pounds in assets and lots of staff. The charity helps parents with young children.

The board meets quarterly for a formal meeting, which has a very structured agenda. We follow a business plan, and we have regular items on the agenda concerning health and safety, policies and procedures. This can put some people off - in particular, trustees who are more interested in the sharp end of the charity don't like the governance side. Unfortunately, you have to cover it all.

My branch is part of a much larger national organisation. We receive lots of support from the national Home-Start centre in terms of advice, guidance and training courses. We are certainly not left to our own devices.

Thanks to the support we receive from the national centre, there's a very high standard of governance at Home-Start. Regional co-ordinators visit the scheme to check things are being done properly.

Trustees can take a lot of comfort from this because the co-ordinators are there to guide and assist, not to audit. Nevertheless, I am sure that if they thought things weren't going well, they'd do something about it.

When you've got a brand to protect, you need to ensure standards are maintained across the country.

These services are not carried out for free, however. We pay between £1,500 and £2,000 a year to the national centre. Our income is only about £75,000, so to us that's quite a lot of money - but we get good value for it.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus