Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - John McCalla Create

I became a trustee of Create this year. I work for KPMG and a couple of years ago I took part in a course for senior managers and directors.

Create was brought in to do some exercises that taught important skills such as teamwork through the creative arts. I was so blown away by what the charity did that I approached its chief executive, Nicky Goulder, and offered my help.

There are four trustees in total. This may seem like a small number but Create also has two patrons, management staff and a company secretary, who attends board meetings. There is also an advisory council, which is made up of nine people. These people are called when we need them to give specific advice.

The small board works well. Create is growing and is doing more projects every year. It can be innovative in its work and it runs tailor-made projects.

To continue doing this, it needs to be flexible and creative. Having a smaller board really helps - decisions are made quickly.

Trustees are often busy, so I can see that having a larger board could potentially be quite cumbersome. Also, from a logistical perspective, it must be hard to get everyone together. It's hard enough as it is because we all have other commitments.

I'm new to charity governance, but the impression I have so far is that it is quite different from the corporate world. The corporate world is very quick and you've always got to have your finger on the pulse.

There's a change of pace when it comes to working with charities and motivations are very different.

There is a slower pace at Create, but the chief executive is keen to understand how corporates operate and what we can learn from them.

However, we don't want to be taken over by corporate governance and need to make sure that anything we do introduce is tailored to suit the charity.

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