Governance consultants plan to launch Institute of Chairs

Ruth Lesirge says a support and information service for charity chairs is needed because existing sources of support are fragmented

Ruth Lesirge
Ruth Lesirge

A new support service for charity chairs is aiming to launch in the spring.

The proposed organisation, which is likely to be called the Institute of Chairs, is intended to serve as a source of support and information for charity chairs and help to improve the workings and governance standards of charities.

The organisation is being set up by the governance consultants Ruth Lesirge and Rosalind Oakley, and was unveiled at a meeting at the Charity Commission’s offices in London earlier this month.

Lesirge said that efforts to register the organisation with Companies House and the Charity Commission were under way.

She said that the institute is needed because existing sources of support for charity chairs are fragmented. The institution plans to provide chairs with access to support from peers within the sector and will carry out research into the role and work of charity chairs.

Lesirge said: "We want to make this a really useful organisation for the sector and this will only work with the support and interest of charities."

The concept of the institute has been endorsed by the Charity Commission and the umbrella bodies the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Acevo. But it still requires financial backing to get it off the ground. 

The institute’s board is due to meet on 1 November and will be chaired by John Gladwin, chair of Citizens Advice. Other board members include Alice Maynard, chair of the disability charity Scope, Jane Smith, director of resources at the think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research, as well as Lesirge and Oakley.

Board members will also be promoting the aims of the institute at the NCVO Trustee Conference on 12 November.

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