Charity chairs must do more to boost performance of boards, says Stephen Bubb

The head of Acevo has criticised 'complacency' as survey suggests chairs are less concerned with the skills and knowledge of their boards than chief executives

Sir Stephen Bubb
Sir Stephen Bubb

Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the charity chief executives body Acevo, has called on charity chairs to do more to drive up the performance of their boards and said there was "too much complacency" in parts of the sector.

His call comes in response to figures in the latest Acevo Pay Survey, due to be launched on 29 November, which indicates that chief executives tend to be more worried than their chairs about board performance.

The survey of 159 chairs and 576 chief executives suggests that 57 per cent of chairs are satisfied with the skills of their boards, compared with only 47 per cent of chief executives. Six in 10 chief executives are happy with the experience and knowledge of their boards, against 67 per cent of chairs.

The widest gap in satisfaction comes in response to a question about whether there is a sufficient variety of view and outlook among board members. Seventy-seven per cent of chairs are content about this, but only 65 per cent of chief executives.

"Too many chief executives worry about the skills on their boards, but don’t feel they have an active ally in their chairs when it comes to tackling the problem," said Bubb. "There is too much complacency about board performance in parts of our sector, and chairs need to be at the forefront in tackling it, rather than relaxing while their chief executives worry.

"We need more chairs to talk to their chief executives about whether their boards are set up to succeed – and to act if they are surprised by the answer."

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