Checklist: Federated branches

By governance expert Judith Rich

Judith Rich
Judith Rich

One of the most difficult issues facing large charities with federated branches is whether or not to bring them into central management.

Many such widely spread organisations have strong, locally based branches with long associations and successful financial outcomes.

There are few issues more likely to upset and antagonise the local management than the thought that they might be absorbed into central control. Many local branches have large bank accounts and do not want their resources absorbed into a general fund.

It takes sensitivity to carry out an amalgamation of federated branches. Even then, it is unlikely everyone will be happy.

It can be more complicated when major local branches have been independently registered charities.

If a decision to centralise has been made, time and effort put into negotiation and consultation will prove immensely beneficial if the eventual outcome is to be achieved without too much unhappiness for local branches.

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