One of the duties of a governing body is to monitor and measure organisational performance. The Code of Good Governance's second principle is that boards should "ensure delivery of organisational purpose".
This is readily acknowledged by trustees. It should also be evident in board practice, but trustees do not always find it easy to fulfil the responsibility effectively.
In my experience, boards' approaches to keeping track of their charity's performance range across a spectrum, from occasional but superficial questioning through to an observable lack of attention. One management tool that can be of real assistance in this regard is the 'balanced scorecard', which is used to monitor the consequences of an organisation's activities.
Despite some scepticism about using it in value-based organisations, there is evidence to suggest it can help board members to work together in measuring performance over both the short and long term.
The balanced scorecard is no magic bullet, but it can complement well-informed judgement. Used well, it can help boards retain effective and productive oversight of organisational performance.