It’s Trustees’ Week. Here’s our Governance weekly for 16th November

The weekly roundup from VANEL on good governance, charity trusteeship and non-profit leadership. News, information, resources and ideas. Complemented by our “aboutgovernance” online discussion space for leaders and trustees and our @aboutgovernance Twitter feed.

We’re nearly at the end of this years’ National Trustees’ Week. Unsuprisingly there’s been a lot of news stories, activities, resources and reports during the week. So there’s quite a few updates today and there will be more next week too!  If you’re a Trustee or committee member of a charity, CIC, CIO or voluntary sector group, then this week is a really good opportunity to rethink your governance and see what you can do differently!

As part of our newly launched Trustee Network we now publish a daily article on AboutGovernance, our private online discussion space.  During Trustees’ Week only I’ve shared the first of these daily articles more widely on the VANEL blog and e-bulletin.  So over Trustees’ Week here’s what’s been published:

Thu –Let’s not forget that your trustees and committee members are all volunteers too
Wed – Current trends, issues and themes around governance and trusteeship and their relevance
Tue – Getting support for you and your fellow volunteer trustees
Mon – Getting our words right. Trustees, governance, boards, committees. What terminology should we be using? And does it matter?

The articles will continue, so over the next week, here’s what will be published on AboutGovernance.

– A selection of tools to get you started on your path to even better governance
– Getting back to basics. What is the role of a Charity Trustee all about?
– Data Protection and GDPR. An important topic and risk to you, your board and your organisation. Make sure you’re prepared
– Where do you get your information? How do you keep up to date? Are you well informed or reminaing ignorant?
– The legal and regulatory landscape for charities and boards – what’s new?
– It’s ok not to understand technology, but as a Trustee it’s certainly not ok to ignore it
– Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn from example. Adopt best practice. Good governance does not have to be hard
– The new Charity Governance Code is an important way to help improve your chances of funding success.

Earlier this week I attended the NCVO/BWB Trustees Conference in London. Lots of information was shared and I’ll be sharing this with you via these weekly updates and Twitter. I wrote an article yesterday specifically sharing a few themes from the event.

Our Twitter account focusing on all things governance related is now much more active. Follow it @aboutgovernance.

Also, don’t forget that if you are a NCVO member, many of their excellent trustee and governance resources will be free to download during trustees week. See information about this here. Make the most of your membership!

The monthly NCVO governance roundup is out for November. There’s a quick summary of the Trustee Conference and key news from Trustees’ Week. Read it here.

This week the Charity Commission launched a huge and important publication – “Taken on Trust talking about the state of governance and trusteeship across the sector. Read it here. I wrote a few thoughts about it in an article here. NCVO share thoughts on it here too. Go and have a read.

The winners of the Winifred Tumin Prize for good governance were announced this week too. The winners demonstrate exactly what “good governance in action” is all about (the theme of this year’s Trustee Conference). Well done to them, but it’s also worth us all learning from their examples so I’ll be sharing more about this in coming weeks. The winners were:
1st – British Youth Council
2nd – Home-Start Kirklees
3rd – Crossways Community

And another governance competition opens for entries now – the Charity Governance Awards. Read more about this here. Anyone from North East Lincolnshire up to the challenge of entering and demonstrating just how good their governance approach is?

The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network published a couple of articles this week. There’s a challenging one here – unsure as to whether it’s worth being a charity trustee, and a positive one here about famous women in trustee roles.  What do you think? Join us on our Trustee Network website to discuss.

Legal update for Trustees:the Trustees Conference this week was in conjunction with the law firm BWB. They provided an excellent set of updates at the event, but importantly they also share a update almost weekly on their website. I’d recommend you and your board dipping into it regularly to see what you need to keep on top of.  The latest update for 15th November is here.

Our Trustee Network formally launched this week as well. Lots more info

More Resources available:

SayerVincent – Honorary Treasurers Handbook – newly released in Trustees week and valuable for any charity treasurer large or small. Go here to get it.

“Cultural Markers in Charities” – an interesting report and guide to how to look for ‘markers’ in charities (including your own) which indicate whether your culture is positive or problematic. Worth a read.  Here’s ICSA‘s description of why this report is needed:

The operating environment for charities has become less benign in recent years. Changes in state funding for charities, the need for more diverse and creative income generation and concerns about executive pay, fundraising practices and the governance of some high-profile charities have all led to a perception that public trust in the sector is in decline. While individual donor engagement remains buoyant, front page headlines and stories in the media detailing apparently unsavoury charity behaviour and culture have highlighted a lack of public confidence. A small number of charities have contributed to this perceived decline in public trust, making operations more difficult for the majority of charities, which quietly go about business helping their beneficiaries.

Have you been reading your daily dose of leadership thinking from ACEVO over at www.30thingstothinkabout.org ?

And of course that newly relaunched “Charity Governance Code” is here.  If you’ve not started looking at it, then you should.  A couple of Word templates have also been published to help you start using the Code in a self-assessment way. Find them here.

More news as always next week…

Karl Elliott, Development Manager
karl@vanel.org.uk / 01472 287548
www.vanel.org.uk/governance – for an overview of our resources and information
www.vanel.org.uk/trustees – for the Trustee Network blog and information
www.vanel.org.uk/aboutgovernance – private discussion space for trustees
@aboutgovernance