Skip to content
Governance, Trusteeship and Leadership support

VANEL champions Good Governance across the Voluntary and Community Sector and aims to provide support and services to further develop leadership, trusteeship, project management and governance skills in the sector.

We provide training, consultancy, resources, information and other support to help you and your organisation to work better, more effectively and more efficiently.

This page serves as an index to all that we can help you with, but feel free to contact us direct to discuss any of these topics.

Our governance and trusteeship ‘offer’ has its own website –  You’ll find all the information below on that site along with much more details, lots of resources and relevant news.


Information on this page
(and repeated at

The VANEL Trustee Network
Training Programme
Governance Consultancy
News and information sharing
Resource Library
Young Trustees
Technology and Trustees
SVAg – accreditation for your voluntary board
The View from the Top

The VANEL Trustee Network

Our Trustee Network has existing in one form or another for many years now. Some years we’ve had a formal training and meeting programme. One year we had regular ‘Tea and Trustees’ get togethers. Due to lack of funding we’ve been quiet for the past year or so, but on 1st September a new version of our Network starts up online.

The Network is a way for Trustees and Committee Members to get support from us at VANEL and from other like minded Trustees. It’s a network of your peers that meets online in a private website (

There is a daily blog with ideas, information and resources. It provides you with a way to get involved in discussions about these daily articles or to ask your own questions, make suggestions, propose ideas, answer other people and generally get involved in improving yourself and your board with other Trustees.

The VANEL Trustee Network is ONLY open to those involved in the management or governance of VANEL Member or Friend organisations. If your organisation is in membership of VANEL then you can join in the Network for free. If your organisation is not a member then you have two options – individual membership (£15 per year) or get your organisation to connect to VANEL for £25 per year for the whole committee/board to get involved.

To get started either contact and I’ll set you up an account on the website or register yourself on the site (after which I’ll have to authorise your access and let you in!)

Training Programme

VANEL delivers training on the themes of governance, trusteeship, leadership, project management and committee skills.

Throughout the year we have a calendar of scheduled courses but we also offer courses on a bespoke basis to boards, committees and trustees as needed.

Overview of our training courses here.

Latest training calendar here.

Find out about bespoke training.

Our most popular course is “Induction and Refresher Training for Trustees” which is ideal for newer or less experienced trustees or simply as a way of reminding longer serving trustees about things they might have forgotten about their roles and responsibilities.

Governance Consultancy

VANEL can provide bespoke consultancy to help you and your board develop your governance approaches. This may mean putting paperwork, processes and policies together. It could mean developing a Trustee Handbook, improving your induction or recruitment processes. It might mean skills development for your board. Or it may be as simple as running through the Charity Governance Code and helping you understand its relevance to what you do.

We have three levels of standard consultancy package – Essentials (5days), Effective (10days), Extensive (15days).

But on a bespoke basis we can provide consultancy on a day by day basis or for as little as a few hours tailored to your needs and budgets. Contact us to discuss.

News and information sharing

We try to share news, information and resources related to charitable sector governance, trusteeship and leadership on a weekly basis via our “Governance Weekly” column on the VANEL blog and e-newsletter.

Trustee Network members can get access to the AboutGovernance private peer support website and on there we post a daily article covering some aspect or other of governance, trusteeship or leadership. Members then have a chance to discuss the topic of the day in more detail (or start their own discussion).

Monthly we share a longer read article on AboutGovernance with Network members and our e-publications, “The View from the Top” is sent out to all Network members with a roundup of everything we’ve covered from that month.

We also tweet sporadically via @aboutgovernance

Our publications and news we hope are topical, up to date, relevant and useful. Share them with your fellow trustees and committee members to ensure everyone is kept fresh in their roles and understanding of governance topics.

Resource Library

VANEL holds copies of a number of useful Governance and Trusteeship related books. VANEL member organisations are welcome to request and borrow these.

We also try and maintain an online list of useful publications and reports that can be helpful and relevant.

See our online resources here.

VANEL Trustee Network members also have access to useful publications from the past 10 years that are still relevant but are no longer necessarily available on the internet. More information about this on AboutGovernance.

Young Trustees

One of the themes VANEL is keen to develop is that of getting younger people involved in governance, leadership and trusteeship.

The VANEL INGITE team is promoting younger people into leadership roles and has it’s own Steering Group comprised of younger people who are ‘learning the ropes’ of good governance. We previously piloted some support for younger trustees through our Young Leaders programme in 2016, and we have resources and training available to support younger people into the sector and into committee/board roles.

If you are interested in this theme – for example, you are a younger person yourself or your board needs younger trustees then please do contact us.

Technology and Trustees

Another theme that VANEL is championing is the better use of technology within charities and voluntary organisations in general and being led by boards and committees in particular. Whilst it’s ok to not be a ‘techy’ and understand all things digital, it’s not ok to be on a board and ignore technology. Technology is ever present, ever changing and can improve the impact and effectiveness of our organisations (and ignoring it can be detrimental). As trustees we are obliged to do the best fo our organisations so digital needs to be embraced.

So as well as training around technology for boards, we’ll blog about it regularly and we can provide as much or as little consultancy, services and support around technology as you and your board need. Just contact us.

SVAg – accreditation for your voluntary board

All trustees and committee members are first and foremost volunteers. That volunteer aspect of the role often gets overlooked and VANEL as a volunteer championing organisation is working to change this.

We already provide our volunteer hosting accreditation known as Supporting Volunteers Awards (SVA) to many organisations to demonstrate just how well they manage their volunteers and to help them with continual improvement.

So in 2017 we’re launching SVAg – our governance version of SVA specifically looking at how organisations manage the volunteers on their boards.

This is currently being prototyped so watch out for news about it or contact us if you think you might like to get on board early on.

The View from the Top

In 2015 we launched an e-publication – “The View from the Top” – covering all things governance and trusteeship related.

During 2017 this publication went dormant for a while whilst we refocused our resources on different approaches to governance support. Notably we kept up the news sharing through our now regular “Governance Weekly” column instead.

So if you missed “The View from the Top”, sorry. But it’s coming back in late 2017. It will be different but will be a summing up of the news, information and resources from that month so that you, your board and all your fellow trustees can keep up to date on things we’re discussing around governance, trusteeship and leadership.

“The View from the Top” is only sent out to members of the VANEL Trustee Network – so make sure you’re signed up to that!

Please note that VANEL is generally unfunded in our governance and leadership support work.  Hence, almost all of the services offered above are available as either a VANEL Member benefit or on a fee paying basis.  Only occasionally does grant funding subsidise these services.  Should you require these services, becoming a Member of VANEL first will allow you better and more cost effective access.

For any conversations and discussions about support around governance, trusteeship and leadership services, contact Karl Elliott at VANEL via, 01472 361043 in the first instance.