How to embed good governance in board activity

Practical advice on developing a Governance Code and how to make strategic decisions on a board

Each board will develop its own way of working as a team, and will forge its own relationships with staff, volunteers and third parties. However board members must find sufficient time to take the strategic decisions on behalf of their organisation. The right people need the right information at the right time to fulfil that duty properly, and they must fully engage with the planning processes so that they can understand what is due to happen, what needs to be changed, and why things haven’t gone to plan. Proving that the board is fully engaged in governance requires good minute taking, and (if following best practice) a note of their assessment of the impact of their decisions.

The Governance Code includes references to key outcomes and recommended practice. If a board decides not to follow the Code, then it can record why it has chosen a different governance mechanism. It can also use the Code to identify areas of governance that require special consideration.

Every time a new business plan is adopted, it is worth reflecting on whether the members of the board remain best placed to govern the proposed activities. Having a strong link between an organisation’s business plan and its governance structure will help make sure that the work of the board is more than a box ticking exercise.

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