Thursday 22 January 2009

Getting Good Governance

Good Governance is crucial to any organisation; and key to effective governance is the Chair- Chief executive relationship. ACEVO does a lot of work in this area , as all CEOs know that handling the Board and Chair is a top priority . I have learnt a lot about the relationship through both the CEO role here at ACEVO, where I am now working with a new Chair and through my Chairmanship of both the Adventure Capital Fund and Futurebuilders.

So lessons? I guess the top one is keeping a focus on the difference between the executive and non executive task . That is not easy because the boundaries can be blurred . And a general rule of behaviour; " no surprises".

To support our members ACEVO has developed a governance review tool. Its an online appraisal template for board trustees, chair and CEO. We developed it after extensive research and testing and have now conducted over 20 reviews. Click here to download information. They have been fascinating and we are now going to write them up in terms of general thoughts and lessons. I had a meeting today with Mary Chapman, who was until recently the CEO of the Institute of Management and an ACEVO member. She is helping focus our efforts and ensure an effective service.

One of the messages we are giving to members is that in a financial downturn, facing finacial problems for the organisation, then effective governance is even more crucial. So if you have a problem Board now is probably the time to sort it! And yes I know, easier said than done, but better a good Board than allowing them to get into problems and then blaming the CEO. We know from the example of the Shaw Trust (just where has that Charity Commission review got to I wonder?) that if there are fundamental flaws in governance then the consequences for CEOs can be dire. If its a problem then now is the time to grasp the nettle, talk to the Chair and think about review.


Rachel said...

We couldn't agree more! Governance and effective management are essential tools if companies and charities are going to be able to make the right decisions about riding out the down-turn.
In fact, Richard Litchfield has just written a great blog: Can Boards be Enterprising? View it here:

Sir Stephen Bubb said...

Thanks . And great signposting. i think the temptation in Boards would be to hunker down and not confront the problems .In fact the opposite must be true .Get it sorted now!