Trustee and Member Resources
Follow the trail
- Trustees: training, advice and recruitment for management committees, including governance matters.
- Members: meetings, code of conduct.
- Trustee, meetings, members publications.
- Governance issues page includes a Trustee's Checklist.
- Membership services such as balloting or mailing are under Services - membership.
- Membership management software.
- Checklist of policies and procedures - trustees should know whether these are needed and are in place.
Don't forget that trustees often go under another name. In charities which are limited companies, they will also be company directors. The board might be called a management committee.
In the last few years, there have been a number of initiatives around 'Good Trusteeship'. Some of the more useful ongoing results are given here.
Charity Trustee Networks has merged with Small Charities Coalition, 2011. Helps set up and provides support to networks of charity trustees. From August '11 phone 020 7391 4812, email: email@example.com Trustees and management committee members can sign up (free) to keep up-to-date and in touch through an online network.
Material on NCVO's Governance and Leadership pages, including that from the Governance Hub (now closed) should include a Code of Governance for the voluntary and community sector. NCVO also provides training, information and networking. See Information Centre for Trustees and Governance.
In Northern Ireland Volunteer Development Agency, which has become part of Volunteer Now, had a governance project offering training, support and information for management committee members - now defunct? But see the next item.
DIY Committee Guide provides online access to "extensive resources and guidance for voluntary management committees in Northern Ireland".
TrusteElearning has 12 online training modules developed by the Governance Hub and Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisation.
See Functional support bodies for Charity Treasurers' Forum.
Other umbrella bodies have useful material. For example SITRA has Job descriptions for Company Secretary, Treasurer, Management Committee member etc. (look under Publications).
This is free stuff - see Publications page for books etc.
Duties of Charity Trustees direct link, pdf format. Pocket size introduction to the issues from specialist solicitors Bates Wells and Braithwaite. See Publications page if the direct link doesn't work.
Charity Commission also publishes guidance. See The Essential Trustee (CC3) for instance and check out other material on their web site. Also of interest CC24 Users on Board: Beneficiaries who become trustees looking at how potential conflicts of interest can occur, suggests ways to minimise their effects and lists sources of further guidance for charities looking at the issue. Publications order line 01823 345427.
There's a trustee's checklist on our Governance issues page.
REACH recruits volunteers (to be placed in a charity of community group) with managerial, professional and technical experience, including for trustee positions. 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP, phone 020 7582 6543. Also has Scottish, Welsh and NI bases.
Bar in the Community is a Bar Council initiative which aims to help voluntary sector groups by identifying barristers willing to serve on Management Committees. It is not about barristers providing free legal advice, rather that they have many other valuable skills which would benefit voluntary organisations. Bar in the Community, c/o Bar Pro Bono Unit, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ, phone 020 7611 9511.
ICSA (company secretaries) runs a trustee register to help with the recruitment of charity trustees.
NCVO have set up Trusteebank which lists trustee placement services.
See Business Links on our Consultancy page for projects putting professionals with particular skills in touch with local projects. Various sector support bodies sometimes publish such 'opportunities' or have lists.
Voluntary organisations have members for a whole host of reasons. Some exist purely for their members, such as self-help groups (educational as well as supportive), others want member involvement in campaigns, raising funds or volunteer activities to carry out various functions . While there are many membership issues in common, such as keeping records (see Membership Software), others will be more particular. If making comparisons with other groups on how they handle members, do think about what is different in your case and apply lessons appropriately.
The Charity Commission has produced (April 1999) with ICSA, a guide to Charities and meetings (ref CC48), with suggestions on good practice, specimen notice and venue checklist as well guidance on the law. Registered charities should obtain in the usual way from the Charity Commission.
See Minute Taker's Handbook on Publications page.
Members' Code of Conduct
When asked a question on this, we wondered why this wasn't an issue with a higher profile. Perhaps it is because of the diversity of the sector. On a quick Google search, we came up with 2 contrasting examples: a family history society and a Lesbian, gay centre (ie building based), while the enquirer was going to have service users alongside community professionals and public sector members . What is essential for one could be completely over the top for another. We've looked at these as we put together something of a checklist on issues to consider. We would suggest that shortness, clarity and keeping the Code as 'unheavy' as possible are good guiding rules.
Control of the identity and intellectual property of the organisation. Should you highlight the need for permission to use the logo or name, reproduction or re-use of (published) material, who is allowed to speak on your behalf?
Conduct on the premises. In many instances, reference to 'acceptable types of behaviour' may be sufficient; in more sensitive contexts explicit reference to unacceptable actions which will result in immediate suspension/removal may be appropriate. What members should do if encountering abuse (of themselves, another person or the premises/equipment).
Codes for undertaking activities - e.g. field work. This starts to overlap with volunteering codes or policies, but if member means effectively the same as volunteer, does there need to be a seperate document?
Are there more than one type of member? Eg service users, service providers or volunteers. Where is the appropriate place to define conduct or boundaries of relationships? Are there possible professional discretions which could complicate a wish for complete openness, for instance?
Complaints, grievances. Who to address them to, how, timescales for response, maybe set procedures.
Disciplinary procedure / why and how someone's membership might be revoked.
More positive statements about supporting the ideals and aims of the organisation. Tolerance of views, lifestyles, equal ops.
Establishing common expectations amongst members, to enhance interaction and understanding, reduce conflicts. Declarations of interest when debating issues.
Appropriate reference to the constitution. Try not to repeat or overlap too much, as that complicates any later amendments and peoples understanding of the legal position. The constitution, whether for a club, trust or a limited company, should always be seen as the prime document. Standing orders for meetings is another place for rules which could connect up (e.g. exercising voting rights, rules of debate).
Where membership may, entirely or partly, consist of other organisations, issues are more likely to be about avoiding conflicts of interest, clarity of roles and legal responsibility (which body is a person representing?).