What are the 12 essential roles of a board?

1. Set and maintain vision, mission and values
2. Develop strategy

The trustee board is responsible for establishing the essential purpose or mission of the organisation. They are also responsible for guarding its vision and values. Together, the charity board and chief executive officer develop long-term strategy. Meeting agendas reflect the key points of the strategy to keep the organisation on track.
3. Establish and monitor policies

The trustee board creates policies to govern organisational activity. These cover:

  • Guidance for staff
  • Systems for reporting and monitoring
  • An ethical framework for everyone connected with the organisation
  • Conduct of trustees and board business

4. Set up employment procedures

The charity trustee board creates comprehensive, fair and legal personnel policies. These protect the organisation and those who work for it. They cover:

  • Recruitment
  • Support
  • Appraisal
  • Remuneration
  • Discipline

5. Ensure compliance with governing document

The governing document is the rulebook for the organisation. The board makes sure it is followed. In particular, the organisation's activities must comply with its charitable objectives.
6. Ensure accountability

The board should ensure that the organisation is accountable as required by law to:

  • The Charity Commission
  • The Inland Revenue
  • Customs and Excise
  • The Registrar of Companies (if it is a company limited by guarantee).

The board also needs to make certain that the organisation is accountable to donors, beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, and the general public. This means publishing annual reports and accounts and communicating effectively.
7. Ensure compliance with the law

The board is responsible for making sure that all the organisation's activities are legal.
8. Maintain proper fiscal oversight

The board is responsible for effectively managing the organisation's resources so it can meet its charitable objects. It:

  • Secures sufficient resources to fulfil the mission
  • Monitors spending
  • Approves the annual financial statement and budget
  • Provides insurance to protect the organisation from liability
  • Seeks to minimise risk
  • Participates in fundraising (in some organisations)
  • Ensures legal compliance

9. Select, manage and support the chief executive

The board creates policy covering the employment of the chief executive. It selects and supports the chief executive and reviews his or her performance.
10. Respect the role of staff

The board recognises and respects the domain of staff responsibility. At the same time, it creates policy to guide staff activities and safeguard the interests of the organisation.
11. Maintain effective board performance

The board keeps its own house in order. It takes steps to establish:

  • Productive meetings
  • High standards of trustee conduct
  • Effective committees with adequate resources
  • Development activities
  • Recruitment and induction processes
  • Regular performance reviews
  • Partnership with consultants where necessary

12. Promote the organisation

Through its own behaviour, governance oversight and activities on behalf of the organisation the governing board enhances and protects the reputation of its organisation. Board members are good ambassadors for the organisation.
Source: NCVO