Governance Stress Test

Delivering a Governance Stress Test for a leading mental health charity

We carried out our Governance Stress Test for a leading mental health charity. This included a review of public facing documents, detailed consideration of 36 non-confidential internal documents (i.e. those that are available to all staff, such as policies, minutes and role descriptions), benchmarking against best practice, and mystery shopping.

Our review found no major stresses which alone would leave the charity significantly vulnerable to serious and damaging media criticism, but we did discover several issues which required attention, and which posed some risk to the reputation of the charity. These included the eligibility of long-standing members of the trustee board, outdated practice in relation to levels of delegation from trustees to executives, conflict between policy messages about mental health at work, and the practical application internally of policies relating to staff.

The test resulted in 20 recommendations, of which four required immediate action. The charity was in agreement with our analysis and committed to make changes. In particular, senior staff welcomed the opportunity to take independent findings to the trustee board, as a valuable trigger for improvements in governance.