Governance tip 3 – Write down who is responsible for which decisions

You can call this a schedule of delegation, or you can call it a list, but without it you are likely at some point in the future either to A. Spend copious amounts of time discussing responsibility for, rather than taking, a key decision, or, more importantly, B. Discover too late that a poor decision was taken and implemented by the wrong person.

A record of which decisions are to be taken by senior staff and which are taken by the board is a vital tool in contemporary charity governance. Large organisations are likely to have staff experienced in drafting a formal schedule of delegation document. CEOs of smaller charities should be able to draft a document covering the following key points in less than an hour:

  • levels of financial authority
  • setting of budgets
  • recruitment – of trustees, CEO, senior staff
  • strategy – writing and agreeing
  • signing contracts and entering into contractual partnerships
  • compliance with charity and company law
  • approving policy
  • safeguarding policy and practice
  • speaking on behalf of the charity
  • deciding staff salaries and terms & conditions
  • dealing with complaints
  • creating new staff posts
  • managing staff
  • deciding on redundancies and restructures
  • risk management.

It doesn’t need to be long, and some of it may not be definitive, but drafting a document now is likely to save time and pain in future.

This is one of a series of Practical governance tips for charity Chairs and Chief Executives.