The third sector relies hugely upon the commitment of tens of thousands of volunteers to serve as Trustees. As the Taken on Trust report states, ‘Trustees’ responsibilities remain both onerous and non-transferable’. Increased media scrutiny, rising demand for services and financial challenges are all adding pressure on Trustees.
All these factors mean that Trustees need to clearly understand their role how best to work with executive teams. Clearly, schedules of delegation and terms of reference of committees are important in achieving this. But in practice, especially in high pressure situations, it is not always easy to distinguish between who is responsible for what. This is when culture and relationships are vital.
db associates can run run one day workshops, looking at how to develop practical approaches to how Trustees and senior staff can operate in partnership. Alternatively, we can offer more in depth reviews of governance practice for existing charities, or advice on setting up new ones. We are also now an approved consultant with Digi-Board, the on-line governance tool which makes the whole process of governance reviews easier, more thorough and more cost efficient.
With a growing sense that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many organisations are now looking at their longer term strategy. db associates recently worked with St Catherine’s Hospice, Preston on their board away day.
Lynn Kelly, the hospice’s CEO commented, ‘The Trustees were keen to understand how our new strategy related to the challenges facing the hospice sector in these unpredictable times. After over a year of not meeting face to face and with several new additions, they also wanted to be updated on their duties and responsibilities.
'David was an excellent lead facilitator for these aspects of the day. His knowledge and experience of the hospice sector and charitable governance proved of real benefit and really helped ensure the success of our time together.‘
db associates advised the Salford Foundation how to resolve a challenging governance issue relating to a subsidiary charity and the nature of its relationship with the parent charity.
'David provided us with expert support around some complex governance issues which were difficult to navigate. He demonstrated that he was very knowledgeable; perceptive; solution focused; and sensitive to the human and interpersonal dimension of difficult issues. David rose to the challenge and was very responsive and flexible as further questions arose. I would highly recommend David to other charities who need an objective and external view of affairs, delivered with professionalism and discretion. ' Phil East, CEO, Salford Foundation
For the last two years, db associates has facilitated a
strategic away day for the trustees and leadership team of Rowans Hospice in
Portsmouth. In November 2019, the theme of the day was to look at the opportunities for joint strategic working with other organisations.
Ruth White, CEO, said, 'David provided us with a great framework for the day, combining sessions for all of us with thought provoking exercises in smaller groups. His knowledge of the wider sector and examples of other collaborative activities helped us to think about the opportunities in a different way.'
Chair John Watkins added, 'As a new Chair, I found the day really helpful in understanding more about the wider context in which the hospice operates. As we had a number of new trustees, it also proved very helpful in bringing us together as a group and working alongside members of the senior team. We have had lots of positive feedback from the event and I would
endorse David to other hospices and charities who are looking for someone to provoke their thinking.'
Emperor is a Corporate Communications business with 200 staff and five offices based around the UK. The company wanted to set up its own Charitable Foundation to help co-ordinate, strengthen and focus its charitable activity. Emperor asked DB Associates to help it achieve this.
"David helped us enormously over the last six months to get to the point where we have our Foundation approved and established. He has demonstrated patience, understanding and perseverance in equal and significant measure in getting us to this stage. We all feel much more confident with his support as we are about to embark on organising our first charitable ventures under the umbrella of the Emperor Foundation."
Simon Newton, Chief Financial Officer, Emperor