Guidance on Roles, Reporting and Governance
When an organisation is put under added pressure beyond it’s normal daily operation, the established routine will be tested. In the case of COVID-19, almost everything that we considered normal has changed and we have had to adapt to a developing situation on an almost daily basis. An important area for organisations to consider therefore is the effect that a crisis will have on roles, reporting and internal communication.
With the challenges that we are all facing, cohesiveness, communication and support have never been more important to ensure an organisation is able to function as effectively as possible. Demands on all staff, volunteers and Trustees are significant and an appreciation of these differing pressures and challenges will allow everyone to work together to overcome them. The interaction between senior staff and their Trustees is particularly important and this will be looked at in the following few paragraphs.
Time is something that we are all short of at the best of times and today that resource is even more precious. Conference calls and video meetings have become very much part of our new ‘normal’ and an important element of communication within an organisation but can be extremely time consuming. In times of crisis, don’t forget the things that allowed your organisation to work effectively and efficiently pre-COVID-19. A review of these will be necessary to meet changing needs but working to an agreed plan will mean that senior staff and their Trustees can perform the role they are in place for to deliver that plan.
For Managers, this might mean agreeing a different way of updating their Trustees – perhaps more often but with an agreed scope of reporting that allows them time back to react to the constantly changing financial and operational landscape. Some elements of the job description for senior roles within an organisation may need to be put on hold for other priorities specific to the current challenges being faced to take precedent.
For Trustees, this could be their own review of the role and function of a Trustee in support of their charity staff members. The Charity Commission website has many excellent documents specifically written for Trustees and the governance of charities. The Essential Trustee (CC03) is a good starting point and provides clear guidance on what charity Trustees need to know and need to do to fulfill their role effectively.