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Case studies

Why we're changing governance to ensure our future

1 Nov 2014

Natasha Hart, founder and chief executive, Newham All Star Sports Academy, explains why being named Overall Winner at this year's Charity Awards, made her realise the charity needed to change.

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Why we're changing governance to ensure our future

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Why are you telling me this?

Steve Powell, chief executive of SignHealth, explains how he improved trust between himself and his board.

Complacent management and over-trusting trustees

This is a well established charitable company. Trustees are the only company members. The charity has had a very good reputation in its field. The last inspection report gave it a two rather than a three-star (excellent) rating which it normally gets.

When the board and chief executive's ideas for the future of the charity differ

This is a highly respected international charity and is a company limited by guarantee. Trustees are the only company members. The board is highly skilled and provides strong governance.

Misplaced trust in chair and executive

This year, the charity expects a turnover of just over £22m, double that of the previous year. The charity has had four years of significant growth with funding pouring in and the number of public service contracts soaring.

Good advice, but there is an important point to add: merger is rarely a proper answer to impending insolvency.

» Trustees ignoring looming insolvency

Beware the powerful expert

Readers of governance will be familiar with the concept of ‘founder syndrome’. That is to say, where either an individual or corporate body that has been responsible for promoting or setting up a new charity seeks to thwart (whether wittingly or otherwise) the orderly running of its activities and strategic direction by the properly appointed body of trustees... More often than not founder syndrome can be sorted out by a board of trustees taking a grip of the problem and acting collectively. A few years ago however I encountered a more virulent strain of the condition. Indeed, looking back on it, I fear I may have witnessed a dangerous mutation which crossed a nascent Napoleon complex with the founder syndrome to produce what I will name ‘the founder’s expert acolyte’.

Preparing for closure

Stephen Dunmore, interim chief executive, discusses the governance issues facing trustees of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund as it plans its demise. Defining governance in its fullest sense always seems slightly problematic, since most definitions focus on processes, structures and compliance with laws. However, most of us who work in civil society know intuitively that governance is far wider in scope than a standard, technical definition might imply.

A young board which is constantly learning

Ani Brooker, vice chair of Young Advisors, describes the role the charity takes in making sure that youth leadership is not tokenistic, but genuine and meaningful empowerment.

Dealing with a thick-skinned troublesome trustee

Rose Wilson and Su Sayer offer advice as to how best to deal with a difficult trustee who just won't budge.

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Data protection - threats to charities

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Feelings of security

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