This guest blog is by Michael Bracey, acting chair of the NYA.
If Kids Company was a wakeup call for the charity sector, then the Charity Commission seem determined to keep the lights on.
When the regulator published its annual casework report right at the end of 2015, they took the opportunity to highlight the risks that arise when ‘dominant individuals’ take on excessive levels of control.
In many organisations this can be a difficult issue. It can be a thin line between exercising strong leadership and becoming over-controlling and unaccountable. Charity chief executives are no different than other senior figures. They might have a right to be heard, a right to express what they think needs to be done and how. But they also have a responsibility to reflect the views of those trustees that ultimately employ them and manage the business in way that is transparent and open to challenge.
Trustees, and there is an astonishing 943,000 of them in England and Wales, are critically important in ensuring good governance. They need to be given the opportunity to use their skills and experience and embrace their role in policy making and resource management. They are not just there to attend fundraisers and nod through an annual set of accounts.
At the National Youth Agency we are currency refreshing the way our board works so that our trustees can take an even more proactive role in the organisation. We welcome the Charity Commission’s strong position and the helpful message that trustees need to avoid allowing any one individual from becoming bigger than the organisation.