Steering a board to new goals
"We were impressed by the way that Action Planning got to know our organisation, its people and its aims before they gave advice on our governance. This meant that their guidance and help was tailored and focused on the key issues. David led our trustees deftly through the areas in which the board could improve and was not afraid to provide challenges during the process. All the board were delighted by the resulting modern governance framework we now have."
CHRIS MUNDAY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CROSSWAYS COMMUNITY
Crossways Community is a Christian charity that provides residential care and support for adults aged 18-65 with acute mental health issues. Two years ago it took on a new Chief Executive, Chris Munday, and tasked him with modernising the charity and its operations. A year into his tenure, Chris took the step of asking Action Planning to help him make some essential improvements to the charity’s governance, particularly the lack of policies and clarity on the roles of the board members. We had not worked with Crossways before but were chosen after being interviewed by the Chair and by Chris, who had found us online when searching for ‘Christian Governance’.
Chris asked us to review Crossways’ governance procedures and policies and to develop new ones to fill the gaps, then to work with the Board to explore their purpose and responsibilities, and to bring their attention to what other organisations of a similar size and style were doing.
David Saint met with every trustee individually, giving them the opportunity to speak in confidence and express their hopes and concerns. Informed by these interviews, David drew up a series of policies and procedures, which he then shared with the trustees for fine-tuning in a half day workshop.
Establishing a more open culture and a comprehensive set of policies, including a retirement policy, enabled the members of the Board to be clearer about their role in the organisation. This gave three of the trustees, who had been thinking of standing down, the confidence to do so and three strong replacements were recruited. The board now have a better understanding of their role and Chris reports that their questioning has become better and more insightful, and they demand more of the charity’s staff.
The most difficult part of any role is not knowing what we don’t know. A specialist consultant can provide a structured and incisive approach, saving a great deal of time and anxiety, and making the seemingly-complex much more straightforward.