Principle 1:
Understanding the Board’s Role

1. Understanding the organisation

Activity: Board Members Facts and Figures Quiz

A simple quiz to help board members check their knowledge of their organisation:

2. Understanding their individual role

The Charity Commission publication ‘The Essential Trustee’ (CC3), is an introductory guide to being a charity trustee.  It can be downloaded free from the Charity Commission’s website

Role Descriptions

NCVO’s ‘Trustee Recruitment Resources for Small Organisations’ includes an exercise to help you develop a tailored role description for trustees. It is free for NCVO members.

There is a model role description for a trustee in NCVO’s ‘Good Practice in Trustee Recruitment Toolkit’ and is free for members.

It is useful to have separate role descriptions for your Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to cover the duties they have in addition to their general trustee role.

NCVO lists typical additional duties for these positions on the ‘Model Role Descriptions’.

ICSA also has guidance notes on the above roles, duties, responsibilities and the difference between management and governance.  These can be downloaded from the Policy and Guidance section of the ICSA website.

The recruitment agency Prospectus has produced some model role descriptions for the roles of Trustee, Chair and Treasurer

Activity: Governing, Managing or Doing?

An exercise to help board members to identify whether an activity is governing, managing or doing – and whether they are acting as a volunteer or board member when they undertake a particular activity:

3. Understanding the collective responsibility

Activity: Collective Responsibility

A scenario and questions that encourage board members to explore the idea and consequences of collective responsibility: