Over the past 18 months I can’t count the number of meetings or events that I have attended that have improving the governance of our Sector as the key focus. This is why our Policy Day Reception this year is focussed on promotion of good governance. Good governance of small and local charities and community groups is the centre of organisations that are thriving.
The recent Lords Report said “Charities are the eyes, ears and conscience of society. They mobilise, they provide, they inspire, they advocate and they unite. From small local organisations run entirely by volunteers to major global organisations with turnovers in the hundreds of millions, their work touches almost every facet of British civic life”. From the report, which was wide-ranging, it is clear that charities contribute greatly to civil society.
Governance was a key focus of the report, part of which covered training and development, an area that is a clear aim of the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI). This is why over the coming 18 months the FSI is going to be increasing the learning opportunities it offers to our members in the six key areas of the Essential Trustee.
On Policy Day of Small Charity Week we will release the first two videos of the series covering: ‘Carrying out Purpose for Public Benefit’ and ‘Managing Resources Responsibly’. These two short videos will be freely available, through the FSI website and we hope that they support trustees of small and local charities to gain a clearer understanding of their statutory responsibilities in a straightforward and easy to use medium. We will also be promoting a range of toolkits focussing on governance, again these can be accessed through the General Resources section of the FSI website.
There is growing momentum to ensure that all charities, large and small are being governed efficiently and effectively. The FSI will play its part by ensuring that we provide a range of blended learning opportunities tailored to meet the needs of those who, for whatever reason are unable to make face to face training and to suit trustees who cannot access learning in working hours.
In the Lords Report there were clear conclusions including 42 recommendations and there was a strong message for organisations like the FSI to collaborate with other organisations to ensure that we respond proactively.
Clearly the area where we can add real value is in training and development and we promise our members that it will be a clear objective to support good governance in the years ahead. If our organisations are governed well we will reap the benefits of increased public trust which in turn will ensure that we are able to attract support and build sustainability for the future.
Pauline Broomhead, CBE is the founding CEO of the FSI, the small charity behind Small Charity Week and a membership organisation for small and local charities and community organisations (those with a turnover under £1.5 million). Membership is free and provides access to a suite of free or very heavily subsidised learning opportunities, including training and conferences. www.thefsi.org