GOVERNANCE & CLUBMARK
McGarry Consulting can improve your governance, update your policies and procedures, and refresh your constitution. We can also help you meet clubmark, comply with funder requirements and identify key gaps and training needs.
WHAT IS GOVERNANCE?
Governance refers to how an organisation is managed. It is the framework of rules, practices and policies by which a board (or management committee) ensures accountability, fairness, transparency and sound ethics. The concept encompasses a variety of issues and affects everyone within the organisation. Governance is ongoing and needs to be continually tested and developed. McGarry Consulting can provide independent and objective support to improve and/or update your governance.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
In the worst-case scenario – do you know what you could be held liable for? However, it is better to think of governance in terms of three key questions: (1) can people’s leadership or skills be improved; (2) could the organisation be run more smoothly and/or more effectively; and (3) is your board sufficiently aware of risks, finances, insurances, conflicts of interest and their compliance/legal obligations?
Governance is often not appreciated until things go wrong and poor governance, fraud, maladministration or slack procedures are blamed. It impacts on organisations of all shapes and sizes, corporate and community based. Almost weekly, you can find newspaper articles on how some business or organisation has lost money or is being hampered by poor governance. If you’ve ever been involved in a committee and thought this could run better, then there is room for improved governance.
PAPERWORK V WHAT HAPPENS IN PRACTICE
Funders, investors, staff and customers increasingly demand good governance from organisations. Governance is often more about the collective culture, leadership and impact of personalities within an organisation as having appropriate policies and procedures in place. If an organisation cannot demonstrate it has sufficient governance, funders/creditors and members can lose confidence in the organisation; and staff/volunteers can become disaffected with the board considered increasingly ineffective.
Clubmark, and similar quality assurance schemes, are increasingly required of clubs. This forces clubs to review their governance. Many community organisations and sports clubs, set up their constitution and key documents at the start and rarely look at them again. Is your constitution up-to-date, is it relevant to what you’re doing, want to do and could it even pose you a risk? We can help look at your constitution and review other key documents.
DOES MY COMMUNITY GROUP NEED TO BE A CHARITY?
Some non-profit organisations, especially if they own or rent land could consider becoming a charity. Alternatively, there may be pressure on your organisation to become a charity when it doesn’t need to be. It may not be appropriate for many small organisations. Other avenues include a Community Interest Company (CIC) and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC). CICs are companies registered at Companies House, and is a format increasingly used by many social economy organisations. CASC’s are approved by HMRC and allow tax relief for sports clubs, providing certain conditions are met. When considering tax, it is best to get the opinion of a tax expert; especially when making changes to your legal and accounting structure. The new Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has also increased the compliance and regulatory environment for many community groups and charities; and you should be aware how this may impact you. McGarry Consulting can help you navigate this complex area and signpost further support if and where required.
Related Concepts: Board Meetings, Project Management, Financial Management, Risk Management, Leadership, Policies & Procedures