We all have a part to play – are you playing yours……

I have found myself over the last few weeks wondering how best as a Board Member I can help the organisations and people that I serve. COVID-19 has not stopped the need for good governance, what it has done has forced us all to think and work differently – this is not such a bad thing. Virtual Board Meetings have been easier than I imagined and having experienced how effective they have been over the last couple of weeks, I actually am wondering why on earth have we had not been doing this long before now?

Whether you sit on a board in the public, third or private sector you will need to ensure effective governance and decision making to support your organisation and teams throughout this pandemic. There has been much advice placed online recently from The Institute of Directors, CO3, Charity Commission for Northern IrelandSupporting CommunitiesSocial Enterprise Northern Ireland  Department for Communities and Department of Finance . What I will do over the coming weeks is share where appropriate, some key governance messages, keep you updated on the recruitment plans for Boardroom Apprentice 2020 and any Boardroom Opportunities as they arise.

We cannot take a COVID-19 break from our #Governance roles and responsibilities. The part that Trustees, Board Members and Non-Executives can play right now (along with #StayingAtHome to #FightBack) is to ensure good governance so that our organisations and our senior teams can focus on the delivering the services.

Here are a few key points on meetings and decision making during the COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Meeting via telephone or video calling is the best and right option.
    • Ensure your governing documents allow you to meet virtually and take decisions
    • if not, then look to updating your governing document to reflect this
    • if that is not possible just now, then record your decisions and approach in line with good governance
  • As a Board you need to take decisions and you may need to meet more frequently
    • A quorum of members is required so that decisions can be acted upon, if not then you will have to wait until the next meeting.
    • Where needed, secure all external support and advice to help you make the right decisions
    • Record your decisions fully
  • Don’t put meetings off ‘until this is all over’ – your staff/volunteers will need you to meet and take decisions. Some decisions you will/may have to take:
    • Reviewing your objects to see if you can help with the coronavirus efforts
    • Furloughing staff and/or working from home
    • Seeking financial support (ensuring you are solvent)
    • Prioritising services
    • Re-purposing facilities
    • Ceasing some elements of what you do temporarily
    • Ensuring safeguarding for volunteers and staff
    • Postponing AGMs

These are challenging times for everyone. Our staff and volunteers are not immune from that. Whilst they try to manage work and home life together, finding new ways to deliver our services to support some of our most vulnerable – they too will need support.

Time for compassionate governing, reach out and be kind.

If any Boards and CEOs need advice or guidance, please feel free to get in touch.

In the meantime, #StayAtHome, #StaySafe and #Fightback.


About Eileen