"...unwritten policy is sometimes thought to be so clear that no one feels the need to write it down and, at the same time, so variously interpreted as to border on being capricious."
John Carver, Boards that Make a Difference, Jossey-Bass 2006
A set of clearly written board policies or a charter provide guidance to a board. They complement the Constitution but are more flexible and responsive to changing needs and circumstances. They can be easily amended by the board when necessary. A board charter or set of policies and procedures covers:
The board's vision, the results the organisation is to pursue and guiding principles or values.
Processes and procedures of the board that are not described in the Constitution or relevant legislation, or not described to the level of detail required.
Roles, responsibilities and norms expected of the board, individual directors and office-holders on the board such as the Chair and Treasurer, including codes of ethics and conduct.
The structure and terms of reference of board committees.
The relationship between the board and the organisation and what has been delegated by the board to the Chief Executive Officer.
How the board monitors and evaluates itself, the Chief Executive Officer and the organisation.
The policies and procedures can form part of a board and director toolkit with other items such as the Constitution, relevant legislation, the annual board calendar, and various templates for reporting, agendas, board minutes, committee reports etc.
We will review existing board policies to make them useful and useable. We can also tailor a set of board policies specifically for your board and include other important items as part of a comprehensive board and director toolkit.
Contact us if you have any questions or would like assistance in developing a set of policies and procedures or a full board toolkit.
A policy describes a position or approach and guides decisions. Procedures and guidelines set out steps to be taken in some detail.
There are immense advantages to having a board toolkit that includes board policies and procedures.
Clarity for decision-making
Avoid re-inventing the wheel
Excellent induction material for incoming directors
Clarifies roles and responsibilities
Sets out what is expected of directors and the Chief Executive Officer
Frees up time. Instead of dilly-dallying over decisions that are similar to ones already made, or over procedural matters, the board can get on with the main governance tasks of leading, setting strategic directions and monitoring the organisation.