What is governance?
Governance is “The process by which a group of people make decisions that direct their collective efforts” The other notable feature of governance is that usually this role is delegated to a representative group “the committee”. There must therefore be some communication between the wider group and the committee. The wider group may be strictly defined as members or they may be a more vaguely defined group often termed ‘the stakeholders’.
Governance simply describes the way you govern (or rule, or to put it more diplomatically – control and direct). In this case we’re talking about an organisation that is voluntary or with a social purpose, and generally not for profit. But there are parallels to the governance of any enterprise – even for profit ones and of course there are distant parallels with the governance of states. It can be helpful to break governance down into 4 areas;
- the committee members themselves
- how the committee is structured
- how the various structures link together
- the tasks and roles that are fulfilled.
The answers in the FAQs 1 to 9 (below) approximately follow this sequence (about committee members, about the structure and running of committees and finally what the role actually entails). For a more detailed definition go to the Wikipedia entry for Small Charity Governance.
Why do we have committees?
Next FAQ : Who are the committee members?