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January 27th, 2021UncategorizedGeoffrey Hand 0 Comments

If your charity has adopted the Charity Governance Code you will know the importance of a Charity Trustee Board in providing the strong leadership so essential to your charity’s effectiveness and well-being.
The key leadership players will be your charity’s Chair and its senior employee, the charity’s CEO. Their good working relationship is fundamental to the effective delivery of your charity’s objects and to maintaining your charity’s ethos, vision and reputation.

Terms of Office
But Charity Trustees including the Chair come and go. Their terms of office are dictated by your charity’s governing document. Three-year terms are common, subject often to re-election and to a cumulative maximum of nine years. But employment law bestows on a Charity CEO far greater security of tenure. A Charity CEO may well out-see a succession of Charity Trustee Chairs.
A dominant empire-building CEO can run rings around a newly-incumbent Chair of Charity Trustees.
So beware the CEO who overstays his/her welcome.

Employment Law
Access to expertise in employment law is nowadays an essential of good governance. Harriet Broughton is a partner in specialist charity lawyers Stone King . She advises “start off on the right footing with a well-worded Contract of Employment.  This should include a clear job description including express limits on the CEO’s role and authority and a robust appraisal system”. Harriet cautions that the simple expedient of a fixed term contract is unlikely to be effective as the expiry of the fixed term (after 2 years) would need a “fair” reason to dismiss.

Warning Signs
Unfortunately problems between the Chair of Charity Trustees and the charity’s CEO are not uncommon. Extreme length of service is a clear warning sign.
Twice recently I have been consulted by charities in dispute with their CEO; the one had been in office for 13 years and the other for 14 years.
In both cases the CEO resented any challenge to their authority. They resisted any intrusion into their complex network of contacts and collaborators. One case developed from apparent intrigue into a full investigation of fraud, putting the charity’s  reputation at risk.

I’m here to help
So, if your charity is having problems with an over-staying or difficult CEO or if your suspicions are aroused, let me know.

I have been there before and would be happy to help you out.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Geoffrey Hand

Geoffrey Hand is a charity governance consultant, offering governance consultancy and training. He also provides legal services management, helping charities get better value for money from their lawyers. Geoffrey has extensive experience in the charity and legal worlds, and his mission is to help charities deliver good governance.

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