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Board Development

Our Board Development experts are committed to supporting charity and non-profit boards to excel.

Our board audits and performance and effectiveness reviews identify opportunities and weaknesses that allow you to future-proof your board.

Contact us to find out more!

Building a successful board

We help you to attract diverse people relevant to your strategic direction. Our board review and development services help you to get the most from them.

We recognise that boards need to be increasingly agile, more diverse, and continually develop the talent and skills of their board members. Social purpose organisations and their boards need to be more inclusive, and role model ways of working that show the values and behaviours associated with positive leadership. We develop positive human dynamics while ensuring your board retains clear oversight of your strategy, exercises strong risk management, and executes your governance responsibilities.

Our approach

We provide high-quality board recruitment services, structured board skills and diversity audits, insightful board effectiveness reviews, and access to experienced board induction and development support.

As experienced board members ourselves, we understand the challenges that come with balancing better governance with a focus on social purpose and delivering tangible outcomes.

Boards don’t succeed just because of the people on them. Board members need clarity on their role, ongoing development and opportunities to reflect and learn. Boards need strong leadership and a culture that promotes strategic and generative thinking. An inclusive culture based on openness and trust takes time to establish. Good boards are constantly evolving and their development work is ongoing.

We step inside your board meetings and walk the experience with you. Our approach is a mix of gathering quantitative data and qualitative insights. We consider your board profile, look at your current process, and explore the perspectives of individual board members and senior staff members. Our deeper evaluations allow us to review the quality of your papers and your board structures, observe meeting dynamics, and ask your board to reflect on their roles and what an effective board looks like.

Most importantly, we create a safe environment to talk about what works well and what needs to improve.

We distil our insights into a report, then go through the findings and recommendations with you.  Finally, we work with you to build an action plan with stages priorities, often involving both individual opportunities for development and a board recruitment/succession strategy.

What we do

Board Audits

Our audits examine the skills, experience and competencies of your board currently. We consider what it needs for the next 2-3 years and identify the strengths and potential gaps within the current board. Our audits gather insights into the personal characteristics and human dynamics of the board including its diversity profile and behaviours. We set all of this in the context of the emerging challenges and opportunities.

Our audits are tailored but typically include:

  • A fact-finding meeting, usually with at least two board members and the senior staff member.
  • An online questionnaire covering skills, inclusion practices, background and experience alongside a board diversity profile and assessment of future board requirements.
  • Analysis of responses.
  • Short Report providing a summary of findings and recommendations.
  • Debrief meeting to bring findings to life, answer any questions and set you on the path to action.

Board Performance and Effectiveness Reviews

We have strong knowledge of a range of codes and frameworks including the Charity Governance Code and Sports Governance Code (Sport England).

For organisations pursuing excellence in board performance, our Board Effectiveness Review explores more deeply the effectiveness of meetings, board structures and decision making. It considers the current context, looks at board dynamics and behaviours and assesses the current skills, diversity and experience profile. Using the relevant Code, we look at good practice and identify areas for attention.

With an appropriate blend of face to face and online interaction, we connect with the board and senior staff team to bring the richest insights to our work. The service typically includes:

  • Briefing Meeting to establish the scope of the Board Review, understand the current context and drivers, agree on key milestones and expectations.
  • Desk Review of your articles, strategy, relevant board policies and key documents and the most recent board pack.
  • Board Meeting Observation in person or online depending on how your organisation is currently meeting.
  • Structured Interviews usually by video, with all board members and members of the senior staff team.
  • Our online questionnaire covers board member backgrounds and your diversity profile as well as board behaviours and practices.
  • Governance Code Assessment maps current board practice against the relevant Governance Code.
  • Full Report on the findings for the review, identifying board strengths, areas for development and providing practical recommendations.
  • A facilitated board session concludes the engagement, exploring findings and agreeing an action plan.

Organisations we have supported with Board Reviews

“Thanks for the excellent review, report and process with the board and exec. Everyone’s view was that the review went deeper and gave much more detail than previous evaluations and, as a result, it will lead to much more valuable practical and positive change. The action plan will be the stimulus for that follow-up. We could already see the improvements at play yesterday, the participatory approach to the review, the warmth and depth of the introductions, the added detail on the agenda and papers. I want to take the opportunity to thank Sarah for her outstanding work.”

Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd

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