A clear management structure is essential for the success of any organisation or project.
You need people with project management skills, business and financial skills, as well as an enthusiastic chair and committed secretary to run the group and undertake all the necessary administration.
Your management structure may be pre-determined (eg parochial church council, managing trustees, or management group), but the principles of good governance are relevant to all.
Members of committees play a vital role in serving their church and community, and bring passion and commitment as well as skills and experience. They should provide long term vision but also protect your reputation and values. Agreed principles, backed by proper procedures and policies help committees members enhance their decision making, increase their accountability and enable them to provide strong leadership whilst encouraging community involvement.
The principles of good governance are also closely linked with the responsibilities of charity trustees and other legal requirements.
According to the Good Governance Code (supported by the Charity Commission) an effective management committee can establish and demonstrate good governance by adhering to six principles:
- understanding the board’s role
- doing what the organisation was set up to do
- working effectively
- behaving with integrity
- openness and accountability
The Good Governance Code: code for smaller organisations
KnowHow NonProfit: governance
If you are planning a major project, such as building work or a heritage interpretation scheme, it might be worth setting up a dedicated project management group (separate from but closely linked to the church management committee).
This could allow you to involve people with specialist skills, perhaps apply for a different range of funding (if the group has a dedicated constitution) or even do something not allowed within the governing document of your church committee (such as trading).
Make sure that you set the group up with the right legal structure and protections for the project you are going to manage, and that you ensure good governance in the same way as you would for your church management committee.
National Churches Trust: setting up a friends group