New sustainable governance guide published

Effective, sustainable boards regularly review their performance, skills and composition. We’ve just published our Sustainable Governance resource to help you do just that.

It’s a customisable self-assessment, drawing on recognised good practice from a range of sources. It can be edited to include any criteria that are important for your organisation, for example lived experience, subject-specific knowledge, or future strategic developments.

Does the world need another governance tool?

Other governance checklists already exist, so we were cautious about creating another. However, after years of being asked to recommend or tailor existing ones, we decided to collate everything that boards have found helpful into one place.

Trustees often find they have to shoehorn themselves into governance templates they borrow from elsewhere. As consultants and facilitators, we also got tired of trying to convince boards to take their sustainability, composition and diversity seriously. Governance templates usually focus on skills and gloss over composition. Few at all address trustee behaviour.

Our Sustainable Governance checklist references several good quality, credible self-assessments, so charities can make informed decisions about the right tool for them.

However, Sustainable Governance is the only guide we know that:

  • Is free
  • Is freely downloadable, no log in or registration required
  • Focuses on skills, composition and behaviours
  • Allows comparison of individual and collective views
  • Enables text entry of comments, scores and reflections
  • Uses a Creative Commons licence to encourage sharing and adapting.
How to use it

Use Sustainable Governance to inform board discussions, away days, governance reviews and trustee recruitment. Work through it as a team or collate individual responses to inform subsequent discussion.

Sustainable Governance is designed to be used by trustees, but it is worth including others, such as chief officers and managers. Consider protecting anonymity by collecting responses via an online survey tool or independent facilitator.

(That’s not a sales pitch! We don’t tend to have capacity for one-off board facilitation, but we do welcome enquiries about board reviews, succession plans and exit strategies, and strategic planning processes.)

Of course, we’ve got more to say about good governance than we had room for in this short resource! We’re hoping to publish more related resources in due course, but check out our related guides to Sustainable Leadership, Succession Planning and Knowledge Management.

This short case study on board succession might also be of interest.

Where to get it

Download your copy here.