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Governing during a pandemic: What are the key things trustees need to be focused on?

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Slides from a webinar broadcast on 30 April 2020. Coronavirus has redefined the way many charities are operating with social distancing measures, a sudden reduction in resources combined with increased need. In this webinar we give you practical tips for some of the key things trustees should be thinking about, and signposting you to useful resources to help you navigate this uncertainty.

Watch the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34H_b2MtNxc

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Governing during a pandemic: What are the key things trustees need to be focused on?

  1. 1. GOVERNING DURING A PANDEMIC: WHAT ARE THE KEY THINGS TRUSTEES NEED TO BE FOCUSED ON? APRIL 2020
  2. 2. Dan Francis Josie Hinton Lorraine Young 2
  3. 3. • Meeting remotely effectively and legally • Key updates from the Charity Commission • Working with the executive in the current environment • Key things trustees should be thinking about, now and in the medium term • Question and answer session WHAT WE WILL COVER
  4. 4. MEETING REMOTELY: EFFECTIVE AND LEGAL MEETINGS
  5. 5. But before we begin… Have you taken part in a virtual board meeting? • Yes but only over the phone/audio call • Yes with audio and video • Not yet
  6. 6. How would you rate the experience? • Very good • Good • Satisfactory • Poor • N/A
  7. 7. THE TECHNOLOGY IS NOT EVERYTHING ...
  8. 8. THE TECHNOLOGY 1 • Make sure everyone has the right equipment • Phone conference or video meeting? • Find the best app for your organisation, try a few if you have a choice • Ensure you are happy with the security levels offered • Provide links to tutorials for the app • Offer practice sessions to build confidence and competence • Provide basic tips on use of video cameras – more later
  9. 9. THE TECHNOLOGY 2 • Open the meeting in good time • Have IT support on standby but also learn to be as self sufficient as possible • Don’t be afraid to try something new – waiting rooms, break out rooms, coffee cups… • Have a back up plan
  10. 10. BE PROFESSIONAL – AVOID PYJAMAS!
  11. 11. PRACTICAL TIPS FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS It’s all about the camera… • Smile • Background • Lighting And the microphone… • Noise
  12. 12. Which platform have you used most often? 1. Zoom 2. Go to meeting 3. Skype 4. Phone conference 5. Other
  13. 13. MORE TOP TIPS • Keep it simple – the agenda and the tech • Follow general good practice for your meetings • Have some ground rules • Communicate clearly • Support and encourage – have a ‘can do’ approach • Feedback – no blame… • Improve and enjoy!
  14. 14. FROM THE COMMISSION
  15. 15. KEEPING IT LEGAL • The Charity Commission has published dedicated guidance for charities Meetings • Check for clauses in governing documents that allow meeting virtually • If silent on digital meetings then video conferencing where you can see and hear best option. ‘Where there is no… clause in your governing document and you decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, we will understand but you should record this decision and that you have done this to demonstrate good governance of your charity’ Charity Commission
  16. 16. OBJECTS Can our charity help efforts to tackle covid-19? • Consider your existing charitable objects • Can you to adapt and respond to covid-19 even if this is indirect? • Be sure not to breach restrictions eg geography • You could change your purpose but check for powers
  17. 17. CHARITY COMMISSION: SERIOUS INCIDENT REPORTING Trustees must continue to report serious incidents using the existing guidelines. Trustee must assess incidents in the context of their charity. Key indicators are: • the scale of financial loss threatens the charity’s ability to operate and serve its beneficiaries • the charity’s financial reserves or other measures are not sufficient to cover the losses.
  18. 18. ‘We understand that many trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them’ Charity Commission April 2020
  19. 19. CHARITY COMMISSION: FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES • Develop a cash flow forecast to give you a clear picture of the coming days, weeks and months • Stop or delay activity to focus on essential spending • Reserves can be spent to help cope • Understand restrictions on your funding and speak with your funders • Opportunities for new or crisis funding • If you are concerned about solvency access the new guidance and seek advice. • Keep collective decision making NCVO has also published new guidance on insolvency.
  20. 20. WORKING WITH THE EXECUTIVE IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT
  21. 21. DON’T BE AN OSTRICH…
  22. 22. COMMUNICATION IS KEY • What do you do if no one has been in touch? • Getting the right balance and what/when to ask • What to expect? • CEO/chair regular calls • CEO/board regular (email) updates • Board calls as required
  23. 23. HOW TO HELP • Don’t overdo it • Offer advice when appropriate and seek feedback • Ask questions • Support and challenge • Be ready for the long haul
  24. 24. SHORT- AND LONG-TERM THINKING
  25. 25. SHORTER TERM 1. How can we keep meeting and making collective decisions remotely? 2. How do we offer support to our staff and volunteers? 3. What decisions should the board make and what can and should be delegated? 4. Are we clear on our financial position and do we have a clear cash flow forecast? 5. Is our charity at risk of insolvency? 6. Can we take advantage of government support, eg furloughing staff or funding? 7. Should we stop or refocus activity or funds and are we able to do this given any restrictions? 8. Can we partner with others to continue to deliver our charitable purpose at this time?
  26. 26. MEDIUM TERM: SCENARIO PLANNING Scenario planning is making assumptions on what the future is going to be and how your operating environment will change overtime. It is impossible to be certain about what will happen but mapping various scenarios can help plan for different outcomes. 1. What are we most uncertain about in the future? 2. In what ways might these uncertainties impact on our charity? 3. Identify a range of different scenarios based on these how might the fallout of each impact on our: • beneficiates and the work we do • staff, their wellbeing and their ability to do their jobs • income and investments • suppliers and funders • partners and other key stakeholders. 4. Develop loose plans for how you would handle these outcomes 5. Identify indicators you might expect to see for the scenarios 6. Keep reviewing and tweaking based on reality
  27. 27. A QUICK REMINDER: NCVO PRACTICAL SUPPORT o All organisations can access our NCVO Knowhow guidance, tools and resources. • Board basics • NCVO’s coronavirus section on Knowhow o NCVO are delivering a series of webinars on topics relevant to the pandemic. Do check out NCVO’s training platform. • Next webinar: Tuesday 5 May - Involving volunteers during the pandemic: What you need to know o Recording and signposting to relevant material will be
  28. 28. QUESTIONS 28
  29. 29. THANK YOU Dan.francis@ncvo.org.uk @mynameisdanfran LinkedIn Josie.Hinton@ncvo.org.uk LinkedIn Lorraine@Lorraineyoung.co.uk @lorraineycosec LinkedIn29

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