Governance Propriety – mixing governance and management

Mixing Governance and Management In many voluntary organisations those who direct or manage the actual activities of the entity may attend meetings of those who govern it on an ex officio basis.  In the balance of this article I will refer to that person as a “manager,” to cover managers, coaches, directors, conductors, and any similar person, and to the governance body as the “committee.”  Some problems can arise as a result: The manager may start being treated as, or may start acting as, a member of the committee. The manager may prepare agendas and minutes, to a degree controlling what the committee discusses and how its discussions and decisions are recorded, If the manager is sent all agendas and minutes it may become difficult for those governing to deal with issues involving the manager without some embarrassment and subterfuge. Those dealing with the manager may make incorrect assumptions about that person’s authority. Where those governing insist on being involved (for instance in deciding who gets awards) those in management are likely to say “don’t they trust” us, when the issue is not trust but protecting those in both governance and management from criticism (for instance, of cronyism). Where the manager is either deemed to be, or is elected as, a member of the committee those problems are compounded, and the manager cannot bring to the committee the necessary degree of independence expected of committee members.  If those in governance are also paid employees of, or contractors to, the entity individuals can then, effectively, be employing or engaging themselves, determining their own performance indicators, remuneration and perks (an example...