At last month’s Gathering we ran an event called Lessons Learnt from Charity Scandals where we looked at some common themes of recent high profile third sector crises.

We said from the start that we weren’t going to wash anyone’s dirty linen in public, but instead would discuss how to prevent any scary scandals, bad publicity and reputational damage.

Guess what conclusion we reached – it all comes down to good governance.

That’s why this month’s Building Better Governance Programme is a must for anyone with a responsibility for governance in their organisation. We’ve got just a few places left, so here’s five of the secrets we’ll reveal to help you avoid becoming tomorrow’s front page tabloid headline.

1. Board accountability

Who is your Board accountable to? And what for?

These are pretty big questions, but they’re ones you have to ask.

It’s the Board’s responsibility to build trust and confidence in your organisation. Never has this been more important than in the current time of intense media scrutiny, fundraising scandals and increasing public cynicism. But board accountability goes beyond meeting the regulatory requirements. It’s also about understanding and balancing sometimes conflicting expectations from a range of people with varying interests and agendas.

The BBG Programme will help your board understand its legal responsibilities and whether it’s meeting them. But more than that, it will enable you to identify the range of stakeholders interested in and affected by your work.

2. Board evaluation

How well is your Board performing? Does it add real value to you organisation? How do you know?

Board evaluation is key to board effectiveness. If you don’t have a system of performance review and learning, your board risks complacency and stagnation, and ultimately governance failure.

The BBG Programme looks at ways to assess how well your Board is performing, so you can build a shared understanding of what good governance looks like. It explores ways to introduce periodic review for individuals and a team, which can be uncomfortable and meet with resistance.

3. Board strategy

Why, how and when should your board be involved in strategy? Does your board know the difference between governance and day to day management?

One of the most important roles for your board is to develop the strategy for your organisation and set its short, medium and long term plans and priorities. The BBG Programme explores the role of the board in strategy setting, and looks at practical tools and new approaches to help your board be confident in setting and monitoring strategic goals.

4. Board Dynamics

Do all your trustees to understand their roles and responsibilities? Does your top team have a good quality, effective and functioning relationship?

Recent scandals south of the border highlighted the importance of board dynamics. Dominant and disruptive personalities can derail any good work your organisation does, so effective governance demands that you have checks and balances to make sure this doesn’t happen.

The BBG Programme looks at board dynamics and the collective roles and responsibilities of all trustees as leaders, and will help you clarify boundaries and expectations between the board and senior staff.

5. Board reports and meetings

Are your trustees well informed, actively engaged and decisive at meetings?

The final module in the BBG Programme concentrates on good meeting practice and how effective board reports can enable your trustees to be confident in risk management and setting and monitoring strategic goals. You will learn how to encourage critical thinking in the boardroom, and get tips and techniques to help ensure your trustees fully engage and participate.

So what are you waiting for? Make sure you avoid scandal by Building Better Governance.

And before you go – have a look at our video from the previous event, where participants gave their top tips for trustees.