Governance

"Getting your governance structure right, taking time to understand the dynamics of Board relationships and regularly reviewing your governance processes are fundamental to the success of your organisation. Without good governing practices, your beneficiaries will suffer."

Fiona Ash & Caroline Copeman, Cass CCE Governance Experts

We specialise in nonprofit governance. We have worked with scores of boards from different sub-sectors at different stages of development. This helps us understand of how different approaches work in different contexts and enables us to tailor our approach for your unique circumstances and resources.

We are delighted that the recently published Charity Governance Code has brought attention and a strong focus on continuous improvement and applying the seven Code principles will help charities and their trustees develop and maintain high standards of governance.

Many of our team serve as trustees in a range of nonprofits. We don’t just talk about boards; we serve on them and understand the reality.

Our services

We offer a wide range of Governance Support Services. In particular, we specialise in:

  • Board and Governance reviews
  • Board Development programmes
  • Targeted interventions and support

Case Studies

You can read and download the full case study here.

This was one of a number of governance reviews undertaken as part of a large-scale project with Hospice UK. To find out more about this, read our report about the board development programme which Cass CCE designed and led for Hospice UK.

Our commitment to good governance

As part of our commitment to improve governance across the sector, we have cultivated the Honorary Treasurers Forum and the Association of Chairs.

Our published research, guides and toolkits include:

Governance Reviews

Cass CCE has a tried and tested methodology for governance review and board development which we adapt in discussion with you and which can be seen as a menu of options.

Using this methodology - and discussed and agreed with you - our reviews explore and include the key areas of board practice and governance, such as:

  • Your governing documents and other relevant documentation e.g. role profiles, terms of reference, handbooks and codes of conduct etc.
  • Governance basics, for example, board structures, meetings practices, representation/understanding of the different aspects of need and opportunity, recruitment, diversity and renewal/succession, conflicts of interest, stakeholder engagement
  • Skills, knowledge and experience gaps/development needs
  • Board performance review activities (individual and collective)
  • Board behaviours (individuals and as a team) particularly in relation to your values and culture
  • Information flows, reporting lines and structures including board agenda construction and content, policy approval, delegated authority, risk and control
  • Performance management - how your Board monitors the performance of the organisation, the processes involved and its rigour - and sets the strategic direction.

Our Evaluation Framework

Our review process draws on - and adapts as necessary to meet the needs of the organisation - a range of approaches to inform the work, taking account of governance models from both corporate and nonprofit sectors to analyse and review the organisation's governance practice.

To focus and structure the review and reporting process, we have developed a highly effective evaluation and assessment framework that uses structures and learning from a range of key sources including the latest Charity and Corporate Governance Codes and models such as Chait, Ryan and Taylor's Governance as Leadership (2004) and approaches developed within Cass CCE including work by Mike Hudson (Delivering effective governance: insights from the Boards of larger charities) undertaken jointly with the Compass Partnership in 2013.

We constantly update our framework to reflect new themes and learning from across the sector.

Our Review Programme

We offer a range of governance reviews (based on our model evaluation framework but tailored to meet your specific needs) from a full review across the key governance areas listed above (choosing either our Enhanced or Standard programmes) to a review of a particular area or a 'refresher' (a light touch assessment following an earlier full governance review).

Costings and further details available on request.

Board development programmes such as our Building Better Governance series

We have developed and delivered a range of national and specialist programmes - which are both exploratory and incremental, spread over an agreed period (e.g. the group meeting three times over a three-month period for six modules) - covering key governance topics. Programmes are aimed at medium sized
organisations and would particularly benefit chairs, trustees, chief executives and those who have a governance function in their organisation.

Benefits for your organisation include:

  • Driving organisational change by developing new knowledge and enhancing governance skills
  • Generating new thinking about governance
  • Gaining the optimum balance between governance and operational requirements

The sessions are followed up with course materials, additional support and good practice models from Cass CCE which are accessible to delegates and build a resource bank.

Modules included in earlier BBG programmes have covered: accountability; board involvement in strategy; board meetings; board reports and dashboards; board evaluation and performance review and key relationships in the top team (between Chair/Chief Executive and SMT).

Targeted interventions and support

We can offer a range of services and support such as help with an away day; a board training or information session; mentoring for Chairs or specialist training for the key partnership between the Chair and Chief Executive; support for strategic planning, the board's approach to risk and finance; support
at major change or at other key transition points. We can help with specific issues such as improving board meetings or the board's approach to its development and performance review or succession planning.