What are the principles of good governance in an organization?

Board leadership -Every organization should be led and governed by an effective Board which collectively ensures the delivery of it’s objectives,sets it’s strategic direction and upholds it’s values.Every member of the board should understand his or her individual responsibility of being a board member, including the legal responsibilities.

The board in control -Your Board should be collectively responsible and accountable for ensuring that the organization is performing well, is solvent and complies with the obligations.It must conduct it’s affairs so that it complies with it’s legal obligations as well as other requirements of it’s environment.

Board review and renewal -The board should periodically review it’s own and the organization’s effectiveness.Reviewing the performance of the organization as a whole through performance indicators and external review is critical in effective organizations.Renewing the composition of the board is often a delicate and difficult issue,but a critical one.

Board delegation -The Board should set out the role and function of sub-commitees, the officers of the organization (chair, secretary general,vice president, Treasurer), the CEO and other staff and agents and should monitor their performance.This should entail:

  • Setting out clear and discrete roles;
  • Effective delegation and empowerment of responsibilities;
  • Setting out clear, unambiguous terms of reference wherever appropriate; and
  • Monitoring performance of the organization as a whole, the board, staff members and its sub-commitees.

Board and board member integrity -The board and its members should act according to high ethical standards and ensure that conflicts of interest are properly dealt with.There should be no personal benefit from business transacted by the Board.

Board openness -Your Board should be open, responsive and accountable to stakeholders, beneficiaries,partners and others with an interest in it’s work.

Adherence to statutes -The adage “You cannot get lost on a straight road” applies to the statutes of an organization.If they are out of date,they should be reviewed.However,once agreed,they should be strictly observed.

Good management practice -The development of strategic plans, operational plans, performance indicators, risk and financial management, marketing practices, human resource management and many other modern management practices all ensure that effective and efficient organizations are appropriately led by the board.

Good governance culture -While it is possible to tick the boxes on a “good governance”checklist,it is even more important that a culture of good governance pervades the organization and that you and your Board buy into this principle.

Good partnership model -A well run organization depends on a wholesome partnership between the board,led by the chair/president, and the team that runs the organization.Of key importance is the relationship between the chair and the person responsible for managing the organization i.e the general Secretary or CEO.

Organization board in a meeting

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