Governance round-up: October 2021 – Trustees’ Week special

Trustees’ Week: 1–5 November 2021

Trustees’ Week is an annual event showcasing the great work of the 700,000 volunteer trustees who support charities in England and Wales. We’re here to support trustees and help strengthen governance during this period of significant change.

Whilst charities have risen to the challenges of the pandemic, this has not been an easy time to be a trustee. To thank trustees for their enormous contributions this year we’re:

Trustees’ Week events

We’ll be joined by a range experts, practitioners and trustees from across the sector to explore and share learning. The free virtual events include:

  • Workshop: The trustee recruitment cycle
    2 November, 13.00-14.30
  • Webinar: Leading on equality, diversity, and inclusion with your board
    3 November, 11.00–12.00
  • Webinar: Undertaking a governance review – NCVO and Trusted Charity
    3 November, 13.00–13.45
  • Webinar: Leading by example on mental health and wellbeing
    4 November, 9.30–11.00
  • Panel discussion: Strengthening board relationships in times of uncertainty
    5 November, 14.00–15.30

Find out more about upcoming events and secure your free place at our sessions.

In addition to our events, there’s lots else going on across the week:

  • Getting on Board are once again running their Festival of Trusteeship packed with a whole range of sessions including board diversity, refining skills and being a good trustee.
  • Our Trustees’ Week partners are also hosting lots of interesting and exciting events across the week.

Call for trustees and senior managers: help improve our website

Over the next few months we’re improving our website’s online help and guidance articles.

This is an opportunity for you to help us by sharing your experiences, testing draft guides and taking part in individual video interviews.

We’re looking for trustees and organisation leaders interested in finding out about:

  • governance
  • improving how your board works
  • getting trustees more involved
  • resolving problems and other related topics
  • strategic or business planning
  • employing and managing staff.

We offer a £20 thank you payment for taking part in a 45-minute interview. Previous participants have told us they had fun and learnt things they can use in their organisation.

If you’re interested in taking part, please email

New research on trustee recruitment

Reach Volunteering has analysed the age, gender and ethnicity of the applicants and appointments made through their trustee recruitment service from 2017 through to 2020. The findings are both encouraging and concerning.

They’ve found that open recruitment has a significant impact on the diversity of appointments. The gender balance for Reach’s appointments almost achieved parity in 2020.

  • The numbers of under 35-year-olds being appointed was around 19% against 1% of the whole trustee population.
  • The proportion of Reach’s appointees who didn’t identify as white was 16%.

This was higher than the Charity Commission’s figures.

Although these figures are encouraging the research also found there remains much more to be done. When exploring candidate success’ rates (the chances of applicants being appointed) the figures are quite stark:

  • The 55 – 64 age group are 80% more likely to be appointed than the 18 – 34 age group.
  • White applicants are almost twice as likely to be appointed as Black and Asian applicants.

Reach has committed to supporting organisations to recruit openly and more fairly. They recently published the Trustee Recruitment Cycle which walks boards through the various phases of an open an inclusive trustee recruitment process.

We are delighted to have Janet Thorne from Reach join us to explore this tool in our first session during trustees week.

Launch of new EDI training

The Social Justice Collective, hosted by NCVO, has created a new training programme to help you understand, address and embed equality, diversity and inclusion into your governance practice. This training will take place over three half-days and you need to attend all sessions of the same course:

  • Session 1: Embedding EDI in your governance practice
    19 January 2022, 9.30-12.30.
  • Session 2: Unpacking key EDI concepts
    16 February 2022, 9.30-12.30.
  • Session 3: Setting commitments towards EDI good governance
    2 March 2022, 9.30-12.30.

Training and events

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Avatar photo Dan is responsible for NCVO’s governance consultancy offer, focusing on governance reviews, board performance and trustee training. He joined NCVO from the National Union of Students (NUS) where, as a long standing consultant, he supported the organisational development of local students’ unions as charities.

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