Return to the homepage | Governance hub

About Chairs

Who is the chair? What does the chair actually do? Why is the chair such a key figure on a charity board? Find out here.

In the hot seat

The chair's position is unique; as the person leading the board or committee, she or he has to ensure the governance of the organisation works well and enables the organisation to be as effective as possible. The chair has all the responsibilities of a trustee, and some vital particular tasks as well. These include planning the board's work, close liaison with the staff over governance and other matters, and managing the chief officer of the organisation. He or she also has to run the board meetings, a practical skill of great importance.

A lack of support?

Chairs are often experienced as trustees when they take on the chairing role. But there's still many challenges. And whilst there are now many sources of support, advice and information for trustees, there's little that specifically supports or advises chairs.

How the Governance Hub is helping chairs

The Governance Hub has undertaken some qualitative research into the needs of chairs and the current provision, exploring issues such as what kind of support would be most useful, what existing resources they have found valuable, and what they find rewarding and challenging about their role. It is already clear that chairs, whilst very busy, would value some particular kinds of support and advice. One strong message coming through is that any new chair should be offered a formal induction, to help them get to grips with their role. Afterwards, they are most likely to benefit from local networks or events, or from exchanges with peer agencies or similar organisations working in their own field.

Contact the Hub

The full research results will be published in August on this page. For more information about the Governance Hub's thinking and research into the needs of chairs, email the Governance Hub.

The information on this page comes from: Polished Performance and Community Leaders: Support for chairs of small organizations (see below).

Chair - key resources:
ICSA Model Job Description for Chair of Board of Trustees (050707.1)
A guidance note for developing a job description for Chair of Board of Trustees.

The Board Chair Handbook
This handbook is a complete guide to the roles and responsibilities of the chair and is designed to help board chairs...

A Chair's First 100 Days
This guide contains all the information you will need to get started as a successful new chair. It serves as an...

A Polished Performance : Findings from NCVO's Leadership Programme for Chief Executives and Chairs
This report presents findings from NCVO's Leadership Programme. It addresses questions such as what issues worry...

Most popular resources
Administration for charity trustees (SG2)external linkmore info
Governance Journalexternal linkmore info
Recruiting a New Chief Executive : a Guide for Trustees and Chairsexternal linkmore info
Reducing the Risks - A Guide to Trustee Liabilities 246.42 KBmore info