Case Study – Refugee Education Training Advice Service Leeds (RETAS)
RETAS Trustees asked for training on issues around members roles and responsibilities, taking part in meetings effectively, decision making. They also wanted to use the sessions to partially review their governing documents and effectively spelling out what those mean in practice for the board and each individual trustee. With the aim of improving the effectiveness of the RETAS Board has they develop as an organisation and face up to the challenges of the next few years.
The objectives of the sessions were:
- To increase the understanding of the collective roles and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees.
- To consider the current strengths and weaknesses of the current committee in carrying these out.
To look at how the Board of Trustees can strengthen their own performance and encourage others to get involved.
What support was given?
An initial meeting was held with the Director and acting Chair in which we discussed the requirements of the training. We then set up two training sessions, one as part of an away day and another at the end of a Directors meeting.
The methods used were participative, designed to spark debate and to be fun. We used a quiz, a self assessment and exercises designed to encourage discussion and thought amongst those involved. We based the training on the NCVO’s Good Governance: A Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector and sources material from the NCVO’s website. http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/advice-support/trustee-governance/publications.
What has been achieved through that support?
The Board feels more confident to carry out its role and to take it responsibilities seriously. All the trustees gave positive feedback and felt that, even though they had been trustees for a number of years that they had learnt something about how they work and how they could improve their performance.
The sessions highlighted several issues that needed to be addressed in terms and a list of actions was created which Jantela offered further support to them so that they may be completed. These included looking for new trustees and developing the membership of the organisation.
There were strengths to the organisation that the processes highlighted but also some weaknesses. The action plan that was produced looked at how they could address these and work with the Jantela Partnership.