It’s that time of year when people talk about getting in shape. Or perhaps more accurately, magazines shout about beach bodies and the like. This is not about the perhaps unachievable expectations and ideals there. No, it is about the very achievable, important and to be encouraged discipline of training in charities and third sector organisations.

Why this blog now?

We always think training is important. Training in its widest sense makes a difference: good induction, understanding governance, understanding your own organisation as well as training and updates relevant to how your organisation delivers its activities. And this is not all about trustees and directors. It covers a range of individuals in the organisation. The specific training needs, of course, might differ.

We also write this as the topic of induction, training and support for prospective, new and existing trustees has cropped up in a significant number of recent situations. We should say these were in positive ways: recognising the value of training and looking at ways to help trustees and others do the best they can for the charity and in an informed manner.

It is also something regulators encourage. In public reports on issues that have arisen in organisations, the quality of induction and training appears as a feature. In basic terms, some individuals did not have the opportunity to ‘get’ what it meant to be a charity trustee and recognise the incumbent duties.

The Scottish Governance Code for the Third Sector notes under board effectiveness that a “well-run board understands its role, powers and duties…”. Under leadership it says that board leadership comes, in part, from “having a clear understanding of the individual and collective roles and responsibilities of the board.” Other parts of the Code echo these. Under the principle of organisational purpose, the Code highlights the importance of understanding the organisation’s governing document and making sure it is fit for purpose.