Good governance

Overview of Hackney CVS plans

Good Governance | How do people become trustees of Hackney CVS? | How many times does the Board meet? | What is discussed at Board meetings? | What is Hackney CVS’s Governing Document? | What is the Special Purpose Vehicle? | What is a conflict of interest and how are these managed? | What are the statutory duties of a Trustee? | Other duties | What are the 7 Nolan Principles of Public Life? | Remuneration of Staff and Chief Executive Officer’s pay


Like most charities Hackney CVS has a Board of Trustees which provides oversight to the staff and Executive Team at Hackney CVS. The Board is made up of volunteers from corporate organisations, government bodies and local voluntary and community organisations. With a wide range of skills, they are ambassadors of Hackney CVS’s 3 year strategic plan, our vision and values.

The Executive Team manages the day to day operations of the charity. The Board has a scheme of delegation to the Executive Team which defines the respective responsibilities of the Board, the Chief Executive and the Executive Team.

To find out more about our trustees please visit here. To meet the staff team visit here.

Hackney CVS currently has 30 full and part time staff and 8 trustees with a range of skills and experience (as of July 18).

Good Governance

The Hackney CVS Board of Trustees recently became one of the first charities in England & Wales to adopt the Charity Governance Code which the Board is committed to implementing. For more details about the Code please visit here.

The Board has a good governance implementation plan which includes a focus on measuring impact, managing conflicts of interest and also sound financial planning. This plan is monitored at each Board meeting.

How do people become trustees of Hackney CVS?

Hackney CVS Board of Trustees can co-opt suitable people on to the Board through the submission of a CV and supporting letter followed by an interview with the Chair and CEO. Eligible candidates will be invited to meet the existing Board of Trustees prior to being selected for the role. On joining the organisation new trustees can expect to be properly inducted and supported in their role by existing trustees and senior managers in the organisation. All new trustees will be expected to sign a declaration of their appropriateness to act as charity trustees and company directors. Trustees currently can join the Board for a maximum of 3 consecutive terms (each term is 3 years) so the longest someone can serve consecutively is 9 years.

How many times does the Board meet?

Hackney CVS Trustees meet as a Board 6 times a year. They also attend the Annual General Meeting and get involved in other activities such as our annual community awards night, meetings with the local dignitaries and also staff activities such as our strategic planning away day.

What is discussed at Board meetings?

There are usually a range of issues discussed at the Board. The Executive Team provides updates about all our programmes using a traffic light rating system – progress of some of our big programmes such as Connect Hackney are discussed at each meeting as a separate items in themselves. The CEO and senior staff also update Trustees about any new or emerging risks which may affect the charity’s work. New policies and procedures are reviewed and adopted by Trustees. Trustees also consider how well the organisation is meeting its aims and objectives and are involved in setting new strategic aims, our vision and values every 3 years. One of the key functions is to monitor overall income and expenditure through quarterly management accounts and annual budgeting processes to ensure where possible that Hackney CVS does not have an operating deficit or spend money unnecessarily.

What is Hackney CVS’s Governing Document?

 Like most charities Hackney CVS has a governing document which is a key legal document in a charitable organisation. The governing document sets out our charity’s objects and purposes and how it is to be administered. We are set up as a Charitable company limited by guarantee (an incorporated charity). Our governing document include what is called a Memorandum and Articles of Association and our trustees or directors are the custodians of this. This governing document contains all the information needed to run our charity, such as:

  • what the charity is set up to do (known as its ‘objects’)
  • how the charity will do those things (known as ‘powers’)
  • who will run the organisation (the ‘Board of Trustees’)
  • how it is to be run and administrative arrangements for meetings, voting, looking after money, delegation to sub-committees etc
  • what happens if administrative provisions need to be changed
  • what happens if the charity wishes or needs to wind up.

Charities are legally required to comply with their governing document. This includes ensuring that:

  • the charity’s activities remain within the objects set out in the governing document
  • any new activities are permitted within the objects
  • the trustee body is properly and legally constituted
  • trustees have a sound knowledge and understanding of the governing document.

What is the Special Purpose Vehicle?

 Local community organisations often lack the capacity to win contracts on their own, and public sector contracts are increasingly awarded through a tendering process. Hackney CVS established a trading arm/special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the charity called City & Hackney Together so that local charities and community groups could bid together for these contract opportunities. We have the specialist skills to win contracts on behalf of the members of City & Hackney Together. When City and Hackney Together wins a contract, its members are subcontracted to do what they do best – deliver services.

The SPV is a separate company to Hackney CVS but the trustees of Hackney CVS are its only ‘member’. Any profits of this company are gifted back to the parent charity, Hackney CVS. City and Hackney Together is operating at a much lower level than before as there are now limited opportunities currently to deploy it. Hackney CVS staff continually look for opportunities to expand the activities of the SPV.

What is a conflict of interest and how are these managed?

Trustees have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of Hackney CVS, and in accordance with its governing document, and to avoid situations where there may be a potential conflict of interest. Staff and volunteers have similar obligations from their duties within their terms of employment and under the seven Nolan Principles of Public Life which Hackney CVS adheres to and promotes.

Conflicts of interests may arise where an individual’s personal or family interests and/or loyalties conflict with those of the charity. Such conflicts may create problems; they can:

  • inhibit free discussion;
  • result in decisions or actions that are not in the interests of the charity; and
  • risk the impression that the charity has acted improperly.

Hackney CVS Board of Trustees has a conflict of interest policy. The aim of this policy is to protect both the organisation and the individuals involved from any appearance of impropriety.

Any trustee conflicts of interest are registered annually on kept on file. At each Board meeting the Chair asks at the start of the meeting if any trustees have any current conflicts and these are recorded in the meeting minutes. For instance if a Hackney CVS trustee was also a trustee of another organisation that was benefiting from an existing project of Hackney CVS then this would be recorded. The same situation would apply to staff who may be part of another local charity that benefits from Hackney CVS’s services. Anyone in this situation would not be able to participate in the relevant conversations at the Board or influence any decisions in any way.

What are the statutory duties of a Trustee?

Anyone who is a trustee which includes the treasurer role is bound by some core responsibilities which can be summarised as follows:

  • To ensure that the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • To ensure that the organisation pursues its objects as defined in its governing document
  • To ensure the organisation uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects: the charity must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are
  • To contribute actively to the Board of trustees’ role in giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets
  • To safeguard the good name and values of the organisation.
  • To ensure the effective and efficient administration of the organisation
  • To ensure the financial stability of the organisation
  • To protect and manage the property of the charity and to ensure the proper investment of the charity’s funds
  • If the charity employs staff, to appoint the chief executive officer and monitor his/her performance

To know more about the role of a charity trustee please visit here.

Other duties

In addition to the above statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the Board reach sound decisions. This will involve:

  • Scrutinising Board papers
  • Leading discussions
  • Focusing on key issues
  • Providing guidance on new initiatives
  • Other issues in which the trustee has special expertise
  • Having joint meetings with staff to develop the strategic plan, vision and values of the organisation

What are the 7 Nolan Principles of Public Life?

The 7 principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes people who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in:

  • the civil service
  • local government
  • the police
  • the courts and probation services
  • non-departmental public bodies
  • health, education, social and care services

The principles also apply to all those in other sectors that deliver public services such as charities like Hackney CVS. They were first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and they are included in the Ministerial code.

  1. Selflessness

Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

  1. Integrity

Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

  1. Objectivity

Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

  1. Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

  1. Openness

Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

  1. Honesty

Holders of public office should be truthful.

  1. Leadership

Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Remuneration of Staff and Chief Executive Officer’s pay

Each role at Hackney CVS has a job description and person specification so that staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities. These help inform potential candidates what knowledge/skills are required for any particular job, allowing a degree of self-selection and thereby improving the pool of applicants. They provide a relatively objective tool for sizing and ranking jobs, which helps with salary setting. It can be also helpful in redundancy situations, facilitating job matching and identifying possible alternative employment. Job roles, and therefore salaries, are assessed against a number of criteria including: Strategic scope (senior roles only); Technical knowledge and skills; Mental skills; Interpersonal and communication skills; Initiative and independence; and Responsibilities for people/financial resources.

It is the role of the Board of Trustees to set the salary level for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO is responsible for managing the Executive Team members and other senior staff in the organisation.

An organisational staff chart is available on request.