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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

A small step can make a big difference

This opinion piece is almost 8 years old

Jobs & Business Glasgow's Clare Ferry outlines just how valuable a board can be to a social enterprise

Clare Kelly, social enterprise adviser at Jobs and Business Glasgow
Clare Kelly, social enterprise adviser at Jobs and Business Glasgow

Social entrepreneurs are constantly working to do things differently by applying business ideas to social questions, creating jobs, generating wealth for the area they serve and delivering services in innovative ways to overcome the daily difficulties of people’s lives.

JBG identified a need within the sector for strong and effective governance which will help organisations to become self-sufficient social businesses that rely less on grants and government funding to deliver results.

We have developed a database of potential board members and mentors that we can match with our client organisations. Having a robust and influential board will help a social enterprise attract new opportunities and partnerships, enabling it to demonstrate its business credibility. We have helped organisations identify what they are looking for in a board member or mentor which in turn makes recruitment easier.

A strong board is key to good leadership – it can ensure that an organisation is clear in its purpose and direction using strategic planning. Within a strong board all decisions should be taken in line with, and safeguard, the ideals of the organisation. The board can manage legal obligations as well as the efficiency of the organisation and use of its assets. It can guide the organisation on best practice and ensure financial accountability. A strong board will also put in place a proper procedure for the recruitment and supervision of staff and make certain the committee itself is representative and functions effectively.

Our experience working with potential board members has shown us the importance of considering the following principles to strengthen your board.

  • Board leadership – collectively ensure the delivery of objectives, strategic direction and the upholding of values.
  • Board in control – responsibility and accountability for ensuring and monitoring the performance of the organisation and that it is compliant with its obligations.
  • High performance board – clear responsibilities and functions within the board, and it should compose and organise itself to carry them out effectively.
  • Board review and renewal – periodic review of the board members and the organisation’s effectiveness and ability to take steps to ensure both continue to work well.
  • Board delegation – set out the functions of subcommittees, the chief officers and other staff and monitor their performance.
  • Board integrity – act according to high ethical standards and deal with conflict of interest effectively.
  • Open board – accountability to stakeholders.

If you are interested in becoming a board member or mentor or in finding a board member or mentor, find more information and register at

Jobs & Business Glasgow provides one-to-one support for social enterprises in Glasgow and is running a recruitment drive to attract new board members and mentors to serve its 250-plus clients.



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