The cycle of responsibility

The cycle of responsibility explains how a charity ensures good governance, by having each group people involved in the charity responsible to those that appointed them.

  1. The members of a charity vote suitable candidates onto the board of trustees.
  2. The trustees appoint the CEO and other senior members of staff.
  3. The CEO and senior members of staff appoint other staff.
  4. The staff support the beneficiaries, who in the best cases are members of the charity.
  5. If those members are unsatisfied with the support they are getting from the staff they have to ultimate power of ousting the board and appointing new trustees who have the power over the CEO to make changes.

In what circumstances does this model work well? Where might it fall down? How could it be made more robust? Does it reinforce hierarchical power structures where one person ‘manages’ another? How could a network of checks and balances provide an effective model of governance?

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