In June 2020 the Chorlton CLT Board initiated a Governance review which was carried out by The Greater Manchester Community Led Housing Hub. The work was undertaken by the Hub Interim Director, Tom Hopkins in the period June – August 2020.
The overall aim is to ensure that the CLT board is fit for purpose and has a clear plan for actions to take forward.
The CLT initially committed to undertake this review to:
- to boost member participation
- to improve their decision-making processes.
The review included:
- A skills audit questionnaire completed by Board members
- Semi structured interviews with Board members
- A focus group with Advisory Group members (3 people)
- Two focus groups with CLT members (7 people)
The review recommendations were as follows:
- Agree resignations of those board members who have indicated that they wish to resign at the first AGM, and free spaces for new board members. Thereafter, agree on a cycle of elections based on three-year fixed terms
- Create a five-year Business plan with clearer objectives, targets, pledges and messaging and ensure that the CLT position about the ambition of the CLT is unambiguous. In particular, the CLT needs to clarify and agree whether the primary ambition of the organisation is to become asset owning or an ‘influencing’ organisation.
- Create and implement a communications and empowerment strategy
- Review skills self-assessment post AGM of new board members
- Create and implement a Training Plan for board members based on the skills audit
- Create a risk strategy and risk register
- Take positive action to target recruitment of new board members that positively impacts on the overall reflection that the board represents the characteristics of the Chorlton community. In particular, new board members are required who are female and or from BAME backgrounds, from a different socio-economic background and or are of a younger age profile
- Agree appropriate sub committees with Terms of Reference including clear delegation of power
- Advertise opportunities for members to join sub committees
- Review the status of the Advisory Group to include the following options
- Do nothing
- Create Term of Reference of the Advisory Group
- Create a role of formal ‘Critical Friend (s)’ and advertise the role(s) openly
- Disband the Advisory Group and assimilate the former Advisory Group members into sub committees
- Consider a formal members poll around the agreed operational key objectives as a way of evidencing community control
- Create and adopt a campaign strategy
- Agree and implement a membership policy to include common process and induction
- Adopt an equality and diversity policy and monitor against agreed key target
- Review the web site and social media strategy
It was recognised in the review that the CLT is a relatively new board of volunteers of a small organisation with limited resources. Expectations of what can be achieved should have this context in mind
The CLT has however taken some actions in advance of its first AGM and will address other recommendations in an action plan for implementation over the next twelve months.