Talk:Scheme of Delegation
Thanks to Greyham for having a crack at this statement of delegation, a key document we have needed for well over a year.
In preparation for the Board meeting of the 26th March, I have some feedback related more to the pragmatics of implementation rather than any objection to the rationale of the scheme itself. I do not have prepared answers to these in my back pocket, however I suspect these might be resolved not just by re-framing of the terms, but by the trustees having the assurance of documented and firm operational commitment to suitable controls, checks and balances.
1. There are a number of implicit and explicit control documents referenced, it would be sensible to cross-link to these where they exist, or to systematically identify where they are absent, so that the effective date of the delegation can be planned for. These appear to include:
- 1.1 "Strategic direction of the charity", presumably may be interpreted to be the 5 year plan and could be cross-referenced as such; alternatively this might mean the Mission and Values.
- 1.2 "public benefit aims" these may be in another document, or this might be addressed by the Mission, a reference would help here.
- 1.3 "annual budget plan" and "current business plan" do not currently exist. There is an Activity Plan for 2013, if this is the current business plan, then it would be handy to stick to the same terminology.
- 1.4 "aims, strategies, objectives (targets) and longer-term projections", it is unclear which of our current documents define each of these control components.
2. There are a number of terms used, which might be defined in various ways. This might lead to later contention between the expectations of the Board of Trustees and the CEO if they are not defined unambiguously at the time of approval of this delegation:
- 2.1 "the community" - there are many possible definitions. This might mean the beneficiaries of the outcomes of the work of the charity, which might or might not include: people outside of the UK, members of the public, readers of the French Wikipedia who live in Wales, contributors to Open Street map, people who use Layr on their mobile phones, WMF employees... It is unclear how these would be enumerated or by which channels these communities would have the relationship managed.
- 2.2 "other stakeholders" - there is a Communications Plan which had an assessment of stakeholders, but there is no agreed stakeholder map.
3. The Policy Framework makes it the Board of Trustees responsibility, rather than the CEO's, to manage all relationships with external parties, including the community and to manage all exceptional circumstances, without apparent qualification apart from the £2,000 payment limit. I am unsure if this was intentional, or how it would be implemented.
4. The "Audit & Risk Committee" does not exist. Consequently this document cannot be effected until it is established.
5. "manage the proper use of the operational, budgetary, property, staffing and other resources" - it is unclear how the Board of Trustees would define "proper". For example, ~£15,000 was spent in the last year on one supplier without a signed contract in place and without an advance review of the terms of supply, or being put on record, it could be argued that invoices were correctly presented and so the procurement process was 'properly' followed as defined.
6. Under Delegation of Management Decisions,
- 6.1 "subject to prior consultation with relevant budget holders in each case" appears to assume that the budget holders are not the CEO. A significant proportion of the current Activity Plan has the CEO as the budget holder and it would be improper to require the CEO to consult with themselves.
- 6.2 It would be sensible to make it explicit that the term for the allowable £2,000 unbudgeted spend is within the Charity financial year (rather than every month).
7. Under Recruitment and management of staff, there is no approved Resource Plan that encompasses more than budget, and consequently the trustees have been involved in detailed review of staff terms of references. If this is delegated under "resources" then "proper use" may require an approved Resource Plan to exist.
8. "With input from the Board the appraisal of the Chief Executive will be undertaken by the Chair annually and reported as appropriate to the Board" - does not provide for an acceptance by the Board of Trustees. The Board should have the opportunity to reject the performance appraisal if it does not, in their view, adequately represent their input. The Chair may have responsibility granted but cannot take authority for the shared duty of holding senior management to account. Dyer uses the phrase "acting as the channel of communication" and in the model terms for the Chair puts this as "Leading the process of appraising the performance of the chief executive". This delegation goes beyond that expectation.
9. Public relations - this is not how the Charity currently works, and I believe that this may require too much operational detail to be the responsibility of the Chair.
10. Term - I believe this would be better as part of the annual review. The Charity is too new to think in terms of a 3 year review cycle.
Thanks again for the investment of your time on this Greyham. I have listed points of definition and implementation, but I fully support your vision for the nature of how delegation needs to work. --Fæ (talk) 10:53, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Replies to in-camera clarifications
There have been several in-camera replies. Unfortunately I am unable to respond to these publicly without compromising the request to keep these in-camera. As both the document and my questions above are public, this is an odd position to be left in. I shall be voting nay on this document and be making my reasons public for the benefit of our members when the vote is recorded. Thanks --Fæ (talk) 10:00, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for drafting this. I think it is generally taking the right approach. I do think the subject of budget holders needs more consideration, though. The current draft requires budget holders to be consulted on the details of every bit of expenditure. I don't think that is practical. When you are in a big company and budget holders are heads of department that sit a few metres away and can easily be asked to sign something, that works fine. When the budget holders are volunteer trustees (which they have generally been so far), it's rather more difficult. I think budget holders should be consulted on the details of large expenditures, but only on generalities of smaller ones. For example, the budget holder for an event might approve £50 for refreshments, but they don't need to be consulted on which supermarket the refreshments come from or whether you get custard creams or bourbons (you should, of course, get custard creams!). This could be achieved by a tiered approach with budgets and sub-budgets and sub-sub-budgets with more authority being delegated the further down the chain you get (in my example, the budget would be "Education" (say), the sub-budget would be the event and the sub-sub-budget would be "refreshments" - the board approves the education budget, the budget holder approves the event budget and the staff worry about the details of the refreshments themselves). --Tango (talk) 19:43, 24 March 2013 (UTC)