Thursday, 25 July 2013


It has been a busy couple of weeks for our Board of trustees. It is easy to think of the trustees of any charity or voluntary organisation as at best a group of supportive amateurs and at worse interfering busybodies. Nothing could be further from the truth, legally the trustees ARE the charity, they are accountable to the Charities Commission (and in our case also Companies House) to ensure the charity meets its charitable aims and that its affairs are effectively and legally conducted. To carry out their duties properly they need detailed and timely information, furthermore trustees do this work voluntarily. Our Board of trustees meets once a quarter but has four sub-committees that meet more often.

Last week the Operations Committee had an extended meeting to examine and discuss our annual project impact reports. Each Children North East project produces a summary of its work every year, there are 16 in all. Each of our trustees also visits a project at least once during the year. We also look at how much it costs to work with each child or young person and where possible compare that to other voluntary organisations (this information is hard to come by). One of our trustees remarked how 'muscular' all our projects are meaning they deal with the depth of people's difficulties in effective ways. The big themes of the charity's work become clear - improving family relationships; improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people; empowerment and reducing the impact of poverty.

This week there were meetings of the Finance and Human Resources committees and a meeting of the Board itself. Finance scrutinises up to date management accounts making sure we keep on budget; and it considers how best to manage financial resources and physical assets strategically. Human Resources monitors key data such as sickness; recruitment and retention and this time our annual Equality and Diversity report and advises accordingly. In case you are wondering, the fourth committee is about fundraising and communications, it meets next week.

Each committee reports to the Board which takes the important decisions. This time the Board made decisions about our buildings, investments and valuing staff and supporters. It also noted that the work done by the Operations Committee on the project reports contributes to an ongoing discussion between trustees and staff about the future direction of the whole organisation and finally recommended the organisation look in more detail at the way it addresses equality and diversity in the workforce and with service users.

Children North East is currently looking for up to 4 new trustees. In particular we need people with skills in finance, human resources, marketing, fundraising or IT. If you would like to be considered, please contact me: You can also read more about being a trustee for Children North East on our website:

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