Q: Our chairman is not transparent and makes decisions without even discussing with the other board members. Is this in line with the role of the chair?

A: We cannot comment on specific cases, but the role of the chairman is covered in a number of resources (see, for example this content on Community Net Aotearoa and the Community Resource Kit).

Chairing is a key role on any voluntary Management Committee.  The Chairperson must ensure that the Management Committee functions properly, that there is full participation during meetings, that all relevant matters are discussed and that effective decisions are made and carried out.

The role of a Chairperson is time consuming, with work between meetings, external representation of the organisation, and work with staff. Chairing a large organisation requires diplomatic and leadership skills of a high level.”[1]

The process for appointing a chairman (also called a chair, or chairperson) will be covered in the organisation’s foundation document (deed, rules, or constitution).

All board members must be fully conversant with the organisation’s rules.

In broad general terms, the role of a chairman is:

  • providing leadership to the board
  • involving all board members in the board’s work and ensuring that they contribute to debate and decisions and that all points of view are considered
  • ensuring proper information is provided for board members
  • planning board meetings (working with the Secretary to determine the agenda etc)
  • conducting meetings efficiently, with adherence to due process
  • ensuring that meetings and decisions are accurately recorded
  • understanding the organisation’s finances (working with the Treasurer)
  • keeping the board focussed on its key tasks and responsibilities
  • overseeing the induction and development of board members
  • leading strategic planning
  • supporting the chief executive
  • ensuring that relationships within the organisation are properly managed

[1] https://www.diycommitteeguide.org/code/principle/what-role-chairperson