AoC welcomes the new Taken on Trust research reports. It’s critical we understand trustees and Chairs if we are to support them effectively and we welcome the recommendation that this becomes an ongoing programme so we can track progress and trends. The report contains some important recommendations to improve support for trustees and Chairs which we welcome.

Trustees should be thanked and celebrated- investment needed too

We endorse the Charity Commission’s statement that ‘Trustees should be thanked, celebrated and better supported’. The report which explores the perspectives of those providing support to trustees notes many including local CVS are charities too, and are themselves affected by limited capacity and capability especially digital. It is important to address this too if we are serious about improving support for trustees and Chairs. Words need to be matched with action and investment.

Chairs play a key role

The report confirms that Chairs play a key role, with 74% of trustees regarding them as an important source of advice and support. This underlines the need for improved support for Chairs to help them support their board colleagues. We are keen to play our part in making that happen.

Support failing to meet need

We agree with the findings from both research reports that support is failing to meet needs due to a range of factors: lack of resource and capability by the providers, lack of tailored and targeted support; and a failure to provide concise timely support that understands and meets the needs of Chairs and trustees. We welcome more attention to and investment in this area, including better use of digital solutions

Size matters

The research recommends a more customised approach to charities of different sizes with different needs, an approach we endorse and are taking with our own programme for Chairs of smaller charities funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Challenges for Chairs

The report sets out challenges for Chairs in several areas: to recruit more widely and formally to ensure sufficient diversity of background, skills and perspective; to address some significant skills gaps that the research highlights; to consider the value of a wider range of external support and training; and to improve the induction process (only 34% were given a role/job description; and only 12% received formal induction training).