Governance by the community

Just had an interesting discussion about this:
Governance procedures (of community organisations) are partly developed to meet the requirements of law (e.g. laws about registered charities and companies limited by guarantee) and partly to be recognised by the bureaucrats who will have to use them and relate to them. They are not developed to be “manageable” by volunteers and community members, or to work to further the aims of the organisations. They might also be said to be controlled by and designed for a particular culture in society (white, middle-class, highly educated, male).

Quite rightly, Voluntary and Community Sector organisations are expected to be governed by a committee of volunteers including some members of the community. But the burden and barriers of the ‘procedures of governance’ can be too big for this.

And this problem is worsening as the pressure for “professionalisation” continues, and as organisations are pressured into merging and operating at a larger (perhaps more strategic) scale.

Why should a community member volunteer to be a trustee of a increasingly regional (not local) professionalised (not solely related to their concerns) organisation? How can such a volunteer trustee be expected to continue in their role, with an ever increasing burden of paper-work, legal-ese and legal responsibilities, and time?


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