Governance Manuals – should your organisation have one?

Whether your organisation is a company limited by guarantee, not for profit or start-up, a Governance Manual, or Governance Charter, could prove useful in the short and long term operation of your organisation.

What is a Governance Manual?

A Governance Manual is a central document which contains information about most aspects of the operations and governance structure of the organisation.

Each organisations Governance Manual will be unique to that organisation but may include:

  • background and historical information about the organisation;
  • the values, principles and vision and purpose of the organisation;
  • a detailed outline of how the organisation operates;
  • details on annual planning processes, delegations policies, procedural requirements and practices unique to the organisation;
  • information on the legal obligations of directors and committee members; and
  • any other relevant information regarding the organisation or its operation.  

A Governance Manual cannot and does not replace a Constitution or Governing document that have been adopted by an organisation, but rather compliments these documents by providing a practical overview and reference point for directors and senior management.

If your organisation has various board policies and procedures set out in a number of different documents, some of which may be outdated, you may consider consolidating these policies into an up to date, succinct and modern Governance Manual.

Is a Governance Manual compulsory?

No. A Governance Manual is not required by any legislation and is therefore not compulsory but it can assist directors, committee members and office holders to fulfil their obligations by providing a useful reference point. It can also assist members and other interested persons to understand what the organisation does and how it operates.

Some benefits of having a Governance Manual include:

  • reducing risk for your organisation by having a central place where directors duties and responsibilities are outlined;
  • its use as a great induction tool for new directors and senior management;
  • reduces the risk of decision makers relying on outdated policies and procedures;
  • can assist in more robust decision making by assisting decision makers to be better informed and aware of their legal obligations.

Updating your Governance Manual

If your organisation already has a Governance Manual in place, it should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it meets the needs or your organisation and to ensure that any legislative changes have been reflected. For example, existing manuals should now be updated to include practices for Director Identification Numbers.

Griffin Legal specialises in assisting businesses and not for profits and can assist your organisation to draft and implement a Governance Manual or review an existing one.

Get in touch with us to have a confidential discussion.

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