Governance in Home-Start

Each locally based Home-Start scheme is rooted firmly in the local community and reflects the uniqueness of the setting which they serve. The Home-Start approach is flexible enough for the scheme to respond effectively to the needs of families with young children irrespective of location, political or religious differences, culture, education and income.

Each is a registered charity in its own right with its own Board of Trustees drawn from the local community. Each also adopts and abides by the Home-Start Governing documents (Memorandum and Articles of Association – for Incorporated schemes and Constitution for unincorporated schemes) and the Home-Start Standards and Methods Practice, they sign up to the Home-Start Agreement, the basis of the Quality Assurance system which requires schemes and Home-Start UK to meet quality standards covering all aspects of governance, management and support for families.

The trustees have overall responsibility for managing the Home-Start scheme and ensuring it acts at all times within its governing documents and the Home-Start Agreement. The trustees act collectively to govern the scheme and delegate the day to day responsibilities to paid staff. The fundamental responsibilities of trustees are the same no matter the size of the scheme. Acting as a trustee may seem a daunting task for those who voluntarily undertake the management and trusteeship of the scheme. However the Home-Start Intranet, other written materials and support from Home-Start UK have been developed to steer the trustees through their responsibilities to ensure the good and effective governance of the local Home-Start scheme. Support, training and guidance are available regionally and nationally, see Linking to Home-Start UK.

Trustee Role Description


With other trustees to hold Home-Start Mansfield in trust for current and future beneficiaries by:

• providing leadership and direction for the scheme within the ethos and values of Home-Start

• ensuring that the scheme has a clear mission, vision and strategic direction and is focussed on achieving these

• being responsible for the effective performance and management of the scheme

• ensuring that the scheme complies with all legal and regulatory requirements, the objects of the charity, the governing documents including the Home-Start Standards and Methods of Practice and the Agreement and quality standards

• securing and acting as guardians of the scheme’s assets

• ensuring that the scheme’s governance is of the highest possible standard

• undertaking an ambassadorial role for Home-Start

• appointing sub-committees and agreeing their terms of reference.


• setting the strategy and undertaking the strategic management of the scheme.

• ensuring that the scheme pursues its objects as defined in the governing documents

• ensuring the scheme accounts for its activities to its funders, the relevant Charity Regulators, its members, the local community and others

• ensuring that the scheme applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects.

• ensuring the financial stability of the scheme

• ensuring proper accounting records are kept

• ensuring the proper investment of the scheme’s funds.

• ensuring that the major risks to which the scheme is exposed are reviewed annually and managed

• ensuring the effective and efficient administration of the scheme

• approving the scheme’s policies

• ensuring the scheme fulfils its responsibilities as a good employer and is an effective manager and supervisor of staff and volunteers

• ensuring the scheme is appropriately insured

• protecting and managing the property of the scheme

• monitoring and evaluating the work of the scheme and contributing to quality assurance self assessments and reviews

• safeguarding the good name and ethos of Home-Start.



• approving the strategic plan annually and monitoring progress against it

• determining/approving the annual budget and monitoring progress against it

• preparing and approving the annual report and accounts

• ensuring compliance with the Home-Start Agreement and Quality Assurance system.


• attending meetings of trustees

• playing an active part in the trustees’ meetings and deliberations

• exercising due care and attention and using reasonable skill in dealing with the scheme’s affairs

• using own skills, knowledge and experience to help the trustees reach sound decisions

• taking the lead in any trustees’ activities where the trustee has special knowledge

• avoiding any conflict of interests

• sitting on committees when required

• sitting on recruitment and disciplinary panels if required

• reflecting annually on the board’s performance and your own performance as a trustee.

• taking part in Quality Assurance self assessments and reviews

• ensuring that major decisions and policies are made by trustees acting collectively.

Person specification for a trustee – model

• Commitment to the scheme.

• Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort.

• Strategic vision.

• Good, independent judgement .

• Ability to think creatively.

• Willingness to speak their mind.

• Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.

• Ability to work effectively as a member of a team.

• Abiding by Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Treasurer Role Description

This description of the role of a treasurer and person specification can be adapted to meet your particular needs. In small schemes without paid staff, the treasurer may take a greater role in the day-to-day finances of the organisation.

The overall role of a treasurer is to:

• maintain an overview of the scheme’s affairs

• ensure its financial viability

• ensure that proper financial records and procedures are maintained.

General responsibilities

• To ensure that the scheme complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations.

• To ensure that the scheme pursues its objects as defined in its governing document.

• To ensure the scheme applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects (the charity must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are).

• To contribute actively to the board of trustees’ role in giving firm strategic direction to the scheme, setting overall policy, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets.

• To safeguard the good name and values of Home-Start and the scheme.

• To ensure the effective and efficient administration of the scheme.

• To ensure the financial stability of the scheme.

• To protect and manage the assets of the scheme and to ensure the proper investment of scheme funds.

• To ensure the scheme complies with the Quality Assurance standards and criteria relating to financial management.

In addition to the above statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions. This may involve:

• scrutinising board papers

• leading discussions

• focusing on key issues

• providing guidance on new initiatives

• other issues in which the trustee has specific expertise

• sitting on recruitment, discrimination and grievance panels as required

• contributing to sub committees and working groups.

Additional duties of the treasurer

• Overseeing, approving and presenting budgets, accounts and financial statements.

• Being assured that the financial resources of the scheme meet its present and future needs.

• Ensuring that the scheme has an appropriate reserves policy.

• The preparation and presentation of financial reports to the board.

• Ensuring that appropriate accounting procedures and controls are in place.

• Liaising with any paid staff and volunteers about financial matters.

• Advising on the financial implications of the scheme’s strategic plans.

• Ensuring that the scheme has an appropriate investment policy.

• Ensuring that there is no conflict between any investment held and the aims and objects of the charity.

• Monitoring the scheme’s investment activity and ensuring its consistency with the organisation’s policies and legal responsibilities.

• Ensuring the scheme’s compliance with legislation.

• Ensuring equipment & assets are adequately maintained and insured.

• Ensuring that the accounts are prepared and disclosed in the form required by funders and the relevant statutory bodies i.e. The Charity Commission and/or the Registrar of Companies.

• Where external scrutiny of accounts is required, ensuring that the accounts are scrutinised in the manner required (independent examination or audit) and any recommendations are implemented.

• Keeping the board informed about its financial duties and responsibilities.

• Contributing to the fundraising strategy of the scheme.

• Making a formal presentation of the accounts at the annual general meeting and drawing attention to important points in a coherent and easily understandable way.

Trustee Declaration of Interest

• I declare that I am not disqualified from acting as a charity trustee and that:

• I am aged 18 years or over at the date of this election or appointment (only relevant for unincorporated charities);

• I am capable of managing and administering my own affairs;

• I do not have an unspent conviction relating to any offence involving deception or dishonesty;

• I am not an undischarged bankrupt nor have I made a composition or arrangement with, or granted a trust deed for, my creditors (ignore if discharged from such an arrangement);

• I am not subject to a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 or to an Order made under section 429(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986;

• I have not been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by an Order made by the Charity Commissioners or the High Court on the grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement nor am I subject to an Order under section 7 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990, preventing me from being concerned in the management or control of any relevant organisation or body.

For charities that work with children:

• I am not subject to a disqualification Order under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.

For charities that work with vulnerable adults:

• I am not disqualified under the Protection of Vulnerable Adults List.

Trustees a summary of their tasks

Trustee tasks – summary

Governance is concerned with leadership and direction and ensuring that the scheme has a clear shared vision of its purpose, knows what it is aiming to achieve, how in broad terms it will go about doing it and a clear sense of when things are to happen.

It is important to distinguish from the outset the governance matters that trustees must deal with and the day to day and operational matters that could be delegated to staff. A trustee should not be tempted to do the staff’s job for them but maintain a critical distance to be able to scrutinise and oversee the work objectively.

There are commonly 15 essential tasks for trustees to engage in with their scheme:

1. Determine, review and ensure Home-Start’s mission and vision are in accordance with its charitable objectives

2. Engage in strategic planning for the scheme

3. Formulate, adopt and assist with the implementation of policy

4. Approve and monitor Home-Start’s services and activities

5. Ensure that there are adequate financial resources to meet the short, medium and long term needs of the scheme

6. Provide for effective fiscal oversight and ensure sound risk management

7. Ensure the scheme has adequate insurance

8. Select, supervise and support the senior member of staff and review their performance.

9. Understand and respect the relationship between trustees and staff

10. Act as a responsible employer

11. Act as an ambassador for Home-Start by positively and actively engaging to promote Home-Start’s public image

12. Recruit, select and induct new trustees

13. Ensure that Home-Start business is carried out efficiently and effectively, in accordance with good practice recommendations

14. Act within the spirit of and in accordance with Home-Start’s equality of opportunity and diversity policies and procedures.

15. Lead the scheme in accordance with the Home-Start Agreement and the Quality Assurance system. With specific reference to the guidance in the Policy and Practice Guide.

More detail on these tasks can be found in Trustee Roles and Responsibilities


The law defines charity trustees as “the persons having the general control and the administration of a charity.” In ‘control’ means being able to take part in making decisions about the administration and management of the charity by voting and by speaking to influence how the other trustees vote.

Trustees may be called management committee members if the scheme is unincorporated or if incorporated they may be referred to as directors. In Home-Start we refer to trustees rather than directors. No matter what title is given, if a person is a member of the governing body and is entitled to take part in the decision making process and vote at meetings then they are a charity trustee. It is the overall responsibility of trustees to ensure that the scheme is well governed.



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