BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Induction Process

Introduction

Induction is one of the most practical ways of ensuring new Board members understand their role, the workings of the Association and their relationships with others in and outside the organisation. It underpins the work and success of every organisation by ensuring directors have all the information they need to fulfil their role and by creating a more level playing field for new directors, allowing them to engage effectively with colleagues who have more experience and knowledge of the organisation.

Overview

The CARA induction process comprises several core characteristics:

  1. The formal introduction of newly appointed directors to their position by the President and officers of the Board;
  2. The clear statement of expectations for, and the responsibilities of, new members;
  3. The specification of personal accountability;
  4. The deliberate, systematic and rapid familiarisation of new members with the Association and the operations of the Board, including a briefing by the Executive Director, provision of appropriate supporting documentation; and
  5. A culture that acknowledge the whole Board is in a new space and must consider how best to interact with, and use, the talent of new Board members.

The CARA induction process is designed to ensure:

  1. New members are assisted to make an effective contribution almost immediately;
  2. The capability and dynamics of the newly reconstituted Board is explicitly addressed and enhanced; and
  3. The Board, as a whole, is stimulated to review its assumptions and positions on key issues and processes.

Process

New directors can be easily overwhelmed by an intense, ‘one-off’ process. The induction process should therefore be prioritised and scheduled over an extended period, allowing new information to be absorbed and further inquiries made as new directors become more aware of what they need to know. However, let the director see the whole programme in advance to they have the option to request certain elements earlier, or have access to certain documents sooner.

MONTH 1

Organisational background

  • CARA history, including details of membership structure
  • Vision, Mission and Values
  • Strategic Plan and Implementation Plans
  • Latest Annual Report
  • Business model (and financial strategy)
  • Key performance indicators
  • Latest Member Survey
  • Glossary of CARA-specific jargon and/or acronyms

President

Current issues

  • Overview of recent performance
  • Key governance issues affecting CARA
  • External trends and issues affecting CARA
  • Voting and member feedback from the last AGM
  • Most recent Board evaluation

President

The role of a director

  • The role of a director and his/her statutory duties
  • Support role of the Board’s secretariat
  • Policies relevant to the director as an individual (expenses, data protection, etc)
  • Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, deeds of indemnity
  • Protocol and procedures for Board meetings, general meetings, etc

President

Board and committees

  • Board Terms of Reference: culture, structure, roles and responsibilities, decision-making processes, matters reserved for the Board, delegated authorities, items requiring approval outside Board meetings
  • Brief biographical and contact details of all directors, the Executive Director and staff
  • Schedule of Board membership
  • Board composition, Board renewal, succession plans and policy on directors’ election/re-election
  • Board (and director) assessment and appraisal
  • Sub-committee Terms of Reference

President

Boardroom behaviours

  • Explanation by the President of his/her expectations of the Board in terms of its output and behaviours
  • Culture and values, codes of conduct and ethics
  • Attendance Policy
  • Conflict of Interest Policy

President

Board meetings

  • Minutes of recent Board meetings
  • Schedule of dates of future Board meetings, with pro forma forward agendas of regular items or an indication of when routine business is transacted, i.e. the annual cycle of business
  • Description of Board procedures covering details such as when papers are issued, the method of delivery, the normal location (telephone) of meetings, dial-in details, and how long they last

Executive Director

Rules, regulations and guidance

  • Articles of Association and Bylaws
  • Description of legal matters, including obligations of directors under the terms of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act 2009

Executive Director

MONTH 2

Operations

  • Overview of operations and executive office
  • Latest Operational Plan

Executive Director

  • Risk profile and tolerance, risk management and internal control procedures and relevant [disaster] recovery plans

Executive Director

Financial matters

  • Financial structure, processes and financial reports
  • Management accounts
  • Annual operating budget(s)
  • Principal income/funding sources
  • Audit processes
  • Insurance policies
  • Bad Debt Write-off Policy
  • [Staff] Compensation Policy
  • Investment Policy
  • Procurement Policy
  • Sponsorship Policy
  • Travel Policy and expenses procedures
  • Use of Reserve Funds Policy

Treasurer

MONTH 3

Operational plans

  • Horizon Scanning
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Sponsorship

Executive Director

MONTH 4

Operational polices

  • CARA Connections Advertising Policy
  • Retention and Destruction of Records Policy
  • Volunteer Confidentiality Policy
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Webinar Participation Policy

Executive Director

MONTH 5

  • Informal review of first few months in post as director and feedback on induction process

President

Best practice points

Speak to the new director before finalising the detail of the individual induction to get their input on how it should be tailored, in relation to both content and delivery. Previous experience is of course relevant and it may be that the director is aware of some or most of the non-CARA specific items and may simply require an update in certain areas.

Vary the delivery of information, and limit the amount of data presented simply as reading material (whether in hard copy or via online reading), for example by designating meetings with other Board members to cover certain elements (as above).

Review the induction with the director at the end of the initial process, and after 12-18 months in post, seeking their input on how the induction worked and on any other requirements they may have.

Conclusions

Boards generally suffer from inadequately conceived and/or poorly implemented induction processes. An effective induction process addresses, directly or indirectly, a number of problems that may only surface many months after a new director has joined a Board.

The purpose of the CARA induction process is to ensure the new director is in a position to maximise his or her contribution to the governance of the Association from the earliest possible date. It also ensures the Board maximises the benefit of having new members.

    

In the event of inconsistency between the French and English version, the English language version shall prevail.

       

Approved by the CARA Executive Board: 6 May 2017