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Board Blog: Our Board and Transparency

As a Board we would like to be more transparent and so will be attempting to reveal more about our deliberations via occasional blogs.

The Board of Trustees is the ultimate decision-making group within The Equality Trust and Board members individually and jointly bear responsibility for the finances and operations of the Trust.  We meet at least quarterly to review progress, check on our finances and engage with the day-to-day managers of the Trust to provide them with support.

 We have felt for some time that we should be more transparent about how we work as a Board, to ensure that all our stakeholders understand our role and our decisions.  Whilst we have formal agendas and minutes of all our meetings, these tend to be rather opaque and frankly, boring!  So we have decided that we will, from time to time, blog about our key decisions and any important developments.

A key recent development has been to move to a different structure at the very top of our organisation – recently appointing Jo Wittams and Priya Sahni-Nicholas as our new Co-Executive Directors.  Whilst sharing a role is not unknown, it is relatively uncommon at the top of organisations within our sector.  Nevertheless, we were fortunate to benefit from conversations with some of the other organisations who have pioneered such a shift in leadership model, to resounding success.

Ultimately, we recognised that in small organisations where a classic management structure comprising a full executive team is not practical, it is also not always practical to expect a single individual to embody the entire range of skills across strategic leadership, external influencing, high managerial standards and mastery of project detail. Appointing two equal Executive Directors allows us to work with two individuals with complementary skills who can also gain from flexible working and mutual support.

As well as the practical benefits, co-leadership is part of one of our key values: collaboration. As The Equality Trust campaigns for decision-making structures to become more democratic and inclusive, the Board believe we should also benefit from a more collaborative leadership.  

And we have indeed been greatly encouraged by the early days of the new management model, with clear indications that it can help to achieve greater organisational stability, greater management bandwidth, and improved flexibility thus supporting diversity and inclusion.

We trust that our supporters and other stakeholders will find added insight into the decision-making of the Board of value as we continue with these occasional blogs. 

Gerry Boyle spent thirty years working in consulting including as a Partner in one of the world’s leading consulting firms.  He then spent several years working in international development for Oxfam and then CARE International UK, where he was senior policy adviser on women’s economic empowerment.  Gerry has an MA in Law from Oxford University and an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE.  Gerry is a Fellow of the RSA.