Defining Governance

Governance (sometimes referred to as 'corporate governance') can be described as the system that ensures the fit between the organisation's mission and its performance. In essence, governance is about being in control and taking overall responsibility for the work and actions of an organisation. Good governance occurs when an organisation uses transparent decision-making processes to direct its resources and exercise power in an effective and accountable way. The governing body is there to account for what the organisation does and how it does it; the 'buck stops' with those who govern an organisation.
 

The governing body makes a unique contribution to an organisation by focusing on the achievement of longterm aims... 

 
A long-term vision
 
The governing body makes a unique contribution to an organisation by focusing on the achievement of longterm aims. Whether the organisation is about making a difference in a specific geographic area, changing perceptions and attitudes, delivering a much needed service, or improving the quality of life for a particular group, the governing body is there to help the organisation realise its overall vision and its specific goals.
 
Governors
 
The prime governors of an organisation are members of the governing body. Whether these individuals are called 'management committee members', 'directors', 'trustees', or something else, will depend on the legal status and custom of the organisation. Their titles matter little. What is more important is that the individuals involved, and others in the organisation, are clear about the duties and liabilities associated with their governance role.
 
Clarifying which part of the organisation governs 
 
In some organisations with complex structures, there is the possibility of confusion about which part of the organisation is in fact the governing body - if, for example, they have both a management committee and an executive committee, or both a council and a board. It is imperative that everyone is clear which part of the organisation is the governing body.