Do you have the power?

Kathy Faulks explains about sub-committees, a subject that isn't as boring as it sounds!

kathy faulks


To have the power to delegate to subcommittees can be unbelievably helpful to a charity. But, make sure that your governing document allows your charity to delegate in this way. If you are a company your governing document will be called a  ”memorandum and articles of association”. If you are an unincorporated association or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation your governing document will be called a “constitution”. If you are a charitable trust your governing document will be called a “trust deed”. If you are an Industrial and Provident Society your governing document will be called “rules”.

Here is the delegation clause in the articles of association produced by the Charity Commission:

  • 46(1) The directors may delegate any of their powers or functions to a committee of two or more directors but the terms of any delegation must be recorded in the minute book.
  • (2) The directors may impose conditions when delegating, including the conditions that (a) the relevant powers are to be exercised exclusively by the committee to whom they delegate and  (b) no expenditure may be incurred on behalf of the charity except in accordance with a budget previously agreed with the directors.
  • (3) The directors may revoke or alter a delegation.
  • (4) All acts and proceedings of any committees must be fully and promptly reported to the directors.

Common sub-committees

The most common sub committees are:

  • Employment
  • Finance
  • Fundraising
  • A community centre might have a buildings sub committee.
  • A charity representing a marginalised community might have an outreach sub committee.
  • A charity that carries out a lot of partnership work might have a partnership sub committee.

The hard and fast rules are about the nature of the sub committee, not what the sub committee has been set up to do.

I would say think twice before delegating to a sub committee - it may cause more work than it saves, especially for small charities. Remember - a  sub committee is responsible to the board!

Find out more

For more about Boards and Management Committees, visit the Help & Advice section of Doing Good Leeds.

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