This section signposts sources of information, advice, websites and publications, guidance notes, training courses, events and conferences that relate to governance for arts and cultural organisations. It is being built right now - material is being added regularly.

As it develops, it will also contain samples and models of checklists, templates, case studies of what other organisations and boards have done, and materials from training courses and events that the presenters are willing to share.

Please help build this resource into the most authoritative and useful place to find governance related stuff for arts and cultural organisations by contributing materials. Email to Either send material for inclusion, or ask for permission to upload materials yourself.

Sections below cover:
  • Top Ten Most Useful Resources
  • Board Development and Review
  • Chairs and CEOs
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Finances and Accounts
  • Legal
  • Meetings and AwayDays
  • People Matters
  • Planning and Strategy
  • Skills Auditing and Recruiting Board Members
  • Understanding Arts and Culture and the Voluntary sector
  • Valuable material from further afield

Top Ten - Most Useful

1. The most influential guide to being a board member of an arts organisation is still Care, Diligence and Skill from the Scottish Arts Council, just republished (1st September 2008) in its 6th edition by TSO Scotland and available as a free download from

2. The key website for all governance matters is which has a vast range of useful materials on it
and links to many other sites, including On Board and Do It. You will also find the Governance Code here. Also is a useful new resource.

3. All Ways Learning, who support learning and professional development for those managing the arts, has published Working
Together briefing papers for staff and boards,
available as a free download or as a priced printed publication at £9 plus p&p.

4. Useful publications can be found at the Directory of Social Change (DSC) including David Fishel's Boards that
David was Chief Executive of the Liverpool Playhouse and held board roles in arts organisations and draws for the book on materials created for the Arts Council's board development programme in the 1990s, so it is very relevant to arts and cultural organisations. Other invaluable titles include The Charity Trustees Handbook, the Charity Treasurers Handbook, and The Minute
Takers Handbook
(which covers many aspects of meetings, not just minutes). The DSC also run conferences, events and training courses of relevance to board members and Chief Executives, including The skills of chairing meetings, Minute taking skills and Its Tough at the Top - Leading teams and working with the board.

5. The NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) runs a Trustee conference, a Leadership Summit for Chief Executives
and Chairs, and have events, publications and on-line resources for trustees on governance matters. Their Trustee Information
Centre is full of useful materials and links. Find it under Ask NCVO on their website.

6. The Charity Commission's website is full of useful information if your organisation has charitable status and is at

7. The Independent Theatre Council (ITC) runs short courses in London for senior staff members and board members on
governance and leadership matters

8. Mission, Models and Money is an important programme of research and development into arts and cultural organisations and its website has many valuable materials on it, including a report on governance (also available here as a downloadable file), materials
from its governance roadshow, a summary of useful other sources on governance, and case studies of arts organisations' boards
and governance issues.

9. The Cultural Leadership Programme (of which GOLD is a part) has two reports on governance (by Graham Devlin and Caroline
Felton) and many other items of relevance and interest. The reports are also available here as downloadable files.

10. Arts & Business has a Board Bank and a Skills Bank, and some of their regional offices run courses for Chief Executives and
board members about boards and governance. Three of their regions are running a new Board Bank for young professionals
aged 18-25 years.

Board development and review

See Board review under the themes here

Boards count - calling itself the first governance benchmarking service for the Third sector - was launched at the ACEVO
Conference in November 2007. It reports in detail on 12 topics and can provide reports comparing your organisation to others taking

Chairs and CEOs

See Just for Chairs under the themes here and Chairs Day under the theme networking here

ACEVO - the Association for Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations - has on-line tools and training courses that are relevant.
Its Annual conference in 2007 was on Governing the Future: The roles of chairs and chief executives. It explored the future of third sector governance. It presented the results of the “Brook Commission” inquiry into CEOs’ roles in governance.

DSC runs a short course - Its Tough at the Top: teams and working with boards, Skills of chairing meetings.
One of their publications, A Management Companion addresses this issue, and it is covered in other titles they publish.

NCVO held a Leadership Summit for Chairs and CEOs entitled Cutting Edge Leadership in 2007 and a Dinner for
Chairs and Chief Executives of NCVO Member Organisations.

Diversity and Inclusion

GAIN (Governance, Access, Inclusion and Networking) is an initiative to support arts and sports organisations in London in
diversifying their boards. One programme ran in 2007 and another starting in September 2008. It has provided a seminar programme and networking events for organisations’ board members and CEOs, and for potential board members from the BME community. It is run by ITC (see above), and it is funded by Arts Council, Sports Equal, the Mayor's office and Arts & Business have a role in it too.

Finances and Accounts

DSC has useful publications including The Charity Treasurer's Handbook, and Practical Guide to Financial Management - third edition September 2007, and training courses in accounting and financial management.

NCVO has both very useful on-line resources covering risk, investments, accounts, audits and much more (buried under Ask NCVO, then Governance / Trustees then finance) and publications.

ITC has a short course, Finance for board members.


See under Legal frameworks for papers from update seminars - including a note of the recent changes in Company Law and recommendations for action. Next seminar and networking session, Tuesday 14th October 2008 at The Place, London.

To keep up to date with legal matters, the key reference resource is the new edition of the Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook from DSC when it is published - now to be called the Russell Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook. DSC also has a good range of other books on legal matters[[|]]

Sandy Adirondack, a trainer in governance and legal matters for the voluntary sector and co-author of the Legal Handbook (see above), runs a wonderful legal update service on her website and with email updates.

The government's own website is useful.

Companies House is relevant if your organisation is (as most arts organisations are) a Limited Company,

Interchange Training (London) runs a one day course on the Duties of the Company Secretary / Director 3 times a year.

If you need to incorporate an arts organisation as a Limited Company and/or apply for charitable status, ITC, Interchange and Co-operatives UK (not restricted to co-ops) all offer this service.

The Arts Council has a model Memorandum and Articles of Association.

ITC runs seminars on Incorporation and charitable status.

Co-operatives UK has useful free on line Select a Structure questionnaire and information sheets about many legal structure matters.
They have also been working with the Governance Hub and have produced a new guide for the voluntary and community sectors on legal forms and organisational types, and the related governance issues. Entitled 'Governance and Organisational Structures', the publication seeks to provide a straightforward guide through the maze of various legal structures and organisational types, and offers an insight into the implications for charitable status, governance arrangements, and the suitability of the various options for groups and organisations in the social economy looking at creating new organisations or modifying existing structures. Available as a free download from

There are some firms of solicitors who specialise in voluntary sector and/or arts and cultural work on legal structures and related matters. Their websites have free guidance materials and they offer free update services.
Bates, Wells and Braithwaite
The Charity Team at Russell Cooke
Swan Turton

If you are involved in a small new organisation and are looking for an introduction to all the various choices that there are on legal structure - from charitable, non-profit through to commercial, then there is good short description of them on the Business Link site,
under Starting Up.

Meetings and AwayDays

As meetings are the setting in which boards do most of their work and make the key decisions it is important that board meetings are as well run as possible. Knowledge and skills with groups and teams are also relevant.

There are some useful books that cover the subject of meetings - Meeting Together, by Lois Graessle and George Gawlinski, published by Planning Together Associates and Get2thepoint 2006 The website has extracts from the book on it as free downloads. ITC has a one day course run by Lois Graessle, co-author of Meeting Together

Other books are The Charity Trustees Handbook, Minute Taker’s Handbook, and Boards that Work from DSC
Working Together 1 Briefing Papers for staff and board members published by All Ways Learning

ITC has a one day course on Taking and Writing Minutes

DSC runs a one day course on Skills of chairing meetings and Minute Taking Skills

People Matters

People and employment is a complex area for arts and cultural organisations. It is the area with the greatest amount of legislation and legal responsibilities. The connections between the organisation and the people are also very varied - they may be full or part time employees, volunteers, fee paid specialists or casual employees (usually short term), and the board members or trustees themselves.
The board has direct responsibility for the employment of the CEO, and remains finally responsible as the employer of all staff.

Employer responsibilites and guidance on people policies are covered well by ACAS, the Government's site and Business Link Specifics on equality issues can be found at the CRE, EOC (and from October 2007 the Commission for Equality and Human Rights - CEHR and Disability Rights Commission sites

Health and safety is a related issue. See Health and Safety Executive on and a free advisory service for small firms at Workplace Health Connect on

A Report for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Performing Arts Organisations and Education: a Role for Boards

Click here to find out the story behind this project.

Planning and Strategy

See under "Business" theme here

ITC is running a one day course on Strategic Planning and How to Write a Business Plan

Skills Auditing and Recruiting Board Members

See under Building the Board theme click here

ITC runs two half day seminars - Skills audit for your board and Welcoming and inducting new board members

The Governance Hub website and NCVO's have considerable resources on them and link to other specialist ones such as
On Board and Do it.

Understanding arts and culture and the non-profit distributing / voluntary / charitable sector

Many board members have experience in business or the public sector, and ask for some orientation when first joining the board of an arts or cultural organisation. If the arts world or the non-profit world is new to you, then there are a range of resources to help you tune in to the differences.

See The Bigger Picture under themes here for the Meeting Minds event on 15 November - What does success look like for arts and cultural organisations?

ITC runs a half day course on How to work well with your board (28 November, London).

For explaining the voluntary sector, the Governance Hub is a good start

The publications from Directory of Social Change (DSC) are very good at describing the differences (and the similarities) between the private and public sectors and the world of the non-profit-distributing or charitable organisation. Mike Hudson's Managing without Profit gives a fascinating history of the development of the voluntary sector, and draws on management theory and practice from the private sector and shows its adaptation and application in the voluntary sector. The Charity Trustees Handbook and The Charity Treasurers Handbook both address some of the differences.

Care, Diligence and Skill, the free publication from the Scottish Arts Council is a good first read and tackles the specific differences for new board members of arts organisations coming from a business or private sector background.

For more general descriptions and guidance on the arts world, ITC has produced a free downloadable guide that describes the current world of the performing arts in the UK. All Ways Learning has a series of papers in their research and publications section about Exploring or Understanding Arts Management and its context, and two publications (free as downloads or order priced printed copies) Diverse Voices and Passion & Performance. The first is based on interviews with eleven fascinating individuals who tell their stories of careers in the arts and it is topped and tailed by essays that outline and analyse some of the current issues in arts management. Passion & Performance is based on research and conversations with over 70 producers and managers in theatre and dance.

Valuable Material from Further Afield

There is some interesting material from the United States Non-Profit sector:

    • The NCVO Annual Trustee Conference on 8 October 2007 in London had Carol Weisman (Boardbuilders USA) and Jerry Paul (Deaconness Foundation USA) speaking at it.

Board Source
This site has an ask the experts service

Carver Governance
An influential American writer John Carver has developed his model of Policy Governance. This is being piloted with some arts organisations within the governance strand of the Cultural Leadership Programme. See the blog for further information about this pilot.

Jossey Bass an imprint of Wiley
Key books:
Governance as leadership, reframing the work of non-profit boards by Richard Chait and others Jossey Bass 2004
Boards that make a difference by John Carver Jossey Bass 2006
The Board Member’s Play Book by Miriam Carver and Bill Charney Jossey Bass
available from Amazon

Great short articles on Governance as Leadership
at [[|]]
and [[|]]

Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge
For its non profit and social enterprise stuff

From Australia
**On Board – Serving on the Board of an Arts Organisation - FREE PDF download**
by David Fishel, published by The Australia Council for the Arts.
This booklet provides brief notes and checklists on four aspects of a board's operations: legal and financial responsibilities, relationship with the CEO, strategic and financial planning, and recruitment and induction of members.

and a new find:


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There are more good governance resources here