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close this bookHIV/AIDS Networking Guide - A comprehensive resource for individuals and organisations who wish to build, strengthen or sustain a network (International Council of AIDS Service Organisations, 1997, 48 p.)
close this folderChapter 5 - Governing Body and Staff Issues in Formalized Networks
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentSelecting a Governing Body
View the documentModels for the Structure of the Governing Body
View the documentModel 1: The Working/Administrative Governing Body
View the documentModel 2: Collective
View the documentTips to Help Distinguish Between the Role of the Governing Body and Staff
View the documentBasic Functions of Governing Bodies
View the documentSample Terms of Reference for a Member of a Governing Body
View the documentTerms of Reference for the Governing Body of an Existing AIDS Network
View the documentDefining the Role of Staff
View the documentJob Description of Network Senior Staff Person

Model 1: The Working/Administrative Governing Body

A working or administrative governing body has some responsibility for the operations of the network. In addition to providing policy and general direction, members of the governing body may help in practical ways such as drafting documents or planning the content of a skills building workshop.

Organizational Structure

In a working/administrative governing body, the work is often done in committees that either make decisions or bring recommendations to the board as a whole.

In the diagram below, the dotted line between the governing body and the senior staff person indicates a supporting relationship. Solid lines indicate reporting relationships.



A Coordinator or Executive Director is often the senior staff person. The emphasis for the senior staff role is on communication and coordination among staff and between staff and the governing body.

A team management or participatory management style is compatible with this model.

When is this model effective?

Consider this model when:

governing body members have management skills;

governing body members have organizational skills in specific areas where there are committees;

the network is small;

there is a strong governing body committee structure with clear lines of communication and terms of reference; and

governing body members are able to volunteer a significant amount of time.

Things to watch for:

1. Workload for members of the governing body is becoming more demanding.

Possible Danger:

The governing body becomes overwhelmed by the amount of work and burns out.


Provide clear procedures and terms of reference for committees.

When recruiting, outline the responsibilities and time commitment expected of governing body members.

2. Confusion is apparent between members of the governing body and staff about their respective roles.

Possible Danger:

There can be gaps and/or overlaps in the delivery of service or administration of the network.


Provide clear job descriptions that recognize some tasks can be done either by members of the governing body or by staff.

3. Members of the governing body are doing jobs for which they do not have the requisite skills.

Possible Danger:

Effectiveness of the network and the quality of its work will deteriorate.


Recruit for special skills and interest.

Provide opportunities for members of the governing body to acquire and utilize new skills.

Adapted from Boards Basics Manual for Leadership Development Programs, United Way of Canada-Centraide Canada, 1995.