What is a Committee? Roles and Responsibilities

Slide 1

Welcome to this introduction to roles and responsibilities within committees, for small charities and voluntary groups by Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership between CCVS and Hunts Forum.

This short online module will give you an understanding of what a committee is, the roles and responsibilities within a committee, as well as some tips for success.

It is supported by a transcript and guidance links, that will take you to additional resources and information.

Slide 2

What is a Committee?

Every community group or organisation (most are Associations) and registered charity has a governing body, a group of people that manages its affairs or leads it into the future.

Slide 3

Most community associations and all charities have a constitution (or set of rules). A section of this defines the committee, including its size and how often it should meet.

Slide 4

The committee tends to be drawn from members of the association and is elected by them, usually at an annual general meeting (AGM). A very small group may meet informally and have no elected committee.

In this instance the entire association is the management committee and so are responsible for managing its affairs. Many associations with modest aims and activities run very successfully like this.

Slide 5

There are often different roles within a committee, and I will talk through these during this module.

Although responsibilities may vary within a committee, all members have the same legal and financial responsibilities.

Slide 6

Roles within a committee

The Chair

The chair is a trustee with a specific role on the board, they are elected or appointed, the main responsibilities of the chair are to

  • lead meetings of the committee, acting as the chair, moving the meeting forward.
  • Ensure clear policies and priorities, keeping you on track.
  • Act as the main spokesperson, for example, representing you group at functions, meetings or in the press.
  • takes urgent action (but not decision-making unless authorised) between meetings when it isn’t possible or practical to hold a meeting.
  • Then also, depending on the size of your group, supporting, and supervising the staff or chief executive and acting as a channel of communication between the board and staff team.

The responsibilities listed aren’t exclusively roles for the chair, but this gives you an understanding of what the role can include.

Slide 7

In addition to chair, some boards have the specific role of vice-chair.

The vice-chair’s role varies from charity to charity. In some charities the vice-chair acts as a deputy for the chair, taking on the chair’s role when the chair is absent. In others, the vice-chair is the ‘chair in waiting’ or ‘chair designate’ and will take over the chair’s role in the future.

Slide 8

There is also the Treasurer.

Generally, the treasurer helps committees carry out their financial responsibilities.

They might do this by:

  • presenting financial reports to the board in a format that helps the board understand the charity’s financial position.
  • advising the board on how to carry out its financial responsibilities.
  • working with professional advisors
  • overseeing the preparation and scrutiny of annual accounts

In small charities they take on some or all day-to-day financial duties, such as book-keeping, budgeting, and preparation of reports.

The work of the treasurer can vary significantly, depending on the size of your group or charities.

Slide 9

Then there is also the secretary.

Not all groups will have a secretary role, but it can help ensure that someone is taking lead on the admin and organisation of committee meetings.

They would generally be responsible for

  • Recording the decisions of the Committee
  • Ensuring minutes and papers are sent out in advance of meetings and that rooms are booked, or online meeting requests sent.
  • Dealing with any correspondence on behalf of the group.

You might also have sub-committees, depending on the size of your association or charity, to help you tackle particular tasks or topics.

More detail on these roles can be found on this web page, including links to template role descriptions.

Slide 10

What are the shared responsibilities of a committee?

Members of a committee are essentially a team that have joint responsibility for keeping a community group or charity on track.

For example, it is important to review your activities to ensure you continue to deliver what you were set-up for. The way you are involved will depend on the size of your group or charity.

Examples include:

Following your rules

Whilst some committee members might lead on elements, all should be familiar with your constitution. The constitution will set out things such as how often meetings should take place or who is entitled to attend.

Planning events & activities

If you are a small charity or association, members of the committee will likely play keys roles in the day to day running of your group’s activities, as well as making decisions about your future and finance’s.

Finance & Fundraising

Every committee member is responsible for making sure that the association accounts for its money properly. Fundraising is also an important task. This can include working out a basic budget and how your groups will raise funds.

Policies and procedures

Depending on what your group do, you will need policies and procedures to ensure you are doing it safely. Common policies needed by groups include health & safety, data protection and safeguarding. More information about policies is included within this module’s transcript.

Equal opportunities

Equal opportunities is something that should underpin everything that your group does, from running it’s activities to running its committee. The committee should ensure that is welcoming and considerate to all members and that all voices are heard and respected.

Insurance and liability

You will need to make sure you that have the right insurance in place, depending on what your group does. You can watch ‘introduction to insurance’ 0n-demand module for more information on this.

Get help if needed

Remember that you are not alone, and you’re not expected to know everything. Get expert advice if you need it and talk to your local CVS for support.

You can watch our ‘what trustees do’ on-demand module for more information on the responsibilities of trustees.

Slide 11

In summary, here are some tips for running successful committees.

  • Stay open and welcoming, this can help you develop the skills on the committee and bring in new viewpoints and ideas.
  • Think about how you can develop your committees’ skills or whether there are skills gaps you would like to recruit for
  • Can you offer flexibility, for example, can you arrange meetings at time that will suit people that are working or have caring responsibilities
  • Make sure meetings are constructive & to the point, that different opinions are valued, and everyone is treated with respect
  • Try to ensure the committee stay in the loop & get involved, this will help you move ideas forward and make the most of the team
  • Know, remember, prioritise the group’s purpose, this should be what you always go back to
  • And act as ambassadors, the committees can help raise awareness of your group, so be proud and champion what you do.

Slide 12

We hope that you have found this module helpful. Please do contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk if you would like further support. Thank you.


Guidance links: 

NEW! On-Demand video – Attracting Volunteers & What is a committee?

We have recently added a new on-demand session to our portal, this one centers around attracting volunteers.

Summary of Voluntary Sector Representation from Boards/Committees (Oct-Nov 23)

C&P ICB Commissioning & Investment Committee and Improvement and Reform Committee

 6th October 2023

 Miriam Martin (Caring Together)

  • Non-emergency patient transport services – an update on planned procurement process and timetable. Now open for tender. New service will commence in October 2024.
  • Integrated urgent care –Current contract extended by two years to Oct 25 when new contract will start. Extension was agreed to ensure opportunity to engage stakeholders and patients in creating the spec.
  • Winter capacity – In 2023/34monies have been received including some monies for adult social care.
  • Targeted lung health checks – paper identified options for roll out in preparation for an expected national lung cancer screening programme. The committee approved the end to end service model to be outsourced to a single provider.
  • Cardio-vascular disease programme – Monies have been made available from Public Healt to support CVD prevention. The committee approved the proposal to support improved outcomes in the detection and treatment of CVD risk factors.
  • Managed Care Hub – The committee approved a proposal to establish a facility in the North Cambs/Peterborough partnership to provide a dynamic managed care hub targeting hard to reach patients. This provides an opportunity for the Voluntary sector to engage and become part of a holistic service offer for a range of conditions.

The next meeting is 15th December.


Quality Performance and Finance 

27th October 2023

Rachel Talbot (Cambridge CAB)

Finance They are on track and doing pretty much the best in the region however the Deputy CEO warned that this Winter will bring as many difficulties as during Covid. She asked that everyone do what they can to make savings wherever they can.

Prescribing Facing a large overspend although apparently doing better than most areas. Key problems = population increase; cost of drugs; increasing/better  diagnosis of conditions like diabetes (= more statins); overprescribing.

We are the 4th lowest cost per 1000 patients. Nd 4th best for procurement. Sharing more amongst regional and national networks.

Learning disabilities 54 deaths up from 23 in 2019. Leading cause of death = respiratory system.


  • Continuing industrial action in the NHS has had a significant impact on patients, with almost 400,000 appointments having to be rescheduled during June, July and August 2023 as a result
  • of strikes
  • Demand for cancer services continued at record levels in July 2023, with the number of urgent suspected cancer referrals at 130% of pre-pandemic levels.
  • The NHS M4 year to date financial position is £794m above plan

Local: October headlines

  • The systems financial position-at Month 6- shows in deficit
  • A&E performance 4 hour performance : is off trajectory for September at a system level 67% against a trajectory of 71.1%;
  • Overall outpatient activity: remains below the set operational plan, currently at 92%.
  • Cancer performance is becoming increasingly more challenged. The 28 Day Cancer Faster Diagnosis standard has regressed from the previous month, falling below the 75% target
  • Annual Physical Health Checks (APHC ) for Severe Mental illness register patients: For Qtr 2 C&P delivered 59% (2284) of our annual target of 4027 checks. The End of the year forecast position: 110% of target of 4027, a 75%uptake against SMI register.
  • Inappropriate Out of Area Bed days – Mental Health: has reduced from 920 bed days a month in April to 690 in latest month (July).
  • Patients not meeting the criteria and not discharged: Performance continues to be strong, and significantly better than the same period in 22/23, and ranks in the top quartile nationally.
  • Urgent Community services: The number of referrals and response within 2 hours continues to show month or month improvement with a 25% increase in referrals April to August
  • Theatre Productivity: Remains high at 79.2% comparative to peers although below the target at 85%.
  • Diagnostic activity across all areas is performing above the planned level at 102% (CUH 103%, NWAFT 101%, and RPHFT 104%).


System Leadership Group

13th November 2023

Sharon Allen (Arthur Rank)

Following the meeting in September to review structures and working of Local People Board and it’s sub-groups, this group has combined the work of two previous groups; Leadership and Organisational Development and System OD and is co-chaired by Anita Pisani, Deputy CEO at Cambridgeshire Community Services and Sam Carr, Assistant Director Systems and Organisational Development, CCS who also has a system role.

The group has four objectives:

  • Work as a system to embed Compassionate Culture through design and delivery of OD interventions and ensure the Leadership Compact is embedded through the system;
  • Develop a systematic and coordinated approach to managing talent and succession planning across the ICS;
  • Use staff surveys (NHS and system partners) to identify improvement actions;
  • Develop system leadership, teaching everyone to work beyond our own organisational boundaries to support the needs of local people. Create collaborative and inclusive cultures across the ICS that engenders joint working and common purpose.
  • We discussed Talent Management and the support being provided to progress this and how we can ensure this is genuinely system wide, recognising the challenges of different parts of the system not being equally resourced or able to offer comparable T&C for colleagues. NHS England is currently piloting a programme called Scope for Growth and information was shared on this.
  • The importance of everyone in our system being aware of and integrating the Leadership Compact (which is referenced in our VCSE strategy) was reinforced to foster a shared approach to leadership across our system.

Update on Leadership programmes:

  • An update of Springboard programme was given and information circulated separately to Health Alliance
  • Mary Seacole is a programme aimed at middle managers and the programme is looking for additional facilitators, particularly from the North of the county, training will be provided.
  • A further cohort of Leading Beyond Boundaries is underway and we have several Health Alliance colleagues on this programme and it will be good to hear back from them in due course about their experience. The alumni event that had to be postponed due to impact of industrial action is still be rescheduled.
  • Stepping Up and Ready Now programmes are leadership programmes for colleagues from ethnically diverse backgrounds. A local provider has been sourced, and the system needs to determine how to resource secure this. BLMK (Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes) ICS has suggested a joint approach which will share costs and places and the group agreed to pursue.

Actions for VCSE partners or Health Alliance

  • It would be good to know how many Alliance members complete any form of staff survey and particularly any who are willing to share results for comparison across the system.
  • Consider applying for Springboard Women’s Leadership programme – also any women leaders in our sector who are willing to share your career journey at one of the sessions, please contact Mel Paine, melanie.paine1@nhs.net – it would be great for more colleagues from across the system to hear from voluntary sector women leaders!


Local People Board

17th November 2023

Sharon Allen (Arthur Rank)

A risk was raised under the BAF (Board Assurance Framework) about the reservist programme that has been running. The funding for the project managers supporting this programme is ending at the end of March and the board was asked to note this and the risks to the programme. This is of course a risk across many programmes and one that the voluntary sector is very familiar with so I raised the point that the ICS needs to be aware of all projects that are at risk due to loss of specific funding to determine how best to prioritise any ongoing support.

There was also discussion about where Freedom to Speak Up Guardians sit within the approach to managing risk.

There was an update on the structure and the Enabler groups that sit under the People Board:

  • EDI (rep Gemma Manning, ARHC)
  • Leadership and OD (Sharon Allen, ARHC)
  • Recruitment (Sharon Allen, ARHC)
  • Retention (Tbc)
  • Education and Development (Kay Hardwick, ARHC)
  • Workforce Planning (tbc)
  • Health and Wellbeing (Kat Shepherdson, Hunts Vol Forum?)
  • Futures (tbc)

Brief update on ‘Above Difference’ Programme starting Jan 2024, Health Alliance has three members joining who will share feedback.

Presentation from Jo Oldfield from the Training Hub which supports GP practices and Primary Care Networks (PCN’s) with Organisational Development, recruitment and retention, learning and development, leadership and strategic growth. The Training Hub is the delivery arm for national NHSE primary care workforce initiatives locally.

The Health and Care Academy is delivering an ICS careers expo for Year 10 students and potential apprentices/ new recruits, on the 27th & 28th March 2024 at ARU-P.

I continue to raise the point about the challenge of trying to implement initiatives that are One Workforce focused when there are such differences across our sectors, this is acknowledged which is positive. The ICB has employed Bev Hoskin as Head of Pay and Reward across the system, a very challenging role. I have had an induction meeting with her in my role as HA rep on the People Board and shared what we have done. It would be good to invite her to a future HA meeting.

Actions for VCSE partners or Health Alliance

  • Are any Health Alliance members able to attend the Enabler groups where we do not currently have representation?
  • It would be good to know which Health Alliance members have a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, there is a system wide network which we need to be linked into.
  • Look out for details of ICS careers expo in March and ensure Health Alliance members participate.
  • Are colleagues happy for me to share the work we did some time back from Hunts Voluntary Forum CEO network on T&C in our sector (anonymised) with Bev Hoskins




Health Alliance Meeting – 6th December 2023

Read about what was discussed at the December Health Alliance meeting.

Governance Month 2023 Feedback

In November 2023, Support Cambridgeshire partners delivered a range of events that fall under the Governance theme, which was an adaption of the previous year’s events, which looked explicitly at trusteeship. All events were well received, and a write-up of ‘Reserves: what are they good for?’ by Ben Jowitt from CAF can be found HERE with slides and recordings.

Below, you can see the feedback received from those who attended.

An infographic showing the feedback from the Governance event for 2023

Cambs SCF / Stay Well for Cambridgeshire / Ongoing

Grants available: up to £400

District: Cambridgeshire (currently excluding Peterborough)

Applications open: Rolling

Who is the funding for: Referring organisations on behalf of individuals

Link: https://www.cambscf.org.uk/funds/stay-well/


PLEASE NOTE: This fund will remain open until funds are exhausted and applications may close at short notice.

Grant applicants must be referred by an organisation, either in the voluntary sector or a local authority, that has assessed the circumstances and can verify that the individual or family are in an extreme crisis and need of immediate assistance. All payments of awards will be made directly to the referring organisation and not to the energy company or fuel supplier.

For those who are homeless, home items that assist with keeping warm (such as sleeping bags or blankets) will be considered. We cannot accept applications for clothing.

Repeated or multiple requests for one family or individual are not anticipated as this grant is only intended to help those in extreme and urgent crises.


Have you sign up to Volunteer Cambs yet?

If your thinking about signing up to Volunteer Cambs, watch Sally Page present this talk about the website and it functions.

Cambridge City Council / Area Committee Grants / Closes 31 January 2024

Grants available: You can apply for up to £5,000 per area – this can be for a single activity or split between multiple activities.

Applications close: 31 January 2024

Who is the funding for: Your group must be set up for charitable or philanthropic purposes.



Area Committee Community Grants are set up to help reduce social and economic inequality for Cambridge residents with the most need. Community and voluntary groups can apply for up to £5,000 to run activities in specific areas that will help to do this.

Activities funded with these grants must address one or more of the following priorities:

  • Promoting active lifestyles
  • Providing arts and cultural activities
  • Providing community development activities
  • Providing activities to help reduce poverty
  • Providing legal or financial advice – groups must have the Advice Quality Standard or equivalent
  • Providing employment support
  • Helping to build capacity in the voluntary sector to achieve the above

Available funding 

The four area committees cover the city’s 14 wards. The provisional fund of £70,000 will be split between the four areas as follows:

  • £24,633 for the North area, which covers Arbury, East Chesterton, King’s Hedges and West Chesterton wards
  • £23,289 for the East area, which covers Abbey, Coleridge, Petersfield and Romsey wards
  • £15,202 for the South area, which covers Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith’s and Trumpington wards
  • £6,876 for the West/ Central area, which covers Castle, Market and Newnham wards

Activities must benefit people living in one of the four areas of Cambridge. This ward map shows the boundaries of each ward.

You can apply for up to £5,000 per area – this can be for a single activity or split between multiple activities. Do not apply for funding for the same activity in all four areas – you should apply for a community grant for citywide activities.

Available funding is subject to the confirmation of the Council’s budget in February 2024. Eligibility does not guarantee funding. We expect a high demand for this funding, so might not be able to award the full amount you request.

CLICK HERE to find out more and apply

Healthier Futures fund round one awardees

Earlier in the year, NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough launched the Healthier Future Fund, which allowed groups to apply for up to £50,000 – £100,000 pa (£100,000 – £300,000 over three years) for initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of local people.

Through the Healthier Futures fund, NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough has made £2 million available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners across the area to deliver health and wellbeing improvements for their local people and communities.

Key aims of the fund

Healthier Futures grants aim to support initiatives that focus on the key priorities for NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and the wider Integrated Care System, including:

  • Children’s & young people’s mental health
  • Frailty
  • People who use health services very frequently
  • People who have an irreversible progressive disease or medical condition that can significantly impact on quality of life
  • Cardiovascular disease (including but not limited to smoking cessation)
  • Supporting people are medically fit to leave hospital


The finalists of the first round were announced on 11th December. Projects awarded as part of the first round include:

Viva Arts and Community Group – A partnership of 11 voluntary and community groups working together to support people living with dementia in East Cambridgeshire.

Ormiston Families – Supporting children with pre and post bereavement counselling across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The Ferry Project – Delivering a programme of creative activities to support the mental health wellbeing of people living in Wisbech including those who are homeless or from migrant communities.

Light Project Peterborough – Providing a training programme for people with lived experience of homelessness to develop the skills and knowledge to support others in their journey out of homelessness.

Groundwork East – Delivering a programme of outdoor activities to support people living in Yaxley including family outdoor play, food growing courses, outdoor gym, and buggy fitness classes.

Earth and Mind CIC – Delivering nature-based interventions to support people’s mental health and those using health services frequently, including gardening and woodworking course, allotments, and foraging courses.

Peterborough Women’s Aid – Providing trauma support to primary school children impacted by domestic abuse and providing education about domestic abuse and exploitation to secondary and sixth form schools.

Head to Toe Charity – Launching a new Community Butterfly Service in Peterborough providing one-to-one peer support and befriending to people receiving palliative care.

Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum – Recruiting a team of community volunteer health ambassadors to address long-term health inequalities through grassroot community engagement and cultural intelligence training in health settings like medical centres.

Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust – Delivering community walks in Huntingdon for vulnerable people, encouraging them to be proactive in addressing their own health needs through gentle exercise and socialising with local people.

Cambridge Acorn Project – Developing a Street-Level Wellbeing Support System in Abbey, Cambridge alongside Abbey People and Cambridge United Foundation, including weekly community wellbeing drop-in sessions.


To read the full article, please click here : https://www.cpics.org.uk/news/healthier-futures-fund-announcement-2539

Benefact Trust / Christian communities and wider communities / Submitted at anytime

Grants available: Discretionary

Applications close: N/A

Who is the funding for: Churches, cathedrals, denominational bodies, Christian charities, schools, and theological institutions across the UK


The Community Impact Fund is provided and administered by Benefact Trust.

Objectives of Fund

This fund aims to support Christian organisations to deliver projects that will make a positive and transformative impact on lives and communities and contribute to the following objectives:

  • Growing congregations and Christian communities.
  • Addressing social challenges facing communities.
  • Enabling wider community use of church buildings.
  • Empowering Christian education.

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