Evaluation of Chair/CEO Discussion Group Network
Report produced by Nicola Thorold - May 2011
Since 2007, the Clore Leadership Programme has promoted good governance in the cultural sector by offering a number of development opportunities for cultural organisations. These have included facilitated away-days for whole boards and training days for chairs and chief executives. In 2010, Clore launched three new initiatives building on the success of this work: a discussion group for chairs and chief executives, an online network and a symposium for board members and executives focusing on how they can jointly create strong cultural organisations. This study originated in the evaluation of the discussion group and network, drawing on feed-back from participants and observation. However, given participants' wider experience of governance development opportunities offered by Clore, their feed-back ranged broadly and this paper is able to offer greater insight than originally anticipated.
Key conclusions from this review are:
•· The Clore Leadership Programme's work around governance is highly valued and respected.
•· The focus on good practice beyond ‘stewardship', and emphasis on the sensitive issue of the relationship between chairs and chief executives is particularly endorsed.
•· Learning opportunities that involve peers sharing personal experience through case studies and discussion are seen as particularly effective and appropriate for senior leaders.
•· There is an appetite among chairs of boards for greater networking opportunities with other chairs. This is a potential legacy of the discussion group that Clore might consider further.
•· There is a perceived need for continued focus on the relationship between board members and the executive - beyond the chair/chief executive.
•· The online discussion forum has not yet become a network of people that interact with each other and shares experiences. This needs further consideration if it is to be continued.
Feed-back emphasized that the Clore Leadership Programme is believed to understand the values of the cultural sector. It has the ability to attract high calibre speakers and participants for development opportunities and there is also confidence in the chairing and facilitation of events. The combination of these factors contribute to significant levels of trust in the Programme and willingness by senior leaders in the sector to be involved. Clore's role in supporting good governance is seen as essential at a point when arts organisations face challenging times and when other agencies, such as the Cultural Leadership Programme are no longer playing an active role.