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S4 Board Number

Governance Decision-Making Tool

Stakeholder Engagement

How many people should be on the Board/steering group?

This is a question of on the one hand, being representative of a wide range of perspectives within the area, and on the other, ensuring that decision-making processes are clear and effective.

With too large a number of board members, decision-making can become difficult, and governance can become unwieldy, feeling like little is being achieved. Individuals may also attach less importance to board meetings, and this can lead to a significant proportion of the board being absent at particular meetings. This, in turn, can create issues when it comes to quorum – that is, the minimum percentage of board members that need to be present in order for proceedings to be valid. There is, however, still a need for representation of different perspectives on the board, which makes decisions around who should be represented all the more important. The challenge, then, is for a good number of interests to be represented, but without the governance structure becoming too large and inefficient.

One area within the SHAPE project had as many as 26 board members at one stage, and found this to be too many. The area has now slimmed its board membership down to a more manageable 17. Some areas, however, have as few as 8 or 10 board members. Often in these cases, there are further levels to the governance structure.