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S5 Governance Levels

Governance Decision-Making Tool

Stakeholder Engagement

Should there be other levels of governance beyond the board or steering group – for example, “thematic groups”?

The board or steering group is usually central to organisations’ governance structures, but as discussed above, these often engage only small numbers of people. In order to achieve a balance between representation and “getting things done”, it can be beneficial to add new “levels” to the governance structure. This enables the engagement of additional stakeholders, in a more specialist or consultative capacity.

Some areas within the SHAPE project have included “thematic groups” as part of their governance structure. These are specialist “working groups” representing particular types of organisations or particular topics or issues within the area (for example, tourism, biodiversity conservation, sustainability of businesses). These working groups also meet regularly, and communicate the outcomes of their discussions to the board or steering group. One effective model can be for members of the board/steering group to be drawn from these thematic groups, so that each group is represented at this higher level of governance.

If a need for these thematic groups is established, then a key sub-question is, of course: Which types of organisations or specialist areas should these groups represent? This question can, in turn, be addressed by keeping in mind the aims and priorities of a particular area.