Boards without committees – the 'circle model' of governance

Be clear on how this model is different, what you should focus on and what you can do to make it work.

Last reviewed on 13 September 2023
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Contents
  1. What makes it different
  2. If you're making this change 
  3. Keep a consistent agenda for every meeting
  4. Set up working parties to tackle time-consuming problems
  5. Examples of the 'circle model' in practice

Our associate governance experts, Fred Birkett, Fiona Stagg and Ian Preston, helped us with this article.

What makes it different

The task of monitoring specific areas is usually assigned to committees. In the 'circle model', it's delegated to individuals or pairs instead.

Like all things, this model has its pros and cons.

If you're making this change 

Be clear about why you're doing it

It should be about keeping your board effective. For example, if you have a small number of governors or trustees, it might be more effective to not have committees. 

But, this model doesn’t work for everyone – some boards can be resistant to letting go of committees.

Without committees, it will fall to individuals to have a detailed understanding of a specific area to feedback to the board You need a clear agenda to keep you on track with what you should be doing (find

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