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Trust Board Roles & Responsibilities

The Collective Role of the Board

A well-structured board will have individuals with a broad range of expertise and experience.

We have produced the below guidance as an overview of the key areas of the roles and responsibilities of a Supporters Trust Board.


  1. What Is A Board?
  2. Collaboration & Collective Responsibility 
  3. Skill Audit
  4. Conflict Resolution
  5. Resources

What Is A Board?

The board is a group of people elected by the society members and co-opted onto the board to carry out strategic management of the organisation.  Board members have a legal duty to act in good faith and in the pursuit of the best interests of the society.

It is good practice to agree roles of the elected board.

Full role profiles can be found in our “Role Descriptions” document in the resources section below.


The Secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of the society, particularly regarding ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring the board’s decisions are implemented.  They need to remind the board of the rules to protect members interests.

It is recommended practice that the Secretary be appointed rather than elected to the board.

Full Secretary guidance can be found in the standalone Secretaries section of this resource.


The Treasurer deals with all aspects of finance and funding, although some aspects of the work may be delegated to a book-keeper or finance sub-committee.

The treasurer will have a general financial oversight, advising the board on all aspects of finance.


The Chairperson is an important role, providing leadership to the board for the overall governance and strategic direction of the society.

The Chairperson may also be the external face of the society liaising with partners and stakeholders.

Collaboration & Collective Responsibility

Co-ops Uk describe a “society board” as “A cohesive and organised group with complimentary experiences who are mutually accountable for achieving a common purpose through debate and collaborative behaviours.”

However, if you think of a football team, or an orchestra, it’s clear that those “team” members have different roles and that they seek to achieve a common purpose by performing these roles to the best of their abilities.

An effective board is based on mutual respect, trust and utilises the collective skills of the members in productive meetings.

It is vital your society board members understand that decisions taken are collective decisions and must be respected, even if an individual spoke out against them.

So, if you are making a decision as a board, even if you were strongly against the outcome or final decision you must be seen to publicly support the decision made collectively.

There are instances where a society board may vote to remove the requirement to adhere to collective responsibility for a particular discussion, but this would first require a vote in favour from the board.

Skill Audit

It is important that you periodically audit the skills held by your directors and establish if and where any deficits in are in order to allow you to target your recruiting or co-opt relevant people onto the board.

Use our Skill Audit Template to help you complete this task.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict can be a tricky subject to deal with.

Most people shy away from conflict, afraid that it will damage relationships with others or our confidence.

This is because we learn most of our strategies for dealing with conflict as children and rarely have the opportunity to revisit or review those strategies which might not be as effective as they can be in adult life.

It is important that your board can challenge each other using the right attitudes without conflict or confrontation arising, but if conflict does arise, it doesn’t have to end in a screaming match or with people falling out along the way.

On a board some conflict is inevitable, and you need to know how to deal with it in a constructive way when it arises. Conflict in your organisation arises for the same reasons it happens anywhere, people have differing views about what to do or how to do it, they are subject to different pressures and emotions, they are competing to get their ideas accepted by the group.

Conflict can arise from:

  • Competition over resources
  • Personalities, working style
  • Poor communication
  • Ineffective meetings
  • Inappropriate decision-making methods
  • Differences in skills, knowledge and work experiences
  • Cultural and gender differences
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Lack of written procedures and policies
  • Power relations (them & us)
  • Ignorance, insecurity and fear

It is important you learn to recognise and deal professionally with conflict situations when they arise on your board.

Disputes Amongst Board Members

It is expected that once decisions have been made by the board, members in disagreement with them accept the decision as the settled view of the board, with items already determined only being reconsidered in the light of new information or significantly changed circumstances.

It is good practice to have a clear code of conduct policy that board members agree to adhere to. In support of such a policy there should be a disciplinary policy which sets out the process by which any breaches of the code of conduct will be handled.

It is recommended that in dealing with disciplinary issues that the board seeks at least one individual who is independent of the club to consider the evidence relating to the issue. Their independence is more likely to ensure that the parties involved accept the outcomes of the disciplinary process.

A key element in conflict resolution is to seek to understand what outcome the parties involved would like to achieve. Whilst it is
not always possible to satisfy all parties it is helpful to understand an individual’s motivation in pursuing a conflict or raising a concern.

Policy templates can be found in the policies section of this resource.

Conflicts amongst Members

Most organisations with memberships will from time to time receive complaints either about the organisation itself or the actions or behaviour of another member.

To mitigate complaints escalating and taking a disproportionate amount of time and resources to resolve, it is good practice to develop policies and procedures around the organisation’s approach to complaint handling.

It is important that the complaints procedure is accessible to those who may want to use it and that it sets out clearly the steps that will be taken to resolve a complaint. Generally, the quicker complaints are dealt with the easier it is to find a satisfactory outcome for all parties involved. It is also important to consider the support that individuals complained against might require, for example if the complaint is made against a club employee or volunteer member of staff.

It is also important to ensure that the outcome of any investigation is shared with both the complainant and those complained about.

In summary a club should have a complaints procedure which:

  • Sets out the process for handling complaints.
  • Sets out the timetable for dealing with complaints.
  • Communicates the outcomes of complaints.

Policy templates can be found in the policies section of this resource.


Example Board Role Descriptions

Skill Audit Template

Board Roles Group Exercise

Teamwork Exercise


Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball