Created: July 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Updated: August 28, 2018 | By Community Resource Kit
There are usually three officers (also called office holders or office bearers) within an organisation's governing body who will have additional, specific roles over and above their general roles. They are a:
The specific duties of a chairperson, treasurer and secretary are dealt with in more detail below.
An organisation's constitution should set out the functions, duties and powers of each of the officers. In addition to their specific duties, all three officers have a general duty to:
Apart from the potential liability of an officer committing any crime, e.g. theft, officers may also be personally liable if they act outside the organisation's rules and objects, such as breaches of trust or failure to perform their fiduciary duty (acting in the best interests of the assets they are in charge of).
An officer can also be exposed to potential financial penalties if the organisation's affairs are conducted in breach of its governing Act. For example, each officer of an incorporated society can be fined up to $1,000 for failing to deliver any document requested by the Registrar of Incorporated Societies for inspection.
The role of the chairperson (also called the chair, chairman or convenor) is a crucial one. In addition to his/her general governing body duties, the chairperson, together with the chief executive, represents the organisation to its various stakeholders, the financial community and the general public. Essentially, the chair is the key link between the governing body and management.
The main responsibilities of a governing body chairperson are to:
More specifically, the chairperson is expected to:
The process for appointing a chair varies according to the constitution of the organisation.
The treasurer oversees the financial administration of an organisation and reports to the governing body. He/she is responsible for the group's finances, making sure they are clearly accounted for and that all reporting requirements are met. This means ensuring the organisation is currently in a healthy financial state, and also assuring its ongoing viability.
The treasurer's tasks may include:
In small community organisations, the treasurer may be responsible for doing the banking, paying bills and tracking income and expenditure throughout the year. In larger community organisations many of these basic administrative duties will be done by staff, such as a financial administrator, but the treasurer will always have the final responsibility for ensuring that sufficient funds are available and the necessary processes for reporting are in place.
Tip: For further details of the financial duties of the treasurer, see Financial Management.
A governing body will sometimes appoint a secretary to carry out certain administrative tasks in addition to his/her general responsibilities.
These tasks can include: