Part of the skill in running a successful board is knowing when to bring in outside expertise for work on a particular issue.
The first source for advice should be the organisation's staff. Be aware that requests to staff for information should be channelled through the Chief Executive.
If you cannot use the organisation's staff — perhaps, for example, the expertise does not exist in-house, or the issues are highly sensitive — it may be necessary to seek outside expertise. Using outside expertise requires a process that is:
Sometimes a board member may wish to test advice given to the board in-house by using outside expertise at the company's expense. Boards using best practice allow this and have a clear process on approval and the sharing of the advice given. See an example of a policy.
The credentials of the consultant or firm should be thoroughly checked, and the business and cultural fit with your organisation assessed.
Things to look for when selecting an outside expert:
When you engage an outside consultant, be sure the contract includes clauses that cover:
Make sure that you get legal advice if in any doubt about the contractual arrangements.
And never forget, outside experts are only advisors. All decisions made remain the board's responsibility.
Last modified: 5/10/2011
MŌ TĒNEI PAE TUKUTUKU
TE AHEINGA KIA URU ATU
WHAKAPĀ MAI KI A MĀTOU