Having an effective governance structure is essential to the smooth running of your parks and for building public and political confidence.


Governance roles broaden the experience and skills in your organisation and if effectively recruited and supported your Board can enable you to tap into a wider network of leaders and advocates that can help the Parks Trust to deliver its ambitions. 


The role of governance is:

  • to set strategic aims and objectives and overall direction
  • to keep the organisation focused on why it exists and what it needs to achieve
  • to be legally accountable for the organisation


The legal structure that you choose will also bring with it certain governance requirements (e.g. Members and Trustees are required for a charity). 


When considering governance structures, it is helpful to think about the following questions:

  • How will you ensure accountability to the public and asset owners?
  • How will you ensure the right level of skills at Board level?
  • Will your governance enable the new organisation to fly? Will it enable quick decision making and an entrepreneurial approach?
  • Will your governance structure be easy to understand and proportionate in terms of administration requirements and cost?


In the resources section, we provide a facilitators brief for leading Governance workshop activities to discuss governance requirements. 


By working with Shared Assets, the National Trust has developed a prototype governance model for a city-wide Parks Trust. 


Illustration showing an example of a governance structure for a Parks Trust
This prototype model could provide the following benefits:
  • Leadership and strategic skills - members of the Board are primarily appointed in order to ensure the right level and type of skills
  • Accountability- a single Board of Trustees to include one member nominated from across the city's Friends groups
  • Cost effectiveness -  a relatively simple structure without disproportionate administration requirements or costs
  • Confidence among financial contributors - the Investment Committee oversees financial performance
  • Balance of interests - appointed Trustees give flexibility to balance sectors


Greater public accountability can be provided by carrying out regular public surveys and creation of a formal membership structure. The latter could be established over time, as setting up and administering membership is likely to add unnecessary complexity, cost and burden in the first few years of the new organisation.

To open these downloadable resources you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader. This can be downloaded from