Readiness of boards of trustees in non-profit and voluntary sector organisations to meet the adult care ‘personalisation agenda’: A case study of a single English county

B Donovan, A Gilbert, Beth Moran, Selwyn Stanley, Samantha Barnett, Dave Hocking

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In a multi-method assessment of non-profit and voluntary sector governance in Cornwall, England, 65 chairpersons of organisations completed a Board Self-Assessment Questionnaire (BSAQ) to identify the level at which the board was functioning. They also commented on their awareness of the Westminster Government's personalisation agenda. In addition, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 17 board representatives from seven organisations to explore organisational support needs in respect of meeting the Adult Care ‘personalisation agenda’.


Board members who reported good awareness of the personalisation agenda also self-assessed themselves as scoring higher than other respondents on the six BSAQ factors. Multiple regression analysis indicated that 47% of the variation in personalisation agenda preparedness was accounted for by organisations’ BSAQ scores. Qualitative data highlighted a number of important issues that may impact on the successful development of the personalisation agenda. These included the difficulty voluntary boards have in attracting trustees with appropriate experience, blurring of roles where trustees take on multiple roles some with operational commitments and communication difficulties with the local authority that results in board members stating that they are not sure of what is expected.


While the study focussed on a single county the demographic of non-profit and voluntary sector organisations are not dissimilar from other areas which provide some basis for generalisability. Findings also resonate with previous studies of the sector. This suggests that local authorities and adult social care departments have considerable challenges to ensure the readiness of organisations in the sector and the robustness of governance delivered via trustees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-132
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • social work
  • social policy
  • governance
  • independent sector
  • mixed methods
  • personalisation
  • trustees


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