CISV International case study


Hilary Barnard carried out a two day board facilitation for CISV international in 2013. CISV is a youth organisation with headquarters in Newcastle.  It carries out family exchange programmes, youth camps and local community programmes. Their membership is truly international with members located in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Their turnover is around £900,000.


In August 2013 CISV had a major congress in Brazil; at this meeting they agreed to establish a different and smaller Board structure. The organisation previously had a loose Board structure formed of several groups and committees making for a very complex decision making process. The new Board was formed of 9 members drawn right across their international membership and so having very different experiences of governance.

Hilary was commissioned to get the new Board up and running, to assist them and train Board members in understanding their role as Board members, what their obligations are under UK charity law, and to help them to become a really productive board. Hilary educated the Board members about their responsibilities, and what governance issues they needed to be mindful of as part of their compliance duties.  He encouraged the Board to reflect on their performance and consider what could be drawn from good governance practice in the private and public sectors. Hilary enabled Board members to discuss these themes with one another, observed how they worked together and offered feedback. This involved Hilary coaching individual members of the board to help them define what their role and contribution was as part of the Board.

Hilary offered advice on possible governance models that CISV could apply, in particular the Chait, Ryan and Taylor ‘Governance as Leadership’ model. In not for profit organisations this model identifies three modes of governance - fiduciary, strategic and generative. Hilary worked with the Board to draw out from their practice and their intentions when they would be in each mode and ways to strengthen their confidence and competence in each mode.



By the end of the facilitation process, the Board was working on what the longer term strategy of the Board would be and how to balance this focus with their fiduciary duties.

The experience meant that by the end of the two days the Board had made significant progress in working together cohesively as a team, and thus much better placed to add value to the organisation as a whole.