Trustee and director induction programme14th May 2021
Serving as a director of a homeowners association, or a trustee in a sectional title scheme, has never been for the faint-hearted. Members living in a community scheme volunteer to serve their communities as a member of the board and are immediately thrust into an environment in which they are expected to meet high levels of governance and good practice, including sometimes onerous criteria as it relates to their fiduciary responsibilities. Being completely responsible and accountable to the members of a homeowners association or body corporate is so much more than simply complying with the relevant legislation that governs these community schemes.
Jeff Gilmour, the President of the Association of Residential Communities (ARC), states that very few programmes, processes or procedures exist for these directors and trustees to become properly and effectively inducted into this new role. But they are expected to serve their communities, ensuring that they remain financially sound, and that the estate lifestyles meet the expectations of the members that they have volunteered to serve. They are expected to immediately become informed of not only the relevant legislation with which they need to comply, but with all the other factors that form part of this role. Managing the finances, running an annual general meeting, fully participating in a board meeting, overseeing multimillion-rand contracts with service providers for security, landscaping, etc. are but a few of their responsibilities. It is not difficult, therefore, to understand why many residential schemes in South Africa struggle to get directors and trustees to serve on these boards.
It has been a long time coming, but – finally – an induction programme has been developed to provide community scheme directors and trustees with the knowledge and insights they need to meet their roles and responsibilities, and to understand and fully accept their fiduciary duties. This is particularly important as most directors and trustees perform these roles on a volunteer and part-time basis while running their own businesses or holding down full-time jobs.
It is for this reason that the programme is provided online, so that directors or trustees can learn all they need to know in order to become fully inducted into their role at their own pace, and in their own time.
‘Leading a community scheme as a director or trustee carries high levels of risk, so registering for this programme is a must, in order to manage and minimise this risk,’ says Jeff Gilmour.