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IDEGM-HR-03NameCore Competencies for Board Members
Revision2Approved ByTomas Haynes
Approved Date01/03/2021Review Date2023

References & Definitions

East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support: EGM
EGM-MA-01 Master List of Policies and Procedures

All Members of the Board of Directors of East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support (“EGM”) shall be selected and retained on the basis of core competencies that contribute to the effective governance of EGM. In selecting persons for membership of the Board of Directors, the Chairman and current Board Members shall ensure that the Board encompasses a range of competencies covering the healthcare, business, financial, legal and community sectors.



All Foundation Board Members shall adhere to competency requirements and ongoing development of competencies

Chief Executive / Board Secretary shall ensure dissemination of information to Board Members.


Competencies are defined as salient and enduring characteristics of an individual that enable effective (and measurable) performance.
Competency characteristics are of four basic types:

  • Traits: Traits are virtually unchangeable physical and psychological (or “personality”) characteristics. Examples include intelligence, self-control, and achievement-motivation.
  • Attitudes: Attitudes are beliefs about the value or importance of things, such as the attitude that continuous quality improvement is a good thing. Attitudes can be difficult, but not impossible, to change.
  • Knowledge: Knowledge is information a person has in a specific content area, such as basic knowledge of the healthcare system or a basic knowledge of governance.
  • Skills: Skills are abilities to perform specific physical or mental tasks such as data analysis. Through education and experience, both skills and knowledge are relatively easy to develop in an individual.

The possession of certain competencies can qualify an individual for appointment as a Board Member. Qualifying competencies are usually made up of a combination of traits, attitudes, knowledge and skills. Generally, competencies are described in terms of behaviours.

Competency Model

Competencies enable performance which, combined with organisational support, results in desired outcomes which contribute to the mission of the organisation.
What is the desired outcome – today and in the future – of the work of Board Members? Put simply, the desired outcome is “good” governance. Governance itself refers to the processes and structures used to direct an organisation. Good governance implies that the processes and structures are the most effective and efficient possible. Good governance involves:

  • Explaining what the organisation set out to accomplish, what it did accomplish, the choices that have been made, and why.
  • Ensuring relevance of policies and appropriateness of ways in which services are provided.
  • Ensuring capacity to implement policy and manage affairs.
  • Understanding risks regarding type, level and quality of services provided (or not provided), and ensuring that systems are in place to manage these risks.
  • Ensuring that the organisation is managed with appropriate care and control and within an appropriate framework of ethics and values.

The following competencies, grouped under six headings, enable the performance of the governance function. These are:

Administrative Capacity

(Those things that facilitate getting the Board’s business done)


Leads to the efficient and effective use of time and resources. This competency supports pre-Board/committee meeting preparation.


Leads to efficient and effective use of time and resources. This competency involves a timely and appropriately considered response when required from Board Members.

Human Relations Capacity


Participative contributes to full sharing of ideas, problems and potential directions among both Board members and staff.


Contributes to group work willingly, doing a fair share of the necessary tasks and supporting the decisions made by the Board.


Knowledge about, and commitment to, the national healthcare system:

Broad knowledge of current issues, trends and concerns in hospice care.

Knowledge and understanding of governance:

Knows the key responsibilities and activities of a Board; appreciates the distinctions between governance and management and the roles of each.

Personal Attributes

Ability to be visionary:

Able to consider trends, both general and healthcare specific, and relate these to future directions for hospice care in Ireland.

Ability to represent the interests of the hospice sector as a whole:

Able to see the needs of the entire hospice system and relate these (regardless of personal/professional affiliation).

Analytical Capacity

Ability to synthesise:

Able to receive, interpret and synthesise information/materials from a wide variety of sources and able to relate materials to the work of the hospice sector.



Able to prepare and present information at Board/committee meetings; able to present information about hospice care externally, if requested.