Finance Committee

Membership and Chairman

Normally nine people who are members of IWA and who have specialist financial knowledge and/or a particular interest in the finances of the Association. All committee members are subject to formal appointment by Board of Trustees. The chairman is appointed, and reappointed or replaced, by Trustees, and this person liaises as appropriate with other committee Chairmen.  The committee also annually appoints up to two of its members as deputy chairmen.

Appointment of members

Appointment by Board of Trustees, based on recommendation from Finance Committee, to serve a term of three years. Each year those members coming to the end of their term of office will be asked if they wish to be reappointed.  In alternate years, notices will be placed in Waterways and Head Office Bulletin asking if any IWA members would like to join the committee and asking them to submit a CV.  If there are more candidates than available positions the continuing committee members will decide who to recommend for appointment.

Term of office

Normally three years from date of appointment.  Terms of office are adjusted so that a similar number of members of the committee come to the end of their term of office each year.


Vacancies will be advertised through IWA communications and in the volunteer vacancies section of the website.

Format and  frequency of meetings

The Committee currently meets six times a year during the mornings when a meeting of the Board of Trustees is held in the afternoons.  Meetings may with the agreement of the committee be held by electronic means such as telephone calls, video conference or by exchange of electronic mail.  Any electronic meeting must be properly structured, recorded and minuted. Minutes should be produced within a maximum of 7 calendar days of a meeting being held.

See forthcoming Finance Committee meeting dates.

Right of attendance at meetings

The chief executive and finance manager are expected to attend meetings.  Members of the Board of Trustees and the chairmen of other national committees may also attend, if they wish. Agendas for business to be discussed electronically will be circulated to the Board of Trustees and to chairmen of other national committees so that any such person may indicate a wish to participate in the discussion. 

Roles and Responsibilities

To ensure that there is effective financial management of the Association, that appropriate financial strategies are in place and monitored and that the Association’s Annual Report and Accounts are prepared to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

  • Manages the budget process of the Association, involving setting the framework for the budget, after trustees have confirmed the objectives.
  • At its October meeting all budgets for the following financial year are presented to Finance Committee for initial review.   Following its December meeting submits budgets to the Board of Trustees for ultimate approval.
  • Reviews and agrees the consolidated annual audited accounts for Association and Essex Waterways Ltd.   Subsequently submits audited accounts to the Board of Trustees for ultimate approval.  [The board of Essex Waterways Ltd approves its Annual Report and Financial Statements].
  • Meets with the auditors at least once a year.
  • Reviews and approves interim management accounts and comparisons against budget.   Discusses substantial divergences of actual income and expenditure against budgets with relevant budget-holders and agrees appropriate remedial action if necessary.   Subject to the additional approval powers detailed below, reports significant divergences to the Board of Trustees.
  • Sets Key Performance Indicators, monitors compliance and agrees a strategy appropriate to correct any non-compliance.
  • Recommends Risk Assessment policies to the Board of Trustees, monitors compliance and agrees a strategy appropriate to correct any non-compliance.
  • Through its sub-committee, the Investment Working Group, oversees the management of the Association’s portfolio of investments by professional portfolio managers.  
  • Reviews and agrees presentations from the Investment Working Group consisting of (i) half yearly analyses of the portfolio’s performance and (ii) annual reviews of its Investment Strategy and Policy and its Reserves Policy. Submits the presentations in (ii) to the Board of Trustees for ultimate approval.
  • Manages the Association’s Grant-making Policy, monitors compliance by other committees with the powers delegated to them and exercises the powers delegated by the Board of Trustees to Finance Committee.
  • Exercises additional approval powers delegated by the Board of Trustees of £25,000 covering any new item of expenditure or any potential excess in a budgetary year of any individual previously-approved budget, subject to (i) an overall aggregate approval power for these purposes of £75,000 in any one budgetary year and (ii) the purpose of the project being suitable for the Association to support.   Finance Committee is expected to come to a consensus agreement before exercising this delegated approval power and to consult other relevant committees before making its decision.  
  • To ensure that there is sound and effective management and administration of the Association’s finances and ancillary matters.
  • Maintains an oversight on arrangements for national, regional and local fundraising to ensure compliance with regulations and Association policies.
  • Oversees insurance arrangements for the Association and its subsidiary companies.   Maintains an oversight on the arrangements for insurance that IWA arranges for IWA corporate members.
  • Authorises the opening of new bank accounts and the appointment of signatories to bank accounts.
  • Approves rules and procedures covering expenses, expenditure and payment arrangements.
  • Reviews compliance of regions and branches with byelaws and makes recommendations for any remedial action needed.  Reports any serious failure of compliance to the Board of Trustees.
  • Oversees arrangements for the Association’s Annual General Meeting and associated activities.
  • Monitors that the Association’s information technology systems meet IWA's present and likely future needs.
  • Approves other business for which Finance Committee is responsible unless the effect of the approval would represent a substantial incremental financial, reputational or organisational risk for the Association, in which case submits an application to the Board of Trustees for ultimate approval.
  • Ensures the sound administration of membership records.
  • Receives and approves reports on membership records.
  • Reviews membership subscription rates, makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees for changes in rates or other membership policy matters concerning membership.  
  • Keeps the Board of Trustees informed and draws to its attention any matters of significance relating to responsibilities of Finance Committee.
  • Provides minutes of its meetings and decisions on a timely basis.
  • The Finance Committee chairman reports to the Board of Trustees on matters of significance with, when considered appropriate, recommendations as to actions required.

Reporting to

The Board of Trustees

Reporting from

  • The finance manager and chief executive
  • The Investment Working Group
  • All budget-holders
  • Reporting to be through minutes and papers on important issues.

Co-ordination between other relevant committees. The Committee will be responsible for communicating with other relevant Association committees in a timely and effective manner.  The Committee chairman is accountable for ensuring that this takes place.


Finance Committee may obtain such external advice as it considers is required to discharge its responsibilities.

Current Members

Find out about current members of the Association's finance committee.