Leadership, Management, Trustees, Personal development, Governance, Trustees

It’s a Battle on the Board

Wouldn't charity governance be so much easier if it wasn't for all of your fellow trustees?

Individual knowledge and expertise are important in good governance, but if you don’t get the relationship with your fellow trustees right, your charity will suffer and very quickly you’ll have a battle on the board.

Debra Allcock Tyler’s approach to the challenging subject of trusteeship is characteristically engaging as she adopts a different ABBA tune as the theme for each chapter. Mixing leadership theory with practical advice and real-life examples, she dispenses her wisdom straight from the shoulder.

What does it cover?

It includes:

  • Understanding your role as a trustee
  • Working with fellow trustees and the CEO
  • Dealing with information and finance
  • The psychology of decision-making
  • Managing risk and handling crisis

If you want to be the dancing queen (or king) of good governance and avoid a waterloo for your charity, then this book is for you.

With illustrations by Private Eye, The Spectator and New Statesman cartoonist Grizelda.

Who is this book for?

All trustees, no matter how experienced, will find this book invaluable and it’s best bought for everyone on the board at the same time (see below for ordering multiple copies). It also works well as part of your induction package for new trustees as the ideal partner for The Charity Trustee’s Handbook.

Ordering muliple copies

To avoid a fight breaking out over a single copy of It’s a Battle on the Board, why not buy print or e-copies for all of your trustees and executive team with our bulk purchase discount scheme Place a discounted bulk order by contacting our Customer Services team on [email protected] or call 020 4526 5995 and they will process your order manually for you.


Note: All proceeds from the book are for the good of the sector and Debra receives no income from it.


‘A book with a difference. It recognises that self-awareness and emotional, social and cultural intelligence are at the core of exemplary leadership.’

Tesse Akpeki, Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute, Organisational Health and Person-centred Consultant and Founder of the Wellbeing, Leadership and Resilience Leadership initiative [from the foreword]


‘Good governance is about more than process – it’s also about people. This book “written by a human being for human beings”, helps us put trust back into trustee relationships.’

Vicky Browning, former Chief Executive, ACEVO


‘I haven’t got any work done this morning as I’m gripped by Debra’s book! Chapter 3 especially (working with your CEO) has given me an immense lift. I have to do some proper work now but can’t wait to get home and read more. I’m enthralled!…


…I’ve purchased a copy of this book for each of my trustees as I think it’s an informative, amusing and accessible book with some wonderful reflections and practical tips. I hope it will further equip my trustees and stimulate some self reflection and board development.’

David Burrell, Chief Executive Officer, Primrose Hospice


‘This is a refreshing read. It reveals so imaginatively the human side of being a trustee and what that means in a charity board setting. It’s practical as well, with a plethora of useful checklists, tips and advice. It had to be Debra to write such a ground-breaking book!’

Rosie Chapman, Governance Consultant


‘A message of huge thanks. It’s a Battle on the Board – couldn’t put it down! Read it at record speed. So helpful as a trustee of two charities but also as a new-ish CEO who has had a bit of churn at chair level. I’ve scribbled, got Post-its and sent photos of pages to my chair-designate, and I’m thinking of buying a handful as part of trustee inductions. So basically you’re a superstar, from the bottom of my heart – thank you.’

Gennie Dearman, Chief Executive Officer, Challengers


‘Debra Allcock Tyler’s new book on charity governance is like none other on the topic. The style is frank and down to earth. It has very useful good practice materials and concentrates on the all-important people issues that so easily lead to dysfunctional governance. A must for all charity trustees, especially more experienced ones.’

Lindsay Driscoll, Charity law and governance consultant


‘Insightful, relatable and packed with practical tips, this book is a must-read for trustees, CEOs and anyone wanting to facilitate a more strategic, effective conversation and greater collaboration at board level. Debra has a real talent for making governance humorous and entertaining. I wish that I had read it years ago!’

Natalie Haskell, CEO, CoppaFeel!

‘This book tells it like it is on a charity board and is full of wisdom and practical tips, delivered with Debra’s trademark verve. Even a small dose will make you a better trustee.’

Philip Kirkpatrick, Partner, Head of Charity and Social Enterprise Department, Bates Wells


‘This is a brilliant, personal primer for board members on how to combine best practice and process with emotional intelligence and the human factor. It’s like a long, lively conversation with a warm, empathetic, very experienced and astute fellow trustee.’

Dr Andrew Purkis, trustee, Directory of Social Change, former Charity Commission and board member and former chair or vice-chair of seven UK charities


‘Our roles as trustees are integral to sustaining the UK’s charity sector and supporting the many wonderful charities undertaking public service for the greater good. However, we all know that it is not always easy. Debra Allcock Tyler’s book manages to take on the subject of being a trustee in an engaging, informative and very human way which is both incredibly useful and accessible. Packed with tips and advice on best practice, and delivered with a warm, conversational tone, it neither bores nor belittles. Instead, it offers lived examples, practical exercises and just the right amount of humour. It is vital reading for every trustee – both novice and experienced – and I recommend it highly.’

Jon Snow, Chair of Trustees, Heart of England Forest

Look inside

Have a look inside It’s a Battle on the Board.

About the author

Debra Allcock Tyler

Debra Allcock Tyler is CEO of the Directory of Social Change and an experienced chair and trustee of many charities over her long career. Author of several books on management and leadership, she has many years’ experience of training and coaching boards, chief executives and top teams. She is a popular public speaker, has a regular monthly column in Third Sector magazine and has appeared on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze.

Charity Chat Podcast

Check out Debra speaking to our friends at Charity Chat about the book here now.

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