A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

CAA Tripartite Boards – CSBG Information Memorandum 82

Last Revised: Nov 12, 2013 - Initial Posting: Nov 03, 2005

The Office of Community Services has developed information about the roles and responsibilities of tripartite boards as required by statute, along with suggestions on how State CSBG authorities, State community action associations, and local agency officials can help assure that boards function effectively.


The Office of Community Services has issued CSBG Information Memorandum 82 to address a number of policy questions concerning the composition, role, and responsibility of local community action agency tripartite boards.  This Information Memorandum is not intended to be definitive or binding on State or local agencies, but to serve as a guide on key issues.  The IM restates and amplifies how tripartite boards help preserve community action focus, effectiveness, and accountability. CAA Tripartite Boards - CSBG IM82

The following specific questions are addressed in the IM:

  • What does the law require?
  • Who appoints members to a tripartite board?
  • Are term limits permissible?
  • What does “fully participate in the development, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the program” mean?
  • What kind of training should board members receive?
  • What constitutes “conflict of loyalty or interest” among board members and how best should they be avoided?
  • What is the best relationship between a tripartite board and the agency executive director?
  • How can State CSBG agencies and State Community Action Associations advance the effectiveness of tripartite boards?

A variety of additional resources to assist CAA boards are available through other organizations, including:


Effective tripartite boards reflect and promote the unique anti-poverty leadership, action, and mobilization responsibilities assigned by law to community action agencies.  Boards are responsible for assuring that agencies continue to assess and respond to the causes and conditions of poverty in their community, achieve anticipated family and community outcomes, and remain administratively and fiscally sound.


Seth Hassett, Director - OCS Division of State Assistance