Chair of Board of Trustees, guiding charity through an exciting period of development
- To provide leadership to the Board and to ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the proper governance of the organisation.
- To support, and where appropriate, to challenge the Chief Executive and to ensure that the Board as a whole works in partnership with the executive staff.
Duties and tasks to fulfil the key responsibilities:
1. To provide leadership to the Board and to ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the proper governance of the organisation.
1.1 To guard the long-term future of the organisation by ensuring that:
- the Board sets the mission, vision, strategy and high-level policies for the organisation within the powers and restrictions in its charitable objects and documents;
- the Board takes steps to monitor the performance of the organisation and to ensure that the organisation satisfies all regulatory and legal compliance requirements;
- major risks to which the organisation is exposed are reviewed regularly and systems are established to mitigate these risks;
- the organisation has a satisfactory system for holding in trust for the beneficiaries’ moneys, properties and other assets and ensure that moneys are invested to the maximum benefit of the organisation, within the constraints of the Law and ethical and other policies laid down by the Board;
- the organisation’s financial dealings are systematically accounted for, audited and publicly available;
- internal controls and systems are audited and reviewed regularly;
- the Board and the organisation are fair and open to all sections of the community in all the organisation's activities.
- the Board and the organisation hear the voices and views of key stakeholders.
1.2 To ensure the highest possible standards of governance by ensuring that;
- the organisation has a governance structure that is appropriate to an organisation of its size/complexity, stage of development, and its charitable objects and that these are reviewed regularly;
- the Board delegates sufficient authority to its committees, the Chair, the Chief Executive and others to enable the business of the organisation to be carried on effectively between meetings of the Board.
- the Board’s delegated authority is recorded in writing by means of terms of reference for Board committees, job descriptions for honorary officers and for key staff and, the Board monitors use of these delegated powers;
- the Board has on it the skills it requires to govern the organisation well and these skills are utilised;
- there is a systematic, open and fair procedure for the requirement and co-option of Trustees, future Chairs of the Board and future Chief Executives;
- all members of the Board receive appropriate induction, advice, information and training;
- Trustees act reasonably, always act in the interests of the organisation and comply with the organisation’s policies;
- the Board of Trustees regularly reviews its performance.
1.3 To ensure the proper and efficient conduct of Board meetings by:
- chairing Trustee meetings effectively, seeking consensus, balancing the need for full debate on key questions with the conclusion of business to reach clear and agreed decisions as swiftly as possible.
- encouraging all Trustees to participate and to feel free to challenge constructively both the Chair and the Chief Executive;
- taking an active role in ensuring that Board agendas are meaningful and reflect the key responsibilities of Trustees;
- ensuring that the Chief Executive and his/her staff provide the Board with relevant, timely and accurate information to allow the board to discharge its responsibilities;
- ensuring that Board decisions are made in the best, long-term interests of the organisation and that the Board takes collective ownership of these decisions;
- ensuring that decisions taken at meetings of the board are implemented;
- ensuring that there are annual programmes of Board and committee meetings, carefully structured agendas and high-quality briefing papers providing timely information and concentrating on governance.
2 To support, and where appropriate, to challenge the Chief Executive and to ensure that the board works in partnership with executive staff
2.1 To support the Chief Executive by:
- ensuring there are clear and open processes for the recruitment (and if necessary dismissal) of the Chief Executive, and for setting and reviewing the remuneration package of the Chief Executive;
- ensuring that the Board focuses on its governance role and does not slip incrementally, or otherwise, into the management role;
- arranging regular, but not over frequent, meetings with the Chief Executive and by developing a very professional relationship with the Chief Executive within which each can speak openly about concerns, worries and challenges;
- providing leadership to the Chief Executive to ensure that the organisation is run in accordance with the decisions of the Board and the organisation’s governing documents and that there is clarity about the organisations objectives at all levels;
- supervising the Chief Executive on behalf of the Board (unless other arrangements are made), always remembering that the Chief Executive is responsible to the Board as a whole and not to any one individual Trustee or sub-group of Trustees;
- ensuring the Chief Executive’s performance is reviewed regularly;
- ensuring the Chief Executive has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support;
- in partnership with the Chief Executive, to agree respective roles in representing the organisation and acting as spokesperson;
- representing the organisation to the local and national press, including responding to press enquiries and issuing statements on behalf of FreeVA.
2.2 To make sure that the Board understands and fulfils its responsibility to hold the Chief Executive and the executive team to account by ensuring that:
- when necessary, the Chair and the Trustees challenge the Chief Executive constructively and only in the best interests of the organisation and as ‘critical friends’;
- the Chief Executive is clear about the key performance indicators by which he/she will be held accountable;
- the Chief Executive understands his/her crucial responsibility to provide relevant, honest, timely, high-quality information and advice to the Board of Trustees;
- there are appropriate mechanisms, both internal and external, to verify that the Board receives a balanced and honest picture of how the organisation is doing.
2.3 To ensure the Board works in partnership with management by:
- ensuring through the Chief Executive, that the staff understand the role of the Board and that the Chief Executive provides an effective link between the Board and staff;
- ensuring that staff are aware of the Board’s appreciation of their successes and hard work;
- ensuring that, through the Chief Executive, a performance evaluation process is in place for everyone in the organisation and that the organisation invests in the development of staff;
- ensuring that whenever practicable, Trustees visit various parts of the organisation, attend a few events organised by the organisation and have informal opportunities to meet the senior management team, staff and beneficiaries.
FreeVA Chair of Trustees Person Profile
Each trustee must have:
- a commitment to the organisation and its objectives
- an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
- a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as a trustee
- strategic vision
- good, independent judgment
- an ability to think creatively
- willingness to speak their mind
- an ability to work effectively as a member of a team
In addition to the qualities needed by all trustees, the Chair should be prepared to evidence and also possess the following:
- strong leadership skills
- experience of committee work, tact and diplomacy
- good 'people' skills
- impartiality, fairness and the ability to respect confidences
- knowledge of the type of work undertaken by the organisation and a wider involvement with the voluntary sector and other networks
Whilst not essential the Board of Trustees are particularly looking for a Chairperson who can demonstrate experience or knowledge of the charitable sector. Alternatively experience within a legal, finance or human resources background or experience of working within the domestic violence or sexual violence sector would be advantageous. Experience of working in consortia or partnerships would be highly valued.
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