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Rambert is seeking new Trustees – legal expertise sought

We are recruiting new Board Members for a new chapter for Rambert.

Located on the South Bank, London’s unrivalled cultural hub, Rambert’s stunning base is home to over 30 dancers from around the world in dedicated studios and creative spaces. From here we take our work nationally, with a firm commitment to audiences and communities around the country, and we also have a rapidly expanding international footprint. Under our new Artistic Director Benoit Swan Pouffer and Chief Executive/Executive Producer Helen Shute, Rambert is renewing its artistic programme, extending its touring horizons, and embarking on new talent development and community-based programmes throughout the country. We are looking for exceptional people who will help take forward the vision and strategy, challenge us, contribute ideas and energy and support our new leaders and their team of highly skilled and driven individuals in this exciting new period for one of the world’s most established and loved dance companies.

Rambert is one of the world’s leading dance companies, a name synonymous with diverse and international programming, and a British national treasure with loyal local audiences, and unrivalled reach to theatres throughout the UK. Our ambition is to be the world’s most exciting dance company, making dance resonate for the 21st century. We’ll achieve this by making and touring – to our neighbourhood, the nation and the world – dance that is relevant, accessible, radical, thought-provoking, inspiring and entertaining. Dance that stands out from the crowd. Dance that matters. We value these key ingredients for our future success:

  • Creativity Rambert is an ever-growing creative community. We have a track record of embracing and celebrating diversity and are committed to seeking the voices less often heard and to being an open and porous organisation for people and ideas, irrespective of where or when they come from. We work hard to nurture an environment where people and ideas can succeed.
  • Heritage We have so much to build on: the legacy of our founders, our near 100-year story of risk taking and re-invention and our pivotal role in the development of British dance. We learn from our predecessors and preserve and celebrate their work to ensure that those people and ideas that shaped our art form are not forgotten. Through the preservation of seminal works, we help ensure our art form commands the status, recognition and value it deserves.
  • Ambition We have the freedom to be alternative, the opportunity to embrace new ideas and reach new audiences, and the responsibility to challenge the status quo – we want to see dance as a staple of the UK cultural diet and the UK dance scene celebrated around the world. We won’t stop working to achieve this.



We are looking for new members to join our Board of Trustees. Led by our new Chair Dame Sue Street, we are building a board that can support our dynamic and diverse leadership and that shares our commitment to taking dance that matters to people locally, nationally and around the world. We’re after people from all walks of life who believe in our vision and want to help us achieve our goals.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people with skills, knowledge and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Communications and brand development
  • Legal
  • Business development
  • Technology/fintech/digital entrepreneurs


Primary Duties

Board members are responsible for the governance of the company and guiding its strategic direction. The Board meets four times a year, normally in the early evening. Additional time may be required for subgroup committee meetings and engagement with the leadership team on specific ideas and projects. Board members are actively encouraged to attend performances, events, and rehearsals which take place in London, across the UK and internationally.


Experience and Skills

  • We are seeking people who are enthusiastic about contemporary dance, and culture, and who can help us grow and change a beloved organisation for new generations of broader audiences.
  • We are seeking a commitment for a period of 3-6 years.
  • Previous experience is not required; induction and training is provided.


Additional Information

  • Rambert actively encourages diversity across all areas of the organisation.
  • Board members are volunteers, although out of pocket expenses can be paid to ensure members can attend meetings.
  • We are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, a Registered Charity (number 326926). The trading company, Ballet Rambert Limited, its production subsidiary Rambert Productions Limited, and its parent company Rambert Trust Limited are companies limited by guarantee. Board Members serve for as trustees for the group of companies.
  • You can find out more about Rambert and our work at rambert.org.uk and by following @rambertdance on social media.



If you’re interested, please apply with a short CV and covering letter (max 2 pages) outlining your motivation for applying and your contribution to the skills and networks we seek from our next cohort of Board Members. In applying we invite you to set out how much time you might be able to offer and how you are most likely to engage with us.

Please send your application to: Rosie Billington, Rambert, 99 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP or email: rosie.billington@rambert.org.uk

If you’d like to talk to a current Board Member for more information, please contact Rosie to arrange a conversation with a member of the nominations committee

Deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 7 June 2019. Interviews are planned for July and September 2019.

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music seeks new Trustees – Intellectual Property law expertise sought

The recruitment of two new trustees comes at an exciting time of growth and transformation for ABRSM.

We are looking for two trustees with knowledge or expertise in digital marketing, business transformation, intellectual property law or international business.

Background and Context

ABRSM is one of the UK’s leading music education organisations, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s market leader in the provision of, and the setting of the international standard in, music exams, with around 650,000 assessments in more than 90 countries every year.

As a registered charity, we make significant contributions to four Royal Schools of Music the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and provide scholarships for their students. We also support a number of national youth ensembles in the UK and provide project support for music education initiatives around the world.

Founded in 1889, we have a long and storied history stemming from our commitment to nurture a love for, and achievement in, music.  In our 130th year, we are committed to inspiring achievement in music through not only our assessments, but also through many and varied programmes of support to teachers and their students around the world. At ABRSM, we believe that everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, should be supported to realise their full musical potential.

We are currently in the process of transforming our business and introducing new digital platforms to support our operations, examining and delivery of new and innovative digital products. We aim to become and innovative and learning organisation fit for the digital age that can anticipate customer needs and make a difference in global music education.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the oversight and governance of the organisation.  The trustees currently meet three times a year for around two hours and for an Away Day every January. Trustees may also be asked to serve on one of the Board’s sub-Committees which also normally meet three or four times a year.

Who you are

As a trustee, you will be joining a progressive, professional and collaborative organisation. We are looking for individuals with an ability to think creatively, with good independent judgment, strategic vision and a commitment to the organisation. It is critical to be able to work as part of a team.

In particular, we are looking for two trustees each with knowledge and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

• digital marketing;

• business transformation, including digital transformation;

• knowledge of intellectual property law (UK and beyond); and

• international business experience or knowledge.

You may already have an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship but training can be provided.


Please click here for further information.

Egypt Exploration Society seeks new Trustees

The Egypt Exploration Society is the principal UK independent body sponsoring research into ancient Egypt. A pioneer of UK Egyptological research in the UK, it was founded in 1882 to raise funds for excavation and preservation of sites and monuments in Egypt. Its focus today is on education, on exploring Egyptian cultural heritage and sharing the results with a global community.

The Society’s valuable archive houses expedition records dating back to its foundation and it has an extensive specialist library, for use not just by scholars but by anyone with an interest in Egypt. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology and the Oxyrhynchus papyrus series are published annually, and regarded as leaders in their respective fields. Egyptian Archaeology, a full-colour magazine reporting on current research for a broader audience, appears twice a year, and the Society also publishes a series of monographs of excavation memoirs. It sponsors fieldwork in Egypt, particularly aimed at early career Egyptologists, runs training courses in the UK and Egypt and holds public events on current topics. It also carries out fieldwork itself and awards grants to early career Egyptologists. In addition to its London premises it has a small office in Cairo.

The Society has over 1500 members. Its main sources of revenue have traditionally been membership and publications subscriptions, and legacies. It is now at a critical point in its history, as it seeks additional sources of funding and devises a new business model to position itself for the future.

Role specification

The Egypt Exploration Society has 15 trustee directors, one third of whom retire annually by rotation, and about half of whom are professional Egyptologists. The Society is seeking to strengthen its Board by the addition of at least two new members who will either have high-level professional, commercial or other business experience or have governance experience at a senior level in another capacity.

As a Trustee, the role will involve participating in decisions relating to the running and well-being of the Society, including its strategic direction, oversight of its finance and investment, and management of the director and the staff team.

Person specification

The new Trustee will have:


  • Board or senior-level experience: The successful candidate will have experience of operating at board or a senior level within a commercial or not-for-profit organisation


  • Not-for-profit experience: Fundraising and other experience gained in the not-for-profit sector will be an advantage

Board composition

Dr Margaret Mountford – Chair
Dr Linda Steynor – Vice-Chair
Mrs Sue Preston FCA – Treasurer
Dr Val Billingham
Dr Violaine Chauvet
Dr Anna Garnett
Dr Roberta Mazza
Ms Jan Morton
Mr Anandh Owen
Dr Luigi Prada
Dr Campbell Price
Mr Sami Sadek
Dr Katharina Zinn


The role of trustee is pro bono; travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Connected Parties

The Society has requested that candidates do not contact them directly. Instead, if you know someone at the organisation, please mention it in your Reason for Application.

Questions & Feedback

In the event you have any questions or feedback about the way the role or your application has been handled, please contact enquiries@nurole.com.

Role timetable

Deadline for applications: 28th May

Candidates can expect to be contacted by: 11th June

Candidates can expect the process to be completed by: 17th June

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on: June 3rd


For further information and application details, please contact nurole or email enquiries@nurole.com


The Quintin Hogg Trust (Uni of Westminster student support charity) seeks new Trustees – legal expertise desirable

The Quintin Hogg Trust’s purpose is to support the advancement of the education of students of the University of Westminster. It provides grants totalling c. £5m a year to fund a wide range of projects. Its income derives from a portfolio of central London properties and investments. The Trustees also control an associated charity, the Quintin Hogg Memorial Fund, which owns and manages extensive playing fields and other facilities in Chiswick, West London to provide sport activities for University of Westminster students and other young people from the local area.

Both charities are independent of the university and make their funding decisions on the basis of its objects which in turn follow the principles of their founder who believed in holistic education for all students. The Trustees have an innovative approach, encouraging new projects. There is particular emphasis on improving the student experience at the university and the Trust works closely with the Students’ Union there.

Role specification

The Trust does not employ any full time staff, so the Trustee role is an active one, whether it be concerned with finance, sports management, grant application assessments, property management and development, or managing their relationship with principal stakeholder the University of Westminster. The maximum number of Trustees is ten, so there is a strong team working ethos on the Board.

The Trustees have recently made the decision to embark on a major project to upgrade its playing fields and related facilities in order to promote sport as a student activity, raise the standard of such participation and serve the local community.

Person specification

The Quintin Hogg Trust is looking for enthusiasm, energy and an aptitude for thinking strategically as well as a willingness and ability to engage in practical work outside meetings. This is a Board where Trustees can make a noticeable contribution and a big impact.

A Trustee should be interested in and committed to the improvement of students’ higher education experience.


  • Executive or Non-Executive Board / Committee experience: The successful candidate will have experience of operating at board or committee level in either an executive or non-executive capacity within a commercial or not-for-profit organisation


The charity is looking for people with the potential for making a wide ranging contribution to the management of the trust, but the following strengths would be particularly useful at this time:

  • Property / sports management / finance / higher education / law: The ideal candidate would bring experience in at least one of the following:
    • Experience in property management and development
    • Experience of the management of sports facilities
    • Finance, particularly experience in grant giving
    • Experience in the higher education sector, for example a Non-Executive Director of a University or senior management experience within a University
    • Legal expertise, including an extensive track record of offering legal advice at a senior level and a UK solicitor or barrister qualification

Board composition

Mr Godfrey Cole CBE – Chair
Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE
Mrs Joanna Embling
The Hon. Dame Mary Hogg DBE
Mr Richard Law
Dr Ann Rumpus
Mr Don Wood CBE
Mrs Tracey Hartley


This role is an unremunerated voluntary position, but reasonable expenses, including domestic travel, will be paid.


Connected Parties

The Quintin Hogg Trust has requested that candidates do not contact them directly. Instead, if you know someone at the organisation, please mention it in your Reason for Application.


Role timetable

Deadline for applications: 11th June

Candidates can expect to be contacted by: 25th June

Candidates can expect the process to be completed by: 11th August


For further information and application details, please contact nurole or email enquiries@nurole.com

Quentin Hogg Trust

Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall seeks new Trustees – legal expertise sought

Wheatsheaf Hall is a Grade II Listed building in Vauxhall, London SW8. We offer two spaces that can be hired for meetings, faith groups, rehearsals, workshops, training and parties.

Grade II Listed Building
The Wheatsheaf Hall has been a community venue since 1988 when members of the local community leased the building from the council. It was awarded grade II listed status in 1975 and is run by volunteers.

We need trustees, preferably with experience of setting up new charities, to support our existing long-serving and committed team of volunteers, in particular our Chair and our Treasurer/Secretary.

We meet once a month with the rest of the volunteers and representatives of user groups to run the organisation. We would appreciate individuals with legal, financial or other professional expertise to help steer us through this important phase in our development.

If you are local to Vauxhall, we would be especially pleased to hear from you, as we pride ourselves on our local focus and contact with the community.

What are we looking for?

We would appreciate individuals with legal, financial or other professional expertise to help steer us through this important phase in our development.

Our ideal trustee would

  • be local to Vauxhall
  • be well-connected to the local area or be willing to develop contacts
  • be good at networking
  • be a good team-player
  • be committed to our values of providing an accessible, affordable meeting space for our immediate community
  • help us ensure that we comply with our governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • help ensure that we pursue our objects as defined in our governing document
  • be able to help manage our financial obligations
  • help in setting policy for the future


What difference will you make?

We are a not-for-profit organisation aiming to become a registered charity by 2019. We need to ensure our trustee board is diverse and well-qualified.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

You will be joining a very committed team of volunteers who are passionate about preserving this Grade II listed building for the community of Vauxhall as a meeting space for local people. We are friendly and positive, and we are determined to succeed!

Please click here for application details.

Wheatsheaf Hall website

That’s a Wrap – Hounslow charity – seeks local Trustee (legal expertise welcomed)

That’s A Wrap is a newly established grassroots charity (Nov 2018) based in Hounslow. We’d like to bring residents together in support of a variety of local causes over time through community collections, and hands-on wrapping and packing activities, but it all starts here! We’re embarking on a journey to improve the community of Hounslow through empowering and bringing together local residents for intercultural and charitable causes.

Help us by joining our amazing team!

Location: London Borough of Hounslow

Time Commitment: Up to 4 board meetings a year, in addition to annual event attendance


Responsibilities Include:

  • Ensuring that the charity is carrying out the purpose for which it is set up;
  • Ensuring that the charity complies with the governing document and the law;
  • Attending trustee meetings and proactively furthering the goals of the organisation;
  • Along with the rest of the board, undertaking local networking as required;
  • Contributing to ongoing learning of the organisation;
  • Contribute to the organisation’s functions (e.g. Marketing, Legal, Fundraising etc); and
  • Contributing to strategic planning, achieving targets and goals and helping to monitor performance.

The above list of duties is indicative only and not exhaustive. The trustee will be expected to perform all such additional duties as are reasonably commensurate with the role.


What type of person are we looking for?

That’s A Wrap is currently seeking to recruit three new trustees to add strength and depth to our board and support the work of this passionate charity as we look ahead to the future! It is an exciting time to join us as we are at the very start of our transition into becoming a registered charity. Individuals from all backgrounds welcome!

This role is for anyone interested in shaping the future of an ambitious charity that primarily wants to help those less fortunate in the local area by bringing the community together.

We are looking for like-minded people interested in finding creative ways of bringing the community of Hounslow

That’s A Wrap, Hounslow Web: www.thatsawrap.org.uk

If this sounds like you and something you would be able to dedicate your time to, then please apply. We would love to hear your story and what makes you, you!

Individuals with a local connection would be ideal, and people with diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences who have integrity, strategic vision, good independent judgement and a willingness to speak their mind.

Please click here for application details.

Action4Youth seeks new Trustees – employment/property expertise law sought

Action4Youth works with young people from all backgrounds and all abilities to make a real difference to their lives through a range of fun and challenging programmes and initiatives. It changes lives and creates better chances for young people by creating opportunities to discover their personal strengths and potential. It is based in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes but reaches young people across the wider south east region.

The organisation is currently in a period of ambitious growth as it increases its influence and reach.

What does Action4Youth do?

  • Action4Youth is a leading delivery partner for the National Citizen Service (NCS) and consistently over delivers in terms of both quality and quantity
  • Action4Youth’s Inspiration Programme enriches the lives of young people in schools across the area. It runs a mentoring programme for young people particularly in need of positive support
  • Action4Youth takes the strategic lead for the voluntary organisations supporting children and young people aged 5 – 25 years across its area. It has around 100 organisations in membership and offers a range of essential support and services
  • Action4Youth’s outdoor centre, Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes, creates opportunities for young people to have amazing, challenging, fun and sometimes transformational experiences. They learn what they can do rather than what they can’t, building their confidence and self-belief
  • Action4Youth is the operating authority for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes for Open Awards Groups for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

Action4Youth’s Goals

  • To provide outdoor education to enable young people to grow and develop
  • To provide fit-for-purpose, demand-led infrastructure support that strengthens the capacity of youth organisations and enhances their voices and influence
  • To deliver, in addition to outdoor education, a range of frontline services which contribute directly to the Action4Youth mission

Role specification

The Trustee will add energy, purpose and substance to the team as it pushes forward at an exciting time.

The Trustee will:

  • Ensure that Action4Youth complies with its governing document (the Articles of Association), charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • Ensure that Action4Youth pursues its objects as defined by its governing document
  • Ensure that Action4Youth applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects
  • Contribute actively in giving strategic direction to Action4Youth, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against targets
  • Safeguard the good name and values of Action4Youth
  • Ensure the financial stability of Action4Youth
  • Protect and manage the property of Action4Youth and ensure the proper investment of funds
  • Appoint and support the Chief Executive

Person specification

This is an opportunity for someone with a can-do attitude, a strong desire to make things happen and a demonstrable commitment to the positive development of young people.

Action4Youth is keen to increase the diversity of its board so that it better represents the community it serves. All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process. This means there is latitude in the expertise the successful candidate would bring in order to be a real asset to the board. However, they have identified the below as required and desired areas:


  • Strategic leadership: The successful candidate will have experience of operating successfully at senior strategic leadership level within an organisation (commercial or not-for-profit)


  • Legal / Education / Business / Human resources: The successful candidate would ideally bring experience in at least one of the below areas:
    • Legal experience – Ideally either in employment or property law OR
    • Education leadership experience – Experience leading a primary, secondary, further or higher education institution, for example, as head teacher, college principal, vice-chancellor or equivalent OR
    • Business development & growth – Action4Youth current income is £2m but it has ambitious plans for significant growth OR
    • Human resources – Ideally senior management HR experience in a commercial or not-for-profit organisation

Location: UK – South East (Based in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes with meetings usually in Aylesbury)

Time Commitment: Circa 5 meetings each year, 2 of which will be full days. Additionally there may be further commitments to special events and sub-committees.

Board composition

The Board consists of a maximum of 13 Trustees, each of whom may serve up to a maximum of 3 x 3 year terms.
Ken Birkby – Chairman
Vivian Salisbury
Richard Stansfield
Duncan Oldreive
Martin Reed
Milly Soames
Jasprit Chana
Janice Trebble
Darren Williams
Graeme Shankland
David Carroll

Travel expenses

Domestic travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Connected Parties

This organisation has requested that candidates do not contact them directly. Instead, if you know someone at the organisation please mention it in your Reason for Application. Members discovered not respecting this may risk having their membership terminated.

Questions & Feedback

In the event you have any questions or feedback about the way the role or your application has been handled, please contact enquiries@nurole.com.

Role timetable

Deadline for applications: 30th May

Candidates can expect to be contacted by: 13th June

Candidates can expect the process to be completed by: 30th June

First round interviews will be held in June.


For further information and application details, please contact nurole or email enquiries@nurole.com


On Your Bike (Somerset) seeks new Trustee – legal expertise sought

On Your Bike’s key aim is to train and employ the socially underprivileged, ex-servicemen and long term unemployed to help themselves, help us and other volunteers recycle and sell bikes.

Trustee Recruitment

The On Your Bike board seeks to strengthen its stability, effectiveness and sustainability in the long term and hopes to welcome new trustees who will work with the current board members to reach their long-term goals.

You will be joining a vibrant organisation with exciting plans for expanding their service and a committed team who passionately believe in the enormous social value that the organisation creates.

Role Description

Main Duties

  • To ensure that the charity complies with legislative and regulatory requirements and acts in accordance with its governing document.
  • To safeguard and promote the values and mission of the charity.
  • To determine the overall direction and development of the charity through clear strategic planning and business planning.
  • To promote and develop the charity in order for it to grow and to maintain its public benefit.
  • To maintain sound financial management of the charity’s resources, ensuring expenditure is in line with the organisation’s objects, that investment activities meet accepted standards and that effective internal controls and risk management procedures are in place.

We are particularly interested in candidates who have experience in one or more of the following areas

  • Financial governance of a Charity
  • Legal – with a legal qualification and experience.
  • Safeguarding and mental health.
  • Income generation or fundraising.
  • Charity/voluntary organisation governance.
  • IT & digital information management.
  • Retail – with expertise in EPOS systems.

Please note a more detailed role description is available upon request.

Time Commitment

  • The board meets bi-monthly – meetings start at 7pm and last for a maximum of two hours.
  • Meetings are usually held in South Street but may alternate with the Bridgwater site and the new site at Taunton Railway Station in the future.
  • Spending time visiting the workshops and OYB Events.

Please click here for further information.

Pro Bono Community seeks new Trustees with law backgrounds

Pro Bono Community (PBC) is a registered charity and social enterprise which seeks to improve access to justice by providing specialist training in legal advice and social welfare law to lawyers, trainees and students and then placing them as volunteers at Law Centres and advice agencies.

Since it was established in 2014, the charity has received grants from The Legal Education Foundation, The City Bridge Trust and Tudor Trust and has run over 40 training programmes involving more than 900 attendees from law firms, universities and other organisations. Since 2017, we have provided credit-bearing modules in legal advice and social welfare law for undergraduate and postgraduate students at City University.

Two of our main objectives now are to expand the number of volunteers we are able to place, both in London and nationally, and to develop the model we have established for running credit-bearing clinical legal education modules at universities.

What we are looking for

As PBC looks to pursue these goals, we are keen to broaden the skills and experience of our trustee board.

Pursuant to this, the trustees are looking to appoint additional trustees with a background in the law whether in a law firm, university, barristers’ chambers or elsewhere, though not necessarily as a lawyer. For example, we would welcome applications from barristers’ clerks or those working in legal administration. Any additional experience in the education, training, advice, voluntary, finance or HR sectors will also be welcomed.

Trustees’ duties and responsibilities

The board of trustees is responsible for setting the strategy and policies of PBC, and also guides and supports the activities of the Executive Director. Trustee meetings are held every three months in central London, usually from 6pm (although remote attendance at meetings is possible and/or reasonable expenses will be paid).

In addition to attending these meetings, trustees are also expected to undertake tasks and responsibilities on an ad hoc basis that are relevant to their own area of expertise and in furtherance of PBC’s charitable objectives.


Please click here for further information and application details.

University of Hull seeks new Lay Members of Council

The University of Hull is the 14th oldest university in England, but is modern and vibrant in outlook and approach.  We have key areas of research strength, are deeply committed to delivering an excellent experience to our diverse student body, and are focussed on delivering strongly as an internationally-engaged, civic institution.

We play a leading role in supporting the regional agenda, working in partnership with a wide range of public and private sector businesses. We are almost 2,500 people who are ambitious about the future: ours, our staff, our students, our alumni and the world around us. Our stellar research and brilliant teaching are designed to inspire thinking and expand horizons and be forward looking and leading edge in areas as diverse as environmental sciences; social justice and bio-medical sciences.

To help us achieve our aims we are seeking to make new appointments to our Council which is the overarching governing body of the University with full responsibility for its strategy and direction. Our Lay Members of Council will also play a key role in helping the University to achieve its bold ambitions during what will be a period of challenge and turmoil for the higher education sector.

In our 3  new Lay Members we are seeking individuals with the requisite experience to act as critical friends to the University Leadership Team, bringing support and challenge derived from their professional and specialist expertise, as well as their personal networks and background.

We are looking for successful strategic leaders with high levels of personal and professional credibility, commercial acumen, personal networks and proven experience in operating at Board level, ideally as a non-executive.  The successful candidates will have an appreciation of good governance and the ability to engage with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders in order to be highly effective ambassadors for the University.


Please click here for further information.

Social Work England seeks Lay Adjudicators

Every day, social workers support millions of people to improve their chances in life. Social Work England is a specialist body taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate – to protect the public, enable positive change and ultimately improve people’s lives.

Can you lend us your expertise and help make a difference?

We’re looking for partners who can offer their skills and knowledge for several days throughout the year to support our fitness to practise function.

As Lay Adjudicator, you will assist in the decision-making process of a hearing in order to determine whether a social worker’s fitness to practise is, or continues to be, impaired. No two days will be the same as you’ll strive to ensure that that cases are dealt with efficiently, objectively and fairly.

You will be confident in making independent decisions that stand up to scrutiny and be able to articulate these clearly and carefully in written judgements.

We’re looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds who are representative of the UK population and our registrants. Our offices are based in Sheffield, but we are keen to receive applications from candidates throughout the UK.

If you are ready to join our journey to re-shape social work standards so that people receive the best possible support whenever they might need it in life take a look at our recruitment campaign site partnersrecruitment.socialworkengland.org.uk

Please note that if you have ever been on a social work register, you are not eligible to undertake a lay role.


Please click here for further information.

Social Work England seeks Lay Panel Chairs

Every day, social workers support millions of people to improve their chances in life. Social Work England is a specialist body taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate – to protect the public, enable positive change and ultimately improve people’s lives.

Can you lend us your expertise and help make a difference?

We’re looking for partners who can offer their skills and knowledge for several days throughout the year to support our fitness to practise function.

As Lay Panel Chair, you will not have a background in social work but be able to apply your professional expertise and knowledge to make sound, impartial and independent decisions. As part of the role you will be expected to read papers in advance of hearings, chair proceedings and write full reports on the decisions reached.

We’re looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds who are representative of the UK population and our registrants. Our offices are based in Sheffield, but we are keen to receive applications from candidates throughout the UK.

If you are ready to join our journey to re-shape social work standards so that people receive the best possible support whenever they might need it in life take a look at our recruitment campaign site partnersrecruitment.socialworkengland.org.uk

Please note that if you have ever been on a social work register, you are not eligible to undertake a lay role.


Further information please click here.

Volunteers needed on Independent Monitoring Boards at HMP Coldingley

We are currently looking for new volunteers to join IMB Coldingley helping to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained.

Person Specification

Applicants do not need any special qualifications or experience as we will provide all necessary training and support. Candidates need to be over 18 years of age and live within approx. 20 miles of the prison. You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, possess effective communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement.

Additional Information

HMP Coldingley is a male Category C training and resettlement prison accommodating up to 513 prisoners. Inside every prison, there is an IMB – a group of ordinary members of the public doing an extraordinary job. IMB members are independent, unpaid and work an average of 4 visits per month depending on the needs of the Board and the individual. Members are the eyes and ears of Ministers and monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Your background can be as a student, a person of working age or retired. We welcome applications from people over 18 and are particularly keen to hear from those of working age and individuals from black and minority ethnic communities, since these groups are under-represented on the existing Boards. The role is about fairness and decency and is always rewarding, educational and challenging. Please click on www.imb.org.uk to find out how being an IMB member can benefit you. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuQ4WxirPlg and view the short film ‘Joining the Independent Monitoring Board’ and hear current IMB members talking about their role.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Volunteers needed on Independent Monitoring Boards at HMP Peterborough

We are currently looking for new volunteers to join IMB Peterborough helping to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained.


Person Specification

Applicants do not need any special qualifications or experience as we will provide all necessary training and support. Candidates need to be over 18 years of age and live within approx. 30 miles of the prison. You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, possess effective communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement.

Additional Information

HMP Peterborough is a dual establishment, a category B local prison for men and a closed prison for women and female young offenders. The prison is operated by Sodexo Justice Services. The prison is located on an industrial estate within three quarters of a mile of the town centre and railway station.

Inside every prison, there is an IMB – a group of ordinary members of the public doing an extraordinary job. IMB members are independent, unpaid and work an average of 4 visits per month depending on the needs of the Board and the individual. Members are the eyes and ears of Ministers and monitor the day-to-day life in their local prison to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Your background can be as a student, a person of working age or retired. We welcome applications from people over 18 and are particularly keen to hear from those of working age and individuals from black and minority ethnic communities, since these groups are under-represented on the existing Boards. The role is about fairness and decency and is always rewarding, educational and challenging. Please click on www.imb.org.uk to find out how being an IMB member can benefit you. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuQ4WxirPlg and view the short film ‘Joining the Independent Monitoring Board’ and hear current IMB members talking about their role.

Please click here for further information and application details.

Equality and Diversity Management Board Member – person required to sit on Independent Monitoring Boards Management Board

We are looking for an outstanding candidate with equality and diversity experience to join the Management Board for the Independent Monitoring Boards. The Management Board is chaired by the IMB National Chair, Dame Anne Owers, and consists of seven IMB members, with a wide variety of experience, plus two external members. The successful candidate will develop strategies, policies and guidance for the Management Board that will support the 128 Boards and their 1400 members:

Person Specification

The applicant should have experience of assisting organisations to meet best practice in equality and diversity.

Additional Information

An application form is available from the IMB website.


Please click here for further information.

Two Board members sought to the Charity Commission for England and Wales

The Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, wishes to appoint two Board members to the Charity Commission for England and Wales. These are public appointments and will be conducted in compliance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies under the principles of merit, fairness and openness. The appointment is for a term of three years


The Charity Commission for England and Wales

Last year the Charity Commission redefined its purpose: to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society. To help us meet that purpose, fulfil our proud commitment to represent the public interest in charity, and meet the challenges we face, the Board has set a new and ambitious five-year strategic plan.

To be the effective regulator that the public demands and the sector requires, the Commission must do all it can to ensure that charities show they are being true to their purposes, can demonstrate the difference they are making, and meet the high expectations of conduct and behaviour demanded by the public.

The Charity Commission is the registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales. It is an independent, non-Ministerial Government Department accountable directly to Parliament. It is based across four sites, employing approximately 420 staff with a budget of £27 million.

There are approximately 168,000 registered charities in England and Wales, with approximately 700,000 people serving as trustees, overwhelmingly on a voluntary basis, some of whom serve as trustees of more than one charity. While some of these registered charities are household names, the majority – about 80% – have an income below £100,000 a year and employ no staff.

As registrar, the Commission is responsible for maintaining an accurate and up-to-date register of charities. This includes deciding whether organisations are charitable and should be registered. It also removes charities that are not considered to be charitable, no longer exist, or do not operate.

As regulator, the Commission has both compliance and enablement functions. It is responsible for investigating and monitoring charities’ compliance with charity law and regulation; it takes enforcement action when there is malpractice or misconduct.  It also provides online services and guidance to help charities run as effectively as possible, ensuring charities meet their legal requirements, and makes appropriate information about each registered charity widely available.

Our Statement of Strategic Intent 2018-2023 explains why the Commission must be more than the sum of our statutory objectives if we are to fulfil our purpose and meet our overall ambition of maximising the benefit of charity to society without devaluing what makes charity important to people.


Person Specification

Vacancies for two Non-Executive Directors will be created when two members complete their terms in November 2019. These are senior roles requiring people with the necessary experience and non-executive skills to support the Chair in providing strategic leadership and oversight of the Charity Commission.


Person specification

Successful candidates will have strong interpersonal, intellectual and analytical skills and sound judgement, together with a commitment to and appreciation of good corporate governance and public service. Candidates with non-executive director and/or senior executive experience at Executive Committee level in the private, public and/or not-for-profit sector (including those for whom this would be a first non-executive board appointment) are encouraged to apply. The Commission’s work is highly varied and engages with people and institutions throughout England and Wales: the Board seeks to reflect that diversity in its composition.


Essential Criteria

All candidates must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • A career record of achievement and high performance in the private, public and/or not-for-profit sector, with an ability to operate effectively on the Board or senior committee of an established organisation.
  • An ability to guide the Commission’s strategic direction, use sound judgement, and consider and challenge complex issues from an impartial and balanced viewpoint.
  • Strong intellectual and analytical ability, with excellent listening, influencing and communication skills and a constructive style in challenging management recommendations where necessary.
  • Experience of giving or holding others to account via effective controls and assurance systems for risk, performance and quality.
  • An understanding of corporate governance and a commitment to the principles of public service, with the highest standards of personal propriety in relation to governance, accountability, risk and financial management.
  • A commitment to and an understanding of the charity sector’s value to the public and – as part of that – the importance of its effective, independent, proportionate, and impartial regulation in the public interest.
  • An understanding of the Charity Commission’s diverse range of stakeholders and the inter-relationships between the charity sector and the Government/public/private sectors.


Preferred Knowledge and Experience

All Boards require a range of knowledge and experience to be effective in their scrutiny, challenge and support of the Executive.  Over the next five years, the Commission must continue to improve its operational performance if it is to deliver on its strategy.

We are seeking candidates with experience of one or more of the following areas to complement the collective skills of the Board. Relevant experience will not necessarily have been gained in an executive role, because we are looking for the capability to scrutinise and challenge effectively as a non-executive Board member:

  • operations and customer service. Experience of operations functions processing high volumes of inquiries covering a wide range of issues and degrees of complexity to high standards of service delivery. Experience of implementing change programmes which have delivered significant and sustained improvement in operational performance would be an advantage.
  • digitisation of services and emerging technologies to enable users to “self-serve”. Successful procurement and/or implementation of major technology-led change programmes in support of operational and digital strategies – together with the ability to communicate effectively the benefits of technology change, and the risks of failure, to the business.
  • collection and provision of Big Data to improve performance and facilitate innovation. The Charity Commission needs to use the rich data it collects more effectively to increase the impact and performance of charities, and to better inform the public in the choices they make about the charities they support. Experience of using and exploiting the potential of Big Data to develop services or create new opportunities would be an advantage.

We are keen to maintain the gender balance of the Board and to continue to improve the wider diversity of our membership. The Charity Commission welcomes and encourages applications from people of all backgrounds, located in all parts of England and Wales and from underrepresented groups – everyone who can apply their skills and experience to these demanding roles.


Additional Information

Role of the Board and its members

The Chair and eight Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) are ‘Commission Members’ and ultimately responsible and accountable for ensuring that the Commission fulfils its statutory objectives, general functions, duties and appropriately exercises the legal powers vested in it under the Charities Act and other legislation. The Commission Members have also reserved to themselves collectively the power to make some regulatory decisions.

The Chief Executive, who is accountable to the Non-Executive members of the Board, is responsible for the operational and day-to-day management of the Commission; as Accounting Officer, she is directly accountable to Parliament.

Following a review of Governance, a unitary Board of the Commission was established in September 2018, of which the Chief Executive is now a member. Like all corporate unitary boards, its main tasks are to set the vision and long-term strategic direction of the organisation, agree annual budgets and business plans, and set the risk framework and policies within which the Chief Executive and her team operate and for which they are held to account by the Board.

The Commission’s Governance Framework sets out in detail the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission, Board and the Executive.

The Board is supported by four committees, whose chairs and members are Board members.


Conflicts of Interest

Candidates must note the requirement to declare any interests they may have that might cause questions to be raised about their approach to the business of the Charity Commission. They are required to declare any relevant business interests, shareholdings, positions of authority, retainers, consultancy arrangements or other connections with commercial, public or voluntary bodies, both for themselves and for their spouses/partners. The successful candidate will be required to give up any conflicting interests and his/her other business and financial interests may be published.


Political Activity

Given the need for the Charity Commission to be, and to be seen to be, impartial and independent in its regulation of charities, engagement in significant political activity (holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation or candidature for election) is likely to prove a significant conflict of interest for candidates applying for this role.

To allow the panel to explore conflicts of interest, and in particular political activity, with the candidates in the context of their ability to perform in the role, candidates should declare any significant political activity which they have undertaken in the last five years. This information will only be provided to the panel for those applicants selected for interview.

Details of the successful candidates declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced.


Please click here for further information and application.

Buglife seeks new Trustees

Can you help the little things that run the planet?

Buglife is the only charity in the UK and the EU that works to conserve all invertebrates. We are looking for motivated and talented individuals to join our Board of Trustees.

Buglife has thirty staff members spread across the UK and runs some of the nation’s biggest bee and pollinator conservation projects, we are also active on freshwater conservation and look after the bugs everywhere in the UK and abroad.

You’ll join a team of ten trustees with skills in conservation, management, law, regulation, banking, HR and policy. As a trustee your primary role is to provide strategic direction, help set overall policy and monitor performance, as well as ensuring we comply with charity law and our own governing documents.

We are currently looking for Trustees to bring additional skills and expertise to broaden our capability in supporting and guiding the Buglife team. Therefore, we are particularly interested in hearing from people with experience in any of the following areas:

  • Links with environmental NGOs
  • Environmental Policy
  • Land use and management
  • Marine environment

We would also like to appoint a Trustee with good links with or residence in Scotland, and any of the above expertise.

Please click here for further information.

Buglife website

The Fawcett Society seeks new Trustees – employment or equality law experience sought


Do you want to join the fight for gender equality and women’s rights?

The Fawcett Society is the leading UK charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights. We are recruiting Trustees and we are particularly interested in hearing from you if you have experience of campaigning and influencing and/or bring any of the following skills or experience – finance, legal (employment or equality law), academic (with particular reference to gender) or business then we want to hear from you.  We are particularly keen to hear from young people, Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates, disabled people and LGBT candidates who are currently under-represented on our Board.

Previous board experience is not necessary, training and support will be provided.  But we do ask that you can make the necessary time commitment.

Download an application information pack here
Download the application form here

Please complete the form and return it together with your CV to recruitment@fawcettsociety.org.uk by 10am on Monday 3rd June.

Interviews will be held in London in June or July, dates to be confirmed.

Institution of Environmental Sciences seeks new Trustee – charity/employment law expertise sought

The IES needs new trustees to help steer the Institution through its next stage of development and uphold an environmental science profession that is informed, trusted and a positive contributor to a sustainable society and environment.

We are a dynamic and rapidly-growing organisation, with a strong reputation in the policy community, and a body with an increasing amount to offer at a time of growing public, political and professional concern about the environment.

We offer a full range of memberships from student to fellow. We support those with a general interest in the sector through to professionals who play an influential role in shaping the future of environmental science.

The IES needs new Council members (trustees) to help steer the Institution through its next stage of development and uphold an environmental science profession that is informed, trusted and a positive contributor to a sustainable society, economy and environment. Most of our Council members are elected from among the membership, but we have the capacity to appoint up to four additional trustees to augment skills where needed.

We are seeking trustees who can devote the time required to play their role effectively, with specific skills that can help us fulfil our charitable objectives. We are looking to add two Appointed Trustees:

• An individual with an understanding of financial and risk management and to act as the Honorary Treasurer
• An individual with an understanding of charity and/or employment law

Time Commitment
Appointed trustees are asked to commit eight days a year to the IES. This includes attending four Council meetings which are usually held at the IES offices in London. Meetings are hosted during the week and during working hours. Remote access options are available. In addition, there is usually one away day per annum. Between meetings, appointed trustees are expected to contribute electronically to office and Council discussions. Appointed Trustees are appointed for a period of three years.


All IES trustees should:

  • Understand the role of the Trustee and be able to add value to the charity through expertise, counsel and sound judgement
  • Understand competing pressures (financial, operational, personnel) involved in running a growing charity
  • High intellectual capacity with the ability to distil complex information and bring a pragmatic approach to its application.
  • Strong communication, networking and interpersonal skills
  • An interest in the environment and a commitment to IES’s charitable Object.

And either:

  • Experience of preparing financial or management accounts as an accountant (financial or management) or through acting as a treasurer at board level


  • Professional experience of charity and/or employment law as a lawyer or solicitor or through extensive experience at board level with other charities or through any non-executive director role.


What difference will you make?

The board shape the strategy of one of the fastest growing professional bodies in the UK – making a real difference to the careers of individual working (and wanting to work) in the environmental sciences.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

You can be part of a board made up of some of the leading scientists and environmental professionals in the UK. With a collaborative, inclusive and ambitious culture, and the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and rapidly-growing organisation, with a strong reputation in the policy community, and a body with an increasing amount to offer at a time of growing public, political and professional concern about the environment.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Durham University: St John’s Common Room seeks new Trustee – legal skills sought

St John’s Common Room is a student led charity which represents undergraduates and postgraduates from St. John’s College, Durham University. We are composed of St. John’s Common Room, the Middle Common Room and the Cranmer Common Room.

Our charitable objectives are as follows:

  • promoting the interests and welfare of students at St John’s College during their course of study and representing, supporting and advising students;
  • being the recognised representative channel between students and St John’s College and any other external bodies (i.e. the Durham Students’ Union, Durham University, etc.); and
  • providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students.

We are seeking an external trustee who is committed to promoting student leadership within St. John’s College and we are particularly interested in candidates with legal experience, welfare experience or knowledge of higher education.


Please click here for further information and application details.

St John’s Common Room

College of General Dentistry seeks new Independent Trustees

Establishing the College of General Dentistry (CGD) presents a rare and unique opportunity to be at the heart of shaping a brand new independent Royal College with the potential for global influence. The CGD is positioned strongly as a centre of excellence that will provide the future leadership to foster excellence in oral healthcare, by setting the standards, promoting excellence and delivering the highest quality of education for the whole dental team.

Modern in every respect, and with digital technology at its heart, the CGD seeks to appeal both to the younger professionals who will shape the future of dentistry, as well as offer more support and inspiration to established professionals. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to influence oral healthcare globally and set the standard for modern professional education and membership organisations more generally. We will do this through establishing exemplary governance structures that support enterprise and ambition; by delivering outstanding services to members, by using modern methods of engagement and creating digital communities and by creating career pathways for oral health professionals that support careers in the future world of work.

The CGD is also being established to help address the challenges of health inequality, declining NHS funding and reduced care options, and increasing patient expectations. At the same time, the opportunity exists to take advantage of advances in dental care and to support a more patient centred profession. Helping oral health professionals to embrace new technology such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing will also support better public health and increased well-being.

This is very much a start-up enterprise benefiting from the history and achievements of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) (FGDP). The journey has begun and our legitimacy imminent with the successful transfer of the FGDP from the Royal College of Surgeons into the new CGD.

To support the next phase of our development we wish to attract a diverse range of Independent Trustees with a variety of skills and experience that will help create a fully-fledged modern education and membership with global influence.

One of the first tasks is to help us raise the capital to establish the College and develop the business models to be sustainable in the longer-term, we need people who will bring strong commercial and business acumen, ideally with experience of brokering and sustaining high-level partnerships and contracts with significant educational, healthcare, technology and blue-chip commercial organisations. We also welcome people who bring insight into future social, economic and / or healthcare markets to help us anticipate the future and stay relevant.

All Independent Trustees, regardless of their backgrounds, must be able to demonstrate clear strategic thinking and relevant experience of successfully developing a new enterprise that has achieved a strong reputation and enviable market positioning.

There can be few better or more exciting opportunities to help create an organisation that will leave a lasting legacy by positively impacting on millions of people and the health of the general population.


For further information and application details, please click here.

Durham University Students Union seeks Lay Trustee – legal services and governance expertise sought

Durham SU exists for a purpose: we’re the champion of every Durham student. That means we care about the things that matter to them. We stand up for their rights. We bring them together. And we celebrate their successes. Our formal charitable objects are in our Articles of Association. Durham SU’s main purpose is the advancement of education of students at Durham University for the public benefit by:

  • Providing opportunities for the expression of student opinion and actively representing the interest of students;
  • Acting as a channel of communication in dealing with Durham University and other external bodies;
  • Promoting the interests and welfare of students at Durham University during their course of study, and representation, supporting and advising students;
  • Facilitating the social, recreational and educational interests of its members, through providing services and support for its members;
  • Supporting the development of and cooperation between the common rooms;
  • Working with other students’ unions and affiliated bodies; and
  • Raising funds for such purposes as are charitable according to the laws of England and Wales and to make grants and donations of such funds to other exclusively charitable bodies or to apply such funds directly for such charitable purposes.

The majority of our trustees are elected students: five of them are sabbatical Officers, elected to hold full-time roles representing students, campaigning on their manifestos and to further out strategic goals. An excellent lay trustee is someone who recognises that there’s lots of new trustees about the table every year, but takes the time and effort to include them in the governance of Durham SU, respecting everyone as an equal regardless of different experiences. The legitimacy and effectiveness of the Board depends on the confidence of students.



We’ve recently undertaken an analysis of our trustees’ skills, knowledge and experience, and we’d really welcome a conversation with you if you think you have something exciting to offer in one or more of the following:

  • Communications
  • Commercial development and customer experience
  • Legal services and good governance
  • Small donation fundraising
  • People and culture, and human resource management



The full Board meets about five times a year. We’d expect a lay trustee to also serve as Chair of a Committee of the Board which each meet about three times a year, but we’d love to talk to you about where you think you can add the most value. You can read the minutes of some of our Board meetings online, to give you some idea. The Committees are currently undergoing some revisions, but are expected to be:

  • People and Culture
  • Performance and Delivery
  • Fundraising



Durham SU provides reasonable expenses to lay trustees, as well as a thorough induction and support programme,




Find further information in the Recruitment Pack here.

To apply for this role please send your CV and covering letter to laura.wilkinson@durham.ac.uk by 31 May 2019.

Durham University Students Union


The Council of Somali Organisations is seeking to appoint a lawyer to its Board

We are looking for a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) with a background in Employment and HR. The Council of Somali Organisations is a second tier charity to Somali led community Organisations.

The general duties of a board member can be found in the Recruitment Pack on our website:  www.councilofsomaliorgs.com. Please download this for full information. Role specific details below.

Hours: Six evening meetings a year. Board members are expected to attend all board meetings. Meetings last approximately two hours and are usually at Council of Somali Organisations ’s offices in London. Papers are distributed one week in advance of meetings and Board members commit to read these in advance. Missing three meetings in a 12 month period may result in Directors/trustees being asked to step down.

Additionally, Board members are expected to attend an away day and AGM and may be invited to additional activities and meetings representing Council of Somali Organisations. Board members are expected to attend an induction session at Council of Somali Organisations prior to their first board meeting. Furthermore Board members are required to attend 6 Upskilling Training Workshops (this is part of Lloyds Bank Foundation funding this year).


Please click here for application details.

Carers Trust seeks new Trustees

Carers Trust is the largest UK wide charity for the nation’s 7 million unpaid carers. We are a growing and forward thinking organisation with ambition to extend our reach and services so that with our Network Partners we can increase the support, information, advice and programmes we provide for children, young people and adults who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend. The number of carers is increasing significantly, with 3 in 5 of us likely to become a carer at some point in our lifetime. Carers save the UK economy over £132bn every year and act as a main support to our stretched health and social care systems.

We are seeking committed, motivated and highly skilled Trustees in three clearly defined areas to add to and enhance our dynamic, experienced and growing Board of Trustees. You will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding and commitment to the needs of unpaid carers
  • an ability to play a key role in the continued growth and success of Carers Trust

You will play a vital role in the oversight of the charity ensuring that it delivers against its charitable objectives, is financially sustainable, has strong governance and safeguards the name and values of the organisation. We welcome applications for those who have experience of a caring role.

The three key areas of experience we seek are:


We are seeking a Trustee with proven skills and experience in the field of national policy. You will have:

  • experience of engaging individuals at a senior governmental level
  • the ability to influence and establish an influencing agenda
  • experience of engaging and communicating with parliamentarians, public sector bodies and third sector organisations
  • previous experience at Board level


We are seeking a Trustee who has a strong record at Board level in communications and marketing. You will have proven skills in:

  • strategic marketing and communications
  • the development of brand and brand marketing
  • experience of, and the ability to, raise awareness of an organisation or cause
  • experience, and knowledge of, maximising digital and social media platforms
  • PR and reputational management
  • engaging with a range of stakeholders across the private and public sectors at a senior level


We are seeking a trustee aged 18 to 25 with experience of a caring role who can add a key voice to our Board. Previous Board experience is not necessary as we will provide training and support but you will have:

  • an ability to bring your unique perspective as a young person with direct experience of a caring role to support and influence the continued development of our offer to Young Carers
  • the enthusiasm, energy and vision to input to and develop our ongoing strategy
  • excellent communication skills and the ability to engage with confidence with stakeholders
  • the ability to be a clear and positive advocate
  • experience of working at committee level

To apply email Candice Williams at cwilliams@carers.org for an application form which would need to be submitted alongside an up to date CV. If you would like to speak with the Chair or CEO prior to applying please contact Candice.

The closing date for applications is 12:00pm on Wednesday 29th May 2019.

The shortlist of candidates will be determined in the following week and candidates invited for interview with our Nominations Committee in early June.

Trustees are required to attend quarterly Board meetings normally in London and are expected to attend key organisational events, such as our annual reception with our President HRH The Princess Royal. They may also be asked to sit on one of the charity’s other governance Committees. Overall the expected amount of time which will be devoted to the charity will be circa 15 days a year.


Please click here for application details.

Association for Project Management seeks new Trustee

The award-winning Association for Project Management (APM) is the chartered body for the project profession.  APM is a charity with over 27,000 individual members and 600 organisations members, making it the largest professional body of its kind in Europe.  The charity is committed to developing and promoting a professional approach to project management through its brand offering of professional membership, qualifications, publications, resources, research and events.

The charity is now seeking to appoint a high calibre trustee from outside the project profession, to join APM’s dynamic and engaged Board at an exciting time of huge potential for the profession.  The successful trustee will need to demonstrate the following:

  • Ability to apply the principles and practice of corporate governance and an understanding of the role of non-executive directors
  • Experience of working as part of a Board is essential
  • A strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity and its strategic objectives and cause
  • Experience at a senior level of evaluating information and making justifiable decisions to set the strategy for the organisation
  • Experience of working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to develop and deliver the organisation’s vision and mission
  • Strong networking capability
  • Knowledge and understanding of charities and membership organisations is not essential but would be desirable

This role is unremunerated although reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.  There are six Board meetings per year and a minimum commitment of 10 days per annum would be required.


Please click here for application details.

Thomley – disabled people’s charity – seeks new Chair of Trustees

Chair for Thomley – a place for people of all abilities and disabilities.

Who we are

We bring disabled people, their families, carers and friends together with experienced and nurturing staff, delivering a programme of activities that enhances the well-being of disabled people helping to develop the skills they need to run their day-to-day lives.

Thomley has been supporting disabled people, their families, friends and carers for over 20 years. The uniqueness of Thomley is that it welcomes people of all ages and impairments. We provide the activities and opportunities to help build the foundations that disabled people need in negotiating their everyday lives.

For more details of visit: www.thomley.org.uk

The Role

Thomley is entering into the next phase of its evolution and is looking to recruit a new chair to guide the creation of this development. As a founder member, the current chair has taken the decision to step down from the role and would like to handover to a new chair by September 2019.

Please click here for a full role description: Chair – Role Description

We recently recruited 4 new trustees with backgrounds in finance, operations, legal, IT and business, bringing in new skills and experiences to support this phase of development.

Our vision

Disabled people don’t have the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers to engage in activities that will help them attain the life skills they need in making the transition into adulthood. This means they miss essential experiences their non-disabled peers take for granted.

Thomley’s vision is to address this through creating a lifelong transition support programme for disabled people. To achieve our vision, we need to make a number of transformations, for example:

  • Develop partnerships/consortia with other local organisations to deliver this vision, as we can’t do this on our own.
  • Make our assets work for us, specifically utilising unused barns, and storage areas to provide workshop space and generate income.
  • Shift our model of funding from a heavy reliance on trusts/foundations to a more diversified model.

Some work has already been made on the above but there is always room for additional/new input!

Essential Skills and Knowledge for the Chair role:

  • Direct leadership experience
  • Experience of managing committees, working groups of people from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • High level of communication and interpersonal relationship skills.
  • Ability to demonstrate impartiality, fairness and respect of confidences.
  • Organisational skills for managing effective meetings.
  • Experience of working in the not for profit sector.



Please click here for application details.

Coventry University Students Union seeks new Chair

As a Trustee you would:

  • Ensure that the organisation is financially and legally secure
  • Ensure the organisation meets the requirements of the charity commission
  • Support the development of a new strategy for CUSU. It is key that our new strategy meets the needs of our membership.

As Chair you would:

  • Ensure that the board follows the Charity Commission good governance code
  • Lead on the development of the board
  • Ensure the Board’s decisions are implemented

This Trustee post is suitable for external applicants (not for current students or staff at Coventry University).

There are usually 5 Trustee meetings per year on Friday afternoons at 2pm, however you will be required to provide email and other support in between meetings. The role is voluntary, however reasonable expenses will be paid.

Please find out more by reading the application letter on our website. Or for more information about CUSU please read our current Strategic Plan, our 2018 Trustee Report and our Articles of Association which can be found on our website.

Please click here for further information and application details.

Department for Culture, Media & Sport: Theatres Trust seeks new Trustee

Theatres Trust is the national advisory public body for theatres.  We believe that current and future generations should have access to good quality theatres where they can be inspired by and enjoy live performance.  We champion the future of live performance, by protecting and supporting excellent theatre buildings, which meet the needs of their communities.

Established by the Theatres Trust Act 1976 and the Theatres Trust (Scotland) Act 1978 ‘to promote the better protection of theatres’ the Trust is a statutory consultee on planning. Local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales are required to consult the Trust on planning applications for all theatres.

We promote great theatre buildings by advising, funding and campaigning on behalf of theatres across the UK.  With expertise in architecture, heritage, planning and theatre management, each year we support more than 350 theatres, local authorities and community groups to create, adapt and save their local theatre as a valuable resource at the heart of the community.


The role

The chief role of the Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities, in accordance with their statutory duties and the policies of the Secretary of State.  They must be able to attend the meetings of the Board, and such other meetings as may be necessary.  Board meetings are normally held 4 times a year in central London and there are currently 2 optional sub-committees; Executive Committee & Fundraising Committee who usually meet 4 times a year.

The Board of Trustees offers guidance and expertise to the Executive (the Director and staff of Theatres Trust).


Person Specification

Theatres Trust is seeking a Trustee with experience and skills in or around marketing, communications, digital media and branding. The other criteria applicable are as follows:

  • An understanding of and interest in the aims and objectives of Theatres Trust as the national advisory public body for theatres.
  • Able to facilitate communication between Theatres Trust, Government Ministers, the UK Parliament and the devolved administrations.
  • An understanding of and commitment to artistic and cultural landscape.
  • An advocate for Theatres Trust with an ability to actively promote its work to wider networks.
  • Committed to promoting cultural diversity and equality.

It is vital that candidates demonstrate a clear understanding of any potential for conflicts of interest between the public role and their own professional activity, and can propose ways to manage such a conflict if it arose.

Supporting Information

Trustees are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Further information on the Theatres can be found on its website at www.theatrestrust.org.uk


Please click here for application details.

Caroline Carter: a BCKR ‘graduate’ – a portfolio lawyer with a goldmine of tips, advice and experience

Caroline considers herself as a graduate of the school of BCKR.  She has not followed a traditional path.  After 30 years in the City, 18 years of which were as head of Ashurst’s Employment and Remuneration practice, she chose to launch herself into her second career by taking a ‘gap year’. Much against her colleagues’ advice – she started with a completely clear diary. “There is nothing like the gift of time!”

Caroline felt her skill set lent itself to board roles as she had:

  • witnessed plenty of board room bust ups
  • sat on the opposite side to the table as an advisor – not answerable to the shareholder
  • always enjoyed networking outside Ashurst to build her client base

She joined Network for Knowledge early on, which had been established for women in retail banking and finance.  She eventually joined their board and helped to build their mentoring relationships; it was a very good platform to get great speakers. Through that she met Professor Elisabeth Kelan who really encouraged Caroline to get a role in academia. One day Elisabeth called Caroline when a role came up at Cranfield University.

Caroline was very nervous about entering this very academic arena as it seemed inhabited only by postgraduate students.  It was a very competitive process, but they were looking for someone whose approach was to put people issues at the forefront of debates and decisions. Caroline got the role.  It was daunting being the newbie, particularly as she was the only member of the board lacking some kind of academic or other accolade.

But Caroline threw herself into the role by watching and listening and taking up every opportunity to learn more outside the boardroom.  Cranfield has offered amazing opportunities to do different things and to build a different life e.g. exposure to global business leaders, meeting a huge variety of different people – from Cressida Dick to the Spice Girls – and learning about areas completely outside her general experience.

This has included flying in a prototype plane and attending many interesting lectures.  Caroline is reading up on as many topics as possible.  Her enthusiasm to get very involved has led to more opportunities on the Cranfield board and she is now going to become Chair of the RemCom, which will give her an opportunity to shape and make changes to the constitution.

This role has given Caroline the best platform to look at the next chapter of her life.  She quickly realised that education was a passion, she has always enjoyed working with young people, and seeing them succeed – an aspect of her role at Ashurst that she really enjoyed.

Having herself come from a modest background where she was the first generation of her family to attend university, Caroline started to look at organisations involved in social mobilisation. She came across the Brilliant Club which helps to identify bright kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and schools to gain entry into top universities.  When the role was advertised Caroline wrote an impassioned cover letter but stated that she was unavailable on the date of the interview.  The Brilliant Club were so bowled over by her cover letter that they gave her a different role on an adjunct project, looking for gifted young people.  When a role came up again on the board, Caroline applied and became a trustee.  She is now hoping that she can help scale up the organisation. It has been hugely rewarding.

Caroline has recently taken on a governorship at an aspiring girls’ school that had (before she joined) managed to get eight girls work experience at Ashurst.

Her focus is now on gaining a commercial role, and her long-term goal is chairing a university.


How do you get your portfolio going?

Caroline had not applied for a job in 25 years.  It is very different from pitching new business to a client.   The key is translating your skills into business language on your CV.  Using the right words is key – particularly as AI conducts the first round of many searches nowadays. In her case she particularly stressed the following:

  • Strategic input
  • Empowering others to achieve
  • Delegation
  • Transformational change

In portfolio life you need to be the enabler.  Change the way you describe yourself and your skills.  It certainly isn’t about your illustrious list of deals.

The covering letter should be as personal as possible, detailing specifically how you can help the organisation – they haven’t got time for you to be on a massive learning curve.  Caroline feels much more responsible for making it all work. And you’ll be surprised at the impact you can have. Also, make sure you meet key people within the organisation early on and think about the impact you will have. Once you’re there, be nosey – listen but don’t meddle. ‘Nose in …. fingers out!’

Bring an independent mind to the table.  You will become the trusted adviser very quickly. And remember the outside world doesn’t understand the legal world.  Lawyers are seen as service providers not business makers. You will need to earn your credentials again.

Caroline feels it was helpful to focus on unpaid, not for profit type roles initially – it was a conscious choice.  And she has been very lucky to have people championing her. For instance, Georgina Harvey (a former BCKR speaker) has made introductions to headhunters for her.



  • Really assess the area you would like to want to be, in whether it is in the NHS, Social Housing or perhaps a government role
  • Be prepared for the different approaches to interview e.g. psychometric testing is very common now, or the very rigid approach to government role interviews
  • Consider making a direct approach to an organization you are interested in.
  • Take care of yourself!
  • Build your network
  • Treat people with dignity
  • Emotional intelligence is vital
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the stupid question
  • Make yourself attractive to inter-generational businesses.  It is said that in the future, seven generations will be working alongside each other.


Is there anything in particular you lacked in your skill set when you joined your first board?

The jargon used in academia is intimidating at the beginning.  It did feel like a very different and unknown world but by throwing herself into it head first it didn’t take long to get up to speed.  Skilled lawyers have that experience in spades.


What was it about your cover letter to the Brilliant Club that made it stand out? 

She included pertinent things about herself as a person and how she felt she could help to develop the organization. Her letter was authentic.  She mentioned the road she had not taken when she was asked by her father, who was gravely ill, to give up her offer to do a PhD and to get a proper job instead.  So, she went to Law school!




Deal Music and Arts seeks new Trustee

Deal Music and Arts (DMA) is a charitable organisation based in Deal, bring over 200 world-class artists to present annual festival and outstanding year round programme of music and arts to over 7,000 audience members and a sustainable music and arts education and outreach projects, with over 40 schools and 1000 pupils in East Kent.

DMA has been leading artistic provision in Deal and East Kent for over 36 years through the festival and unique music education programme. DMA brings world-class artists to present outstanding programmes of music and the wider arts in this unique coastal environment. Within our summer music festival, year-round activities and extensive education and outreach projects, we hold dear the ability to inspire, develop and transform lives. Aims: bring the highest standards of artistic experience to local communities develop long-term sustainable music and arts education provide a platform for artistic collaboration and innovation create experiences that enrich, inspire, inform, excite and stimulate contribute to the economic and cultural regeneration of East Kent DMA consistently brings the best cultural activities and opportunities, increasing the area’s artistic profile and reputation. DMA ensures economic growth and targets areas of deprivation to increase the quality of life for the people of East Kent.



We are seeking trustees who have a passion for music and the arts, can connect with the above aims and have previous board experience. Due to the small size of the team and board are ‘hands -on’, able to volunteer for events, attend board meetings and support fundraising. Typically the commitment will be 8 hours per month, with meetings and events in Deal and / or Canterbury.

Treasurer – Role Description

Alongside the general trustee roles (as above) we are also seeking a financial sector professional to oversee and support the financial management of DMA. Specifically we are looking for: Accountant qualification, skills and experience – ideally charitable / arts sector experience Under take preparations of management accounts and oversee general bookkeeping Quarterly / monthly reconciliation of funds with General Manager Attend and report to board meetings Support with the preparation of audited accounts annually Willing to support general volunteering Approx time commitment 12 hours per month, with meetings and events in Deal and / or Canterbury.

Audience feedback from the education programme: Create experiences that enrich, inspire, inform, excite and stimulate – “Excellent, varied Magnificent Better every year • Brill, fun and exciting • Memorising, enriching, stimulating • Quality, pleasure, Anticipation • Thrilling, uplifting, joyful • Uplifting, community, friendly • Quality, exciting, broadening • Absolutely top class• Moving, thoroughly enjoyable • Holiday from life • Awe-inspiring challenging outstanding experience • Very good value • Brilliant, exciting, inspiration • Entertaining, fun and informative • Exhilarating uplifting inspiring…”


For further information and application details, please click here.


The Internet Watch Foundation seeks 3 new Trustees – senior legal expertise sought

We’re looking for Trustees who want to be part of making the internet a safer place for children and adults across the world.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by the internet industry, and the European Commission. We work closely with police, governments and NGOs globally.

For 23 years we’ve given people a safe place to report imagery anonymously, now covering 26 countries. We assess every report we receive. If it shows the sexual abuse of a child, we make sure the image or video is removed. To do this effectively, we develop new technology and provide bespoke tools to our industry Members, which now number 148 and include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

No child should suffer repeated abuse and victimisation. As a direct result of our work, child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK have reduced from 18% in 1996 to below 1% today.

Creating real change:
Our work relies on compassionate and resilient staff members, who are highly trained and carefully looked after. We encourage others to play their part, whether it is reporting to us, funding us, or collaborating on the best technology and research.

The children in these pictures and videos are real. The suffering captured in this imagery and the knowledge that it could be shared can haunt a victim for life. That’s why it’s our mission to eliminate this material for good. And to show every child there is someone out there who cares enough to help.

Our future focus:
The future for IWF is full of ambition and change. We are in the process of developing our next five-year strategy to broaden our reach to the public, diversify our funding, develop campaigns to tackle the demand for child sexual abuse imagery, and respond to the Government’s Online Harms White Paper which brings greater regulation to the internet.

At this strategically important time, we wish to appoint three Independent Trustees who will help to shape IWF’s intent through ambitious, creative, independent, and informed thinking.

Trustees will join our deeply engaged and accomplished board, which provides constructive challenge and support to our highly capable senior management team. We are also looking for two of these trustees to join our Finance Committee.

We are looking for individuals with substantial strategic leadership experience. We are particularly looking for people with the following skillsets:

  • senior technical IT expertise, particularly in cyber security, ethical hacking or related areas (e.g. CISO, CTO, Head of Cyber Security etc);
  • senior legal expertise, ideally (though not essentially) focused on the internet, cyber security or communications;
  • senior financial leadership experience which could have been gained as a CFO, Finance Director or in a commercial leadership role, in the private, public or not for profit sectors.

However, we are also open to considering individuals with broader experience, in areas related to our work. Most importantly, the new Trustees will share IWF’s commitment to our vision of elimination of child sexual abuse images online.


For further information and application details, please click here.


Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre seeks a Trustee with legal background

Exciting opportunity for a Trustee with Communications experience and a Trustee with a legal background (corporate or family law) to join the RASASC Management Committee.

RASASC is a registered charity dedicated to offering support to male and female survivors of rape and sexual abuse through its telephone helplines, face to face counselling, Independent Sexual Violence Advisor service, family support and self-help groups. We are based in Guildford but support survivors from across Surrey and beyond. We have 18 staff and 70 volunteers.

With a three-year strategy in place, and a committed and talented team of Trustees, we are seeking an additional Trustee with Communication skills or legal skills and experience to fill our knowledge gap and strengthen our Trustee Board. Our Trustees demonstrate a strong commitment to our charity sector and the work we do to support survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
Term: Minimum of one year from election. Trustee meeting are held monthly on a Tuesday evening.


About Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) (SH)

A rape and sexual abuse charity supporting men and women from the age of 13 in Surrey. We have a confidential helpline, face to face counselling sessions, group support sessions and therapeutic coffee mornings. We do talks and awareness raising in the local community.

If you have time and energy to spare, are a good communicator and enthusiastic about working with an organisation supporting people affected by rape and sexual abuse, we are interested in hearing from you.


For further information and application details, please click here.

Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell seeks new trustees to join their Board – legal expertise sought

Registered charity Blue Elephant Theatre (BET) is a vibrant 50-seat theatre in Camberwell, which aims to offer a wide range of exciting creative opportunities, especially to those who may not otherwise access them. It seeks to nurture new and emerging artists across the performing arts and to provide free participation opportunities for our local communities. After a period of uncertainty, BET became a National Portfolio Organisation in April 2018, meaning that it is now regularly supported by Arts Council England and making it an exciting time to join the theatre. It remains, nonetheless, a small organisation with only two full-time members of staff.

Blue Elephant Theatre is based on the Wyndham & Comber Estate off Camberwell Road in SE5. Our audiences and artists come from all over the world although generally artists are UK-based and we particularly focus on reaching Southwark-based artists. We work with approximately 1500-2000 local people each year, largely through our flagship primary schools programme Creative Minds and our Young People’s Theatre which is funded by BBC Children in Need. Our local area is diverse and we are keen to recruit trustees who are representative of the area and/or who are closely tied to Southwark. Our Board of Trustees is predominantly male so we are hoping to recruit more Trustees who identify as female or non-binary at this time.

Joining the Board of Trustees is a voluntary role with no payment although out of pocket expenses may be claimed. Trustees have a legal responsibility for the charity’s management and administration although on a day-to-day basis the running and management of the Blue Elephant is devolved to the senior management.

Joining the Board of the Blue Elephant will involve duties such as:

• Supporting BET to achieve the goals set out in its Business Plan and Equality Action Plan
• Leading and supporting particular projects or subcommittees around particular needs
• Offering support and advice to staff, particularly senior management and particularly around the Trustee’s area (s) of special knowledge
• Attending a range of BET events and work to keep in touch with the organisation and its work to ensure it is carrying out its mission statement
• Being a ‘critical friend’ to the organisation and staff
• Being an Ambassador for BET
• Supporting BET in its fundraising and audience development efforts

The Time Commitment is expected to be:

• Attending Trustee meetings approximately every six weeks and sending apologies if unable to attend
• Reading and commenting on documents sent out (approximately two hours a month)
• Attending a range of Blue Elephant events throughout the year to keep up to date with its work; trustees would normally be expected to attend at least three professional shows and three participation showcases/workshops a year
• Take on additional responsibilities on an ad-hoc basis when able to do so, eg chair a subcommittee, take responsibility for the Youth Board

We are seeking to diversify the skills and experiences on our Board of Trustees and so are particularly looking to recruit:
• Those with legal expertise
• Parents
• Surveyors/Construction workers
• Artists within the performing arts
• Those with knowledge/expertise around Disability Awareness and improving accessibility

Blue Elephant Theatre welcomes applications from all sections of the community. This is generally regardless of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disability or religious beliefs but as explained above, we are looking to address a gender imbalance on our Board at this time.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Age UK Portsmouth is seeking new Trustees – company/employment law expertise sought

We are looking to refresh our board by appointing new Charity Trustees.  You have the chance to join a highly motivated Board of Trustees who, working with our Chief Executive Officer and Executive Team, have made a huge impact to the lives of older people in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.  We need fresh experiences, expertise and perspectives to ensure we maintain our momentum.

We want to build real diversity of thought and constructive challenge in our work as a board.  We want and will benefit from fresh, ‘outsider’ thinking and experience.

About Age UK Portsmouth

We are an independent, local registered charity, responsible for our own funding and services and a brand partner of the national Age UK organisation.  We provide vital contact within the local community, offering people a friendly face, a helping hand or companionship.

Our mission is ‘to help adults in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire enjoy a better quality of life, with a specific focus on all aspects of getting older.’

We have regularly responded to an ever-changing environment, including anticipated changes in commissioning, social care, society and not least, the changing expectations of older people.

What we are looking for

We are looking for a wide range of individual experiences that can add to the board’s perspective and thinking; we would love a wider range of leadership experiences in organisations of all types.

Trustees should have the ability to think strategically and to work collaboratively with others.  Detailed knowledge of the voluntary sector is not essential.  We are seeking diversity of your life experiences, both professional and personal. Career paths could include experience in the business sector, developing a social enterprise, health and social care, marketing, company and employment law, charitable fundraising, finance, accountancy or IT development.

Specific requirements

We are looking for the following experiences and approaches:

  • You are committed to the Charity and helping to make it the most effective it can be
  • You are collegiate, confident in your own opinions but able to blend into an effective team
  • You are willing to be open-minded, debate deeply and constructively, not always win but be able to rally round a decision once taken
  • You will bring and use your professional skills and life experiences, but be engaged and interested in all aspects of our work
  • You will have the flexibility to be able to attend our boards, but we will be as flexible as we can in what we ask of you beyond that.

Your core duties

We meet as a board for two hours in Portsmouth every other month to:

  • Approve strategic direction and priorities for the Charity
  • Ensure that the Charity complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation
  • Ensure that the Charity uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objectives, as defined in its governing documents
  • Ensure the financial stability of the organisation
  • Safeguard the good name and values of Age UK Portsmouth

The trustees provide additional support to the Executive team by drawing on their individual areas of expertise.  This varies, but you should be able to commit a minimum of 1-2 days a month.  In addition to your core governance roles, we would look to you to support the Executive Team in their work to deliver our programmes and services, as well as supporting at events.


Please click here for further information and application details.

The Holburne Museum (Bath) is looking for 3 new Trustees – legal experience welcomed

The Holburne Museum is looking for up to 3 new Trustees to join the board and is inviting applications from interested and suitably experienced candidates to help this very special museum to grow and develop, from 2019.

To help us achieve this we are looking for people with an enthusiastic commitment to working with the Museum and who have experience and networks in the following areas:

  • Community Engagement;
  • Fundraising;
  • Legal, Finance and Audit;
  • Digital and Social Media and HR.

Trustees are expected to attend at least four meetings a year, to join relevant sub committees and to participate in key events.
Appointments are for a 3-year term in the first instance.

The Holburne is committed to diversity in its programmes, audiences, staff and volunteers.

The Holburne Museum is a registered charity and these positions are voluntary and unpaid.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Grand Union Orchestra (Bethnal Green) seeks new Trustees

For over 30 years Grand Union Orchestra has brought together the best UK musicians and singers from all over the world to create stunning original music and spectacular live shows. The Company also runs a complementary range of cross-cultural participatory and education projects for which it is highly respected.

Our admin team is based in Bethnal Green and we are looking to expand our diverse Board of Trustees to further reflect the communities we work with.

A background in marketing or fundraising would be helpful but whatever your experience please get in touch and tell us what interests you about this role.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Click here for further information and application details.

Autism at Kingswood seeks new Chair of Trustees

Our current chair will stand down June 2019, therefore Autism at Kingwood is seeking a dynamic, experienced and committed individual to work with our Board of Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team in the pivotal role of Chair.

We are looking for someone with a track record of success in strategic and operational leadership and experience as a non-executive director, Trustee or Chair. You will have a keen understanding of governance and the ability to combine good judgement with excellent strategic and communication skills. You may already be a Chair of Trustees, or looking for the opportunity to chair your first board. You will lead the Board of Trustees to ensure that the charity is properly governed and managed with a key focus on maximising the ‘quality of life for autistic adults’.

With the capacity to think creatively and offer fresh perspective you will bring the ability to engage at all levels internally and externally.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Role Description

The Money Advice Trust is seeking to appoint Trustees to its Board

This is a unique opportunity to play a part in the future of one of the UK’s most influential debt advice charities.

The Trust helps hundreds of thousands of people in financial difficulty each year directly through our advice services, supports debt advisers through training, and is at the forefront of a dynamic and high profile policy area, which attracts significant political and public interest.

There has never been a greater need for accessible, effective debt advice which changes lives for the better. Our vision is to help people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money with confidence, and our strategic plan focuses on how we will help more people, more effectively. The Trust:

  • Provides telephone, webchat and online debt advice to the public and small businesses via National Debtline and Business Debtline;
  • Seeks to work more effectively with other key charities in this area;
  • Is a centre of practical and policy expertise, thought leadership, training and support for the free debt advice sector, and training and consultancy which helps creditor organisations identify, understand and support people in vulnerable circumstances.


What we are looking for

People with diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences who have integrity, strategic vision, good independent judgement and a willingness to speak their mind.

People with a commitment to our vision and values. We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Ideally, we are also looking for someone whose profile includes skills/experience in: bidding and commissioning; or, digital design/delivery; or, consumer insight, but if you have a passion for our work, and don’t have this background do still please apply.


Please click here for further information and application details.


The Bobath Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy in Watford seeks new Trustees

A key Trustee role with The Bobath Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy. The Bobath Centre is a specialist treatment and training charity dedicated to supporting children, adults and families living with cerebral palsy and similar neurological conditions.

The Centre is looking for a variety of skills to expand and replenish the Board so welcomes applications from a wide range of candidates who share a commitment to the objects of the charity.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Ensures that the charity complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and other relevant legislation/regulations
  • Guides the progress of the charity through setting strategic direction and measuring progress against strategic targets
  • Ensures that the charity applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects
  • Contributes actively to the Board of Trustees’ role in setting strategic direction, defining goals and setting targets, and evaluating performance against agreed targets
  • Ensures the effective and efficient administration of the charity
  • Ensures the financial stability of the charity
  • Ensures that the organisation pursues and complies with its objects as defined in its constitution
  • Safeguards the good name and values of the charity.
  • Protects and manage the property of the charity and ensure the proper investment of the charity’s funds
  • Participates in the appointment and management of the CEO
  • Uses any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the Board of Trustees reach sound decisions
  • Prepares for Board meetings, including by reading all papers provided.

Time Commitment

  • The Board meets monthly and all Trustees are expected to attend all meetings and contribute sufficient preparation time in advance.
  • Once annually, the Board will spend a day discussing strategic planning and other issues. This may be in addition to one of the regular meetings or may overlap with a meeting. All Trustees are expected to attend and participate actively in this day.
  • On appointment, Trustees are expected to dedicate sufficient time to reading all the induction material, attend training on becoming a Trustee and understanding financial accounts (if needed), visit the office to meet the staff, and additional time needed to understand their role and the relevant details of the Bobath Centre.
  • Trustees may be asked to join a sub-committee, which requires an additional time commitment.

Skills required

  • Ability to work independently and remotely
  • Ability to provide frank and honest advice
  • Excellent understanding of charitable governance
  • Appropriate qualifications or relevant work experience
  • Exceptional organisational and coordination skills, and the ability to take robust minutes.


For further information and application details, please click here.

Bobath Centre

Bournemouth Sea Cadets seeks new Trustee

Bournemouth Sea Cadets is a charity which has provided life-changing opportunities for young people for 55 years.  We are looking for volunteers to join us to help continue to deliver a unique experience for young people in our area.  

What will you be doing?

Each Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) unit is an independent charity in its own right which must fundraise for its running costs while the parent charity of MSSC (Marine Society & Sea Cadets) funds the charitable infrastructure and provides national facilities. Our biggest supporter is the Royal Navy whose customs and traditions are at the heart of what we do.

Sea Cadet units are managed and run by committed volunteers.  The unit management team (UMT) are volunteers and act as the unit’s trustees, headed up by a unit chairperson, secretary and treasurer. The UMT is responsible for the running of the unit at a strategic and management level and we are looking to recruit a dynamic volunteers to support the unit organisation and management.

The role of a UMT trustee is to collectively with your fellow UMT trustees, to:

– Ensure that all the unit’s activities and matters are conducted legally and comply with charity regulations and MSSC policies and procedures.

– Ensure the general welfare, safety and protection of volunteers and cadets when they are involved in unit matters or activities.

– Provide a properly maintained, serviced, safe and secure unit premises.

– To identify unit priorities and potential issues and maintain plans to address those issues.

– Raise funds to pay for the running costs incurred by the unit.

– Raise funds to provide the resources necessary for efficient and successful training in the unit and other projects as they arise.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for volunteers with a practical management skills as well as an understanding of relevant governance and compliance.  The unit building operates as a Sea Cadet training ship but also as a local community centre, so we are interested in hearing from anyone with these following characteristics:

  • Experience of volunteer and charity management is desirable
  • Experience or understanding of Charity Commission requirements
  • Enthusiastic and committed
  • Willing to learn about our mission and values
  • Able to manage time and delegate tasks
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Ability to communicate with people from all walks of life at all levels, as effective communication with other key stakeholders including SCC personnel, other facility users and charity groups will be important

What difference will you make?

The UMT is key in our being able to offer a wide range of activities for our adult instructional volunteers and cadets from sailing, canoeing, kayaking, power boating, to flying, cookery and much, much more. We aim to encourage good citizenship and provide valuable, nationally recognised qualifications and adventure for young people aged 10-18 years.
Our core values that we look for in our Cadets, Volunteers and Staff are:
•  Loyalty
•  Respect
•  Honesty and Integrity
•  Commitment
•  Self-discipline
Your contribution will not only support the Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadet mission but will support other local community groups, pre-school and charities to continue to deliver services to those who need to benefit from them.

What’s in it for the volunteer?

Volunteering with the SCC will enable you to work with young people and get involved with a diverse set of interesting projects.  The unit takes part in high-profile events including providing the Royal Navy and local business with support during the Bournemouth Air Show.

Volunteers can also take courses through the corps via the community volunteer service. These include opportunities to enhance understanding and skills to deliver as a trustee role. UMT members also have a chance to crew the Sea Cadet training brig, TS Royalist.  Above all, you will leave a lasting legacy for future generations of cadets and other young people.

A few more details

We understand the responsibilities people have outside volunteering. That is why all our roles are flexible and can be adapted to ensure any individual who is willing to give their time can be included. Where necessary, it may also be possible to share a role to spread the commitment.

Each Sea Cadet unit must comply with all policies and procedures issued for the governance of Sea Cadets by, or on behalf of, the MSSC Council and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The MOD underwrites the Sea Cadet training liability.


Please click here for further information and application details.

The City & Guilds of London Art School seeks new Trustee – employment law, charitable or trustee law expertise welcomed

The City & Guilds of London Art School is a small specialist provider of higher education with a diverse, creative community of c. 240 students in Fine Art, Carving and Conservation, and a large faculty of artists, theorists, historians and expert practitioners. It places an emphasis on material enquiry, hand skills, experimentation and research, underpinned by in-depth knowledge of contemporary and historic practices in art and crafts. Its generous staff to student ratio, individual workspaces and specialist workshops support high student achievement and career progression. A third of eligible students benefit from bursaries and / or scholarships and it is committed to ensuring that its subjects continue to thrive and evolve. The Art School has been operating from its Kennington (Lambeth) site for 140 years, and as a registered charity and company limited by guarantee since 1970.

The Art School is in a crucial phase in its history with new course initiatives and major developments planned for its historic site over the next five years. With a positive Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Review in 2017 (and subsequent annual monitoring), a high score in the National Student Survey (NSS), the completion of a number of major building enhancements and a new validation partnership with Ravensbourne University London, it has successfully made progress with its strategic plan for 2015-2020. In the coming year the Art School will be working on its strategic plan for 2020-2025, setting out its ambitions as it firmly establishes the Art School as an exemplary and recognised centre of excellence in contemporary Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation.

Role specification

The Trustees are collectively responsible for the general control of the administration of the Art School charity. They ensure its effective governance, provide their expert knowledge and act as ambassadors, championing the Art School and its work. The role of Trustee should be a rewarding experience, providing an opportunity to make use of one’s skills and experience to make a difference.

Trustees are appointed for a term of three years, though may subsequently be re-appointed for a further two terms of three years.

Person specification

The City & Guilds of London Art School is looking for candidates to join the Board of Trustees who share an enthusiasm and commitment to arts education but who can also bring diverse skills to help the Art School thrive and grow in an ever more challenging environment.

In particular it is seeking candidates experienced in advocacy, diversity and widening access and participation along with:

  • Finance: Potential Trustee(s) who would also join the Audit & Risk Committee, with senior level experience of financial management eg, as CFO / Finance Director in a listed company; a partner in an accountancy practice; or a senior role in investment management
  • Development: A track record of effective fundraising on behalf of charitable or not-for-profit institutions, with extensive, high-level connections to philanthropic bodies and individuals, grant-giving bodies and corporate foundations
  • Marketing, outreach and public relations: Proven skills at senior level in building and communicating strong brands for private or third sector organisations, ideally in the education or cultural fields; skilled campaign directors; proven ability to build networks of stakeholders in local communities and more widely
  • Arts: Demonstrable senior experience in an area with synergies to CGLAS’s mission; an understanding of the non-profit arts sector; advocacy skills and a wide network, especially in the visual arts; experience of widening participation; a proven commitment to diversity. Knowledge of contemporary visual arts
  • Higher Education: Full understanding and experience of the issues facing higher education, a sympathy for how this impacts small specialist providers such as The City & Guilds of London Art School; the ability to advise The City & Guilds of London Art School’s senior leadership team effectively on the higher education sector
  • Law: Experience of trustee law and / or the regulatory legal regime applicable to charitable and / or arts education sector; employment law experience desirable for a potential member of the Remuneration and / or Nominations Committee

International candidates

International candidates are advised that travel expenses will not be reimbursed.


Connected Parties

This organisation has requested that candidates do not contact them directly. Instead, if you know someone at the organisation please mention it in your Reason for Application. Members discovered not respecting this may risk having their membership terminated.


Role timetable

Deadline for applications: 22nd May

Candidates can expect to be contacted by: 5th June

Candidates can expect the process to be completed by: 21st July



For further information on this role, please get in touch with nurole directly or email  enquiries@nurole.com.



Peter Bennett-Jones: every board should have legal expertise

BCKR recently welcomed Peter Bennett-Jones to share with us his board-life experience and, in his view, what attributes are needed make up an effective board.

Peter’s day job is, as he describes it, as a showbiz hack – an agent and programme maker.

However, his engagement with the not-for-profit world has been the most enjoyable and life affirming aspect of his career.  He has used and adapted the contacts he has made, and their influence, to broader purposes.  His experience has covered three main areas; the arts, education and international development.


The Arts

The National Theatre – where he chaired its production board.  NT Live was started to help pay artists more and to get theatre to a wider audience.  But its popularity made it a huge commercial success story with revenues greater than £1m pa.

Peter did a short stint on the Oxford Playhouse board and on the RADA board.  In both cases the business people and actors gave their boards a particular flavour.  He has since joined the board of the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres which had serious funding problems.

Funding is a common theme and continual challenge for all arts organisations, particularly since the decrease in Arts Council funding – even the NT’s public funding has reduced from around 38% to 15%, with no public funding at all going to regional theatres.  Regional theatres are cash strapped and it is very hard to get corporate funding.  The boards are often made up of people who have been there too long.  There is often turbulence around succession, when the old guard are not sophisticated at handling over the baton.

Despite its great heritage, the Liverpool Everyman board needed more rigour. The need to devise a rescue plan attracted applications from high calibre individuals who wanted to join the board – having something specific to focus on can attract talent. The theatre has a stronger board now.  It is often the case that when things are going wrong the board comes into its own.

There are also frequently problems around succession in arts organisations and lawyers can play a significant role in this area.



He was a governor at Rugby School for 6-7 years.  Even there, funding was the theme.  Peter ran the bursary scheme which raised £20m to fund bursaries for children who would benefit from boarding school but who otherwise wouldn’t have access to places.  There was a very dynamic head at Rugby who persuaded McKinnsey to take the programme nationally under the brand SpringBoard Foundation.

The current debates in education, funding aside, are private versus state, the curriculum itself and the degree of intervention from the Secretary of State.  Plus safeguarding.  As within the International Development arena, safeguarding in education is a hot topic.   The level of accountability and scrutiny in this area has, in Peter’s view, become disproportionate.  Current heads are regularly hauled over the coals for actions 20 years ago.

The Charity Commission, which is responsible for overseeing 160,000+ charities, is not well-led, has poor staff, a lot of whom are watching their backs.  This leads to reactive and intrusive challenge across the whole charity sector and that explains the over emphasis on safeguarding at the moment.  Remember, as a trustee you have the same accountability as a director in a plc but with no financial reward, fewer resources to assist and a lot of finger pointing.



Comic Relief.  Having been mates with the screenwriter Richard Curtis since the 70’s, together they decided to use Richard’s success and their resulting persuasive powers to ask the BBC to give them a platform to support relief.  Comic Relief’s success was in infiltrating the international consciousness of a generation and bringing greater awareness of the problems.  It was fascinating.  The board was incredible, all working for a common purpose.

Blair, Brown and Cameron were very supportive of the charity over the years, but the culture has changed under the May government.


Save the Children.  Having been the Chair, he stepped away earlier this.  Oxfam, Help for Heroes, Kids Company and Save the Children are all going through it.  These organisations need to work effectively but who do you get to people these boards when the finger pointing for politically correct themes is so prevalent? The need for strong leaders to get involved has never been greater – but this sits alongside an ever growing disincentive to undertake these roles due to the ever increasing scrutiny, accountability and misrepresentation you expose yourself too when sitting on a board such as these.  It is often the beneficiaries of the charities, those whom the regulators and authorities think they are protecting by their actions, who ultimately suffer from clamp downs.

Mistakes are made and people do behave badly. Lessons need to be learned and organisations allowed to move on.

In his view a board should always have two skills represented:

  1. To have a legally qualified person. Having that sound legal training and advice around the board table.  The lawyer will often come into play in a crisis.  There are many issues where extremely sound and well articulated judgement is required.  Lawyers can do this, in spades.
  2. HR expertise is also a much-needed skill set to have on your board.



Boards have a fundamental role in delivering charity objectives such as:

  • Strategic planning
  • Fire fighting
  • Working with management
  • Succession


There is a delicate balance of relationship between the board and the management team.  After being on the board of Comic Relief for 15 years, Peter did a short course at Harvard and they showed that on the whole, management manipulate 80% of the business of the board.  As a member of the board you need to reverse that, and it is very hard to do. As a non-executive board member, you need to make sure you aren’t outwitted by the management.

BUT it is worthwhile! Sitting on these boards has been a hugely rewarding balancing act between commercial and public interest.  You need to see things from the bottom up as well as top down.



On the whole they are an expensive undertaking for charities.  Candidates do need to make sure they are on the radar of the few important players.

If you do take on a role you need to give your time willingly, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.

The balance is the reward:

  • Getting under the carpet of UK social issues
  • Engaging with other institutions in partnership
  • Range of issues are very different from those you see in private practice

However, the environment for charities has changed.  Now there are sections of press and government ready to criticise.  There is an additional emphasis on governance and safeguarding as there is more awareness of the issues.

You can, as a lawyer, make a significant contribution.

Due diligence is key before you take on a role.  Look at historic accounts, meet the Chief Executive and or Chair and current trustees, to get an understanding of issues being faced.


How do you go about getting a role on an arts board if you have no previous experience?

Demonstrate engagement.  Just approach the organisation.  These are volunteer jobs and you will be adding great value.

Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust seeks new Non-Executive Director – employment law background welcomed

The Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT), comprising 34 academies (33 primary and 1 secondary) across Norfolk, seeks to recruit a non-executive director to join its trust board to strengthen its capacity in HR and employment law. Applicants of all faiths and of none are welcomed. Board meetings take place in Easton, Norwich.


About the trust

DNEAT’s aim is to establish an environment in which schools can flourish as successful Academies and in a supportive network where professional support and challenge is at the heart.

The trust was established in 2013, currently serving 5140 pupils with £1,980,937 allocated pupil premium. The trust has always tried to work effectively with other organisations: with Local and National Government, and with each other, to create the very best for the children and young people in its care. The trust aims to serve its community by providing an education of the highest quality from schools who are committed to working together, within the context of Christian belief and practice.

DNEAT is driven by the moral purpose of making a significant difference to the outcomes of young people in order to best prepare them for their next stage of education and adult life. The trust is focused on transforming young people’s lives and by providing the perfect balance between excellent education and uncompromising pastoral care.

The family of academies includes 33 Primary Schools (including one Community primary) and 1 Secondary School (Open Academy – a non-Church school): 1 Outstanding school, 24 Good schools, 8 schools Requiring Improvement and 1 Inadequate school (Ofsted ratings). Common with many rural areas the trust faces the challenge of a number of small isolated schools. The most recent addition to the trust is Brisley, a sponsored academy.

The trust employs 1,100 staff and manages a budget in excess of £28 million. Ofsted’s focused review in 2018 found that the trust’s CEO “sustained a relentless focus on improving the quality of education” and that “governance arrangements [were] effective, well-managed and quality-assured through the central team’s governance manager”. One of the executive principals takes up the role of CEO from September.


Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Strategic Improvement (Organisational Development): established plan for growth with a balanced budget within the small school context; excess places in academies are reduced; there is an effective Public Relations Strategy to promote the trust as an excellent provider of education that features Christian distinctiveness.
  2. Workforce Improvement: establish a talent pool of potential leaders; devise a system for school to school support; the best teachers and leaders are recruited to the Trust.
  3. School Improvement: to develop systematic school improvement measures across the Trust; to

focus on improving standards in mathematics; that the quality of RE provision/outcomes in all schools is outstanding by July 2019.

Academies are focused on ‘Learning Centred Leadership’ so that all feature an excellent

curriculum and strong teaching, learning and assessment which results in good progress for all children and overall standards that exceed National Averages by 2020.


Trust ethos & values

To serve the community by providing an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. To encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experience it offers to all its pupils.


Role summary

Trustee/Non-Executive Director


To contribute to the work of the trustee board in ensuring high standards of achievement for all

children and young people across the trust, and in making DNEAT an employer of choice for

those involved in education.

Trustees – or non-executive directors – are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.


Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:



–       HR

–        Legal / Compliance

–        Succession Planning

–        Training & Development



–        Branding / Marketing

–        Remuneration Committee Chair


Experience of working in the HR profession and knowledge of employment law, pay structures, Training and Development and staff grievances is essential as the candidate will sit on the Personnel Committee. Some knowledge of the education environment would be helpful but is not essential. Candidates should be supportive of the ethos of the Trust and its Christian values.


Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum. Board meetings are up to three hours duration and held at 9.30am September, December, March, July and committee meetings in October, December, March and June.


Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Diocesan House, 109 Dereham Road, Easton, Norwich, NR9 5ES. The location is directly off the A47.

The trust website is http://www.dneat.org.


Governance structure

Please visit http://www.dneat.org/our-trustees for further information.


Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 74% of secondary schools and 31% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.


Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts (MATs). There are currently 832 multi academy trusts of 3+ schools. If the schools are to fulfil their potential, the trusts need non-executives (known in charity law as trustees) to bring a wide range of skills and experience to help guide strategy, ensure their ambitions can be soundly financed and keep their schools up to the mark delivering for their pupils.


“Academy boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focused on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.”
Source: Governance Handbook, Department for Education (2019)


Trusteeship is a voluntary, unpaid role for people who have the energy and skills to make a real contribution to shaping the future of our schools. You do not need to have any specialist knowledge of education.



Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit programme which recruits senior business leaders and professionals as volunteer non-executive directors onto the boards of multi-academy trusts. If you are interested in applying for the role please send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for to academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.org. Please note: candidates should live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust and/or have a link with the region. For more information, please call 0207 952 8556 or visit www.academyambassadors.org.


Key dates

We strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered as we may change the closing date if we have received sufficient applications. Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process –


Deadline for applications: 28th May 2019


Personal Support Unit (Social Justice Charity) seeks to appoint new members to its fundraising board

The PSU is a social justice charity dedicated to supporting people facing the court process without a lawyer. We are looking for senior level individuals to join our Board to raise funds and support with existing strategy.

The London Volunteer Fundraising Board (LVFB) supports the PSU by:

  • Engaging corporate support – through individual’s company or personal network
  • Gift in kind support – offer rooms for meetings and events, or offer marketing expertise
  • Introducing speakers for events
  • Selling tickets to events
  • Promoting the PSU to personal and professional networks, to engage supporters and sponsors

The LVFB’s members are senior level individuals with a drive to increase access to justice by empowering people to navigate the complexities of court, often in very stressful life circumstances.

Past LVFB events:

  • 2017: Breakfast lecture with Lord Neuberger, during his final months as President of the Supreme Court in partnership with BBC Parliament and The Law Society.
  • 2018: Breakfast discussion on the introduction of the Online Courts in partnership with Microsoft and The Law Society.
  • 2019: Breakfast panel about ‘How Legal technology can  help improve access to justice’

As a Board Member, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Make a positive impact on your community, empower people alone in court
  • Be part of a successful volunteer fundraising board and help take their fundraising to the next level
  • Acquire further skills in fundraising, leadership and volunteering
  • Become part of the PSU family, with receive regular updates from PSU, visits to your local Unit and invitations to events

The PSU will:

  • Provide a key contact for Board Members. This will be the Corporate Partnerships Manager
  • Create a unique plan for all Board Members. Developed upon request, the plan will be based on your personal preferences and will outline any planned fundraising opportunities or training and support you may require
  • Promote, upon request, the contribution you make as a Board member through publicity opportunities (such as our website and social media)
  • Ensure that all funds raised are directed to the specified services for the maximum benefit of PSU’s clients


We are looking for individuals with a passion for social justice and experience in fundraising..

We are looking for the following skills and attributes:

  1. Influential within your sector, industry or profession
  2. The ability to act as a strong and positive ambassador for the PSU
  3. Attendance at regular meetings and events
  4. A commitment to working with the PSU and the London Volunteer Board Fundraiser, to create a strong and successful fundraising board in London
  5. Ability to assist with marketing material and press releases, and to liaise with local press and/ or provide a quote for press releases when necessary
  6. Ability to contribute to fundraising strategy

Based in London at the Royal Courts of Justice, Central Family Court, Central London County Court and Wandsworth County Court and Family Court, the Personal Support Unit enables people to take control of their case to gain better access to justice. We provide practical assistance and emotional support for free, at any stage of the civil and family court process.

It is a challenge for us to enlist financial support due to low awareness of the inequalities that many ordinary people have to face in the civil and family justice system.  We are grateful to the support we have so far received but without extra local support, our work cannot continue to grow.

The PSU London Volunteer Fundraising Board will be responsible for raising funds and awareness for our services in London. By lending your support, we can continue our service and reach even more people who have to face the civil and family courts alone.

Opportunities and benefits from joining our Volunteer Fundraising Board

Becoming a member of your local PSU Board will bring a variety of different rewards and opportunities for you to enjoy, such as:

  • Having a positive effect in your community and helping support people who have to face court alone
  • Having the opportunity to network with professionals from different sectors and backgrounds
  • Acquiring further skills in fundraising, networking, leadership and volunteering
  • Regular updates from PSU management, visits to your local Unit and invitations to PSU events

Please click here for further information and application details.

Ballet Black is looking for New Board Members – legal expertise sought

Ballet Black (www.balletblack.co.uk) is looking for up to three new trustees to join our board and help us to achieve our vision. We particularly welcome applications from people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and are looking for individuals with experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Fundraising
  • Legal
  • Strategic leadership and management in public or commercial sector organisation
  • Media and communications or PR

You will bring demonstrable professional experience in your area of specialism, along with the willingness to be an ambassador for the company and support fundraising initiatives. A passion for the arts and for diversity is essential.  Previous board level experience would be desirable.

This role is voluntary with a commitment to attend four board meetings a year, an annual away day, performances and events.  Appointments are for an initial term of three years with the option of an additional three years.

If you are interested in applying, please download the application pack from https://bit.ly/2PcDqDF

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter by email to operations@balletblack.co.uk with the subject line Board Vacancy by 4th June 2019.

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is seeking new Trustee with legal expertise

Winchester Science Centre (WSC) is an independent educational charity dedicated to sparking curiosity and building science capital for all, governed by a Board of up to 12 trustees. We are currently seeking an enthusiastic and committed individual with a legal background to join the Board and help steer the charity through a pivotal and exciting period of change.

With two floors of hands-on interactive exhibits, the UK’s largest standalone planetarium and a wide-ranging events programme, the charity is a regional leader in science communication. We welcome over 185,000 visitors to the Science Centre annually, including over 40,000 school children, and engage with more than 30,000 people through school and community outreach activities. The centre has long been a proponent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) giving young people the opportunity to interact with these subjects in a creative and entertaining way. To that end the Centre is home to the STEM NOW team who run the South Central STEM Ambassador Hub on behalf of STEM Learning UK, coordinating more than 4,000 volunteers. Furthermore, as part of long-term strategic direction to engage with new and underserved audiences, our reach extends outside the Science Centre through an exciting events programme and successful partnerships with universities and industry.

The Centre enjoys a stunning rural location within the South Downs National Park, with excellent road links from London and across the South of England.

It is an exciting time for WSC as we begin a £1.1m transformation to create a more inclusive and accessible experience for our visitors. A grant of £500,000 from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is funding the first major milestone in the project – a full upgrade to the planetarium in June 2019, and the installation of a registered Changing Places facility a few months later. A second stage of the development, supported by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council, will be the reimagining of the Science Centre’s upper exhibition floor in spring 2020.

At such a pivotal time for the charity, and to achieve such huge ambitions, we are looking for an enthusiastic and committed individual with a legal background to join our Board.

If you would like to join us on our vision to Spark Curiosity; would like to be involved in a dynamic, innovative charity and would be committed to our objectives and seeing the charity succeed, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Person specification

  • The ideal candidate for this role will have a legal background – experience of charity law is desirable but not essential.
  • In line with our ambitions to become a beacon for accessibility in STEM engagement, the ideal candidate will have a genuine interest in disability and diversity and be motivated to support all aspects of our work.
  • All trustees are expected to be able to make a contribution towards securing a sustainable funding base for the organisation so some experience, or an interest in fundraising is desirable.
  • An understanding of the voluntary sector and previous experience as a charity trustee are both desirable but not essential.
  • Enthusiasm towards engaging and inspirational STEM education is desirable, but a background in one of these areas is not essential.
  • As a trustee you will be part of an innovative organisation, therefore we will be looking for individuals with an ability to think creatively.
  • Ability to both constructively challenge and support the leadership team.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, with a strategic vision and a commitment to the organisation.

Trustee Responsibilities

  • WSC is governed by a Board of up to 12 trustees who hold collective responsibility for the charity’s strategic direction and governance. The position on the Board is voluntary with a minimum commitment of four meetings per year. Once elected, Trustees can serve a maximum of 3 terms of 3 years.
  • Currently, Board meetings take place once per quarter, usually in January, April, July and November from 9.30am-1pm. Additionally we hold an annual strategy day and staff/trustee conference.
  • We hope that trustees will participate in fundraising, promote our work and sit on at least one Committee relevant to their skillset (e.g. Audit, Remuneration, Fundraising etc.). Committees generally meet 2-4 times per year. Additional time for reviewing papers prior to each meeting should also be factored in.
  • The Board of Trustees comprises: the Chair, the Deputy Chair, and includes individuals from all walks of life including both business and academia, providing a range of perspectives. More information about current Trustees is available on our website
  • Potential Trustees may find it useful to look at the guidance on Trustees from the Charity Commission: “The Essential Trustee: What you need to know CC3”


Candidates, who need not have a science and technology background, nor specific experience as a Trustee, can find a full role profile and details on how to apply at the following link: www.winchestersciencecentre.org/vacancies 


Role Description and Person Specification

Portswood Primary Academy Trust (Southampton) seeks new Non-Executive Directors – legal skills welcomed

Portswood Primary Academy Trust (the Trust) in Southampton seeks two enthusiastic and committed non-executive directors with either finance or legal expertise to join the board.  Board meetings are held at Portswood Primary School, Southampton.


About the trust

Established in September 2012, Portswood Primary Academy Trust (PPAT) currently comprises three primary schools, one of which is a Teaching School.  It also has very close links with a partner primary school. The Trust has a proven track record of supporting schools in Southampton and Portsmouth with Specialist Leaders of Education, Lead Practitioners, Subject Lead Experts and a nationally recognised coaching programme.

The overarching aim of the Trust is to ensure that all pupils have good or better learning in every single lesson and in order to achieve this it has a culture of working together to ensure that accountability belongs to all, for all. Trust leaders aim to grow the Trust successfully and in a sustainable way ensuring that they strive for quality, not quantity, with opportunities for all to develop their skills within a culture of coaching and with a passion for learning. Leaders have a strong moral purpose of ensuring that school improvement is realised for the benefit of all children on roll.

Approximately 50% of the pupils in the Trust’s schools in Southampton, including the partner school, have English as an Additional Language (EAL), which is significantly higher than the Southampton and England averages (30.6% and 21.2% respectively).  Whilst the Trust welcomes this diversity it does also present additional challenges.  The number of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) at approximately 15% is consistent with the average for Southampton (16%) and above that for England (11.7%).  One of the Trust’s Southampton schools and the partner school receive significant pupil premium funding due to 28% of their pupils being eligible.  This is significantly greater than the average for Southampton (18.6%) and England (14.2%).

The Trust recently decided, in concert with the Regional Schools Commissioner, that its junior school in Portsmouth should be transferred to another trust. This was deemed to be in the best interests of those children in order that a trust with more proximate schools can drive improvement in outcomes.

PPAT is in discussion to bring another primary school into the Trust and, whilst growth is the main priority, there is also a strong interest in exploring how the Trust might utilise its considerable experience in supporting other schools.


Plans for the future

The key challenges for the board over the next 12-24 months are:

  1. Growth: PPAT is keen to grow as it will generate benefits for the Trust as well as any schools wishing to join it. The Trust intends to be seven to eight schools within three years.
  2. Leadership: the board will focus on determining the appropriate future leadership for the Trust, acknowledging that growth is a key factor in what will be necessary and possible.
  3. Standards: it will be important to maintain the high standards in terms of quality of teaching and outcomes.


Trust ethos & values

PPAT’s vision is “Good or better learning for every child for every lesson”. Trust leaders are constantly reflective and believe that children deserve the best teachers that they can provide through staff coaching and development. http://www.portswoodtrust.org.uk/about-us/mission-value-vision/


Role summary

Number of positions advertised: 2

Trustee/Non-Executive Directors

Trustees, or non-executive directors, are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.

Role 1 & 2 – Person specification

The competencies required for this role include:

Essential (either)

–        CFO/Finance

–        Growth Management

–        Legal/Compliance



The Trust welcome applicants with a passion for education who can employ a strategic mindset when engaging with the issues and challenges that the board will face. The personal characteristics and ‘fit’ are more important than the professional background of the individuals but candidates with senior experience in the financial or legal sector would be particularly welcomed. A willingness to engage and challenge is key.


Time commitment

6 hours /month minimum. 6 board meetings a year.


Location of board meetings and trust website

Board meetings are held at Portswood Primary School, Somerset Road, Southampton, SO17 3AA.

Please see http://www.portswoodtrust.org.uk/


Governance structure

Please see http://www.portswoodtrust.org.uk/about-us/governance/


Background on academy trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 74% of secondary schools and 31% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.


Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts (MATs). There are currently 832 multi academy trusts of 3+ schools. If the schools are to fulfil their potential, the trusts need non-executives (known in charity law as trustees) to bring a wide range of skills and experience to help guide strategy, ensure their ambitions can be soundly financed and keep their schools up to the mark delivering for their pupils.

“Academy boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focused on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.”
Source: Governance Handbook, Department for Education (2017)

Trusteeship is a voluntary, unpaid role for people who have the energy and skills to make a real contribution to shaping the future of our schools. You do not need to have any specialist knowledge of education.



Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit programme which recruits senior business leaders and professionals as volunteer non-executive directors onto the boards of multi-academy trusts. If you are interested in applying for the role please send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for to academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.org. Please note: candidates should live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust and/or have a link with the region. For more information, please call 0207 952 8556 or visit www.academyambassadors.org.


Key dates

We strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered as we may change the closing date if we have received sufficient applications. Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process –


Deadline for applications: Friday 24th May 2019

Compass Learning Partnership (2 special schools in Brent) seeks new Trustees – legal skills welcomed

Compass Learning Partnership is a two school academy trust in Brent. The trust seeks two non-executive directors with experience in either HR or Finance, as well as a Member to strengthen its Board. The trust motto is ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Board meetings rotate between the two schools in northwest London.


About the Trust

The Compass Learning Partnership developed following partnership working and joint education philosophy between two large special schools in Kingsbury within the London Borough of Brent: The Village School and Woodfield School. The two schools cater for children and young people who have a wide range of complex needs and disabilities across all ages. The Compass Learning Partnership is a multi-academy trust (MAT) implemented on 1st March 2019.

Woodfield School caters for 175 pupils between the ages of 11 and 19 years, who have complex learning and communication needs and social and mental health needs, including those on the autistic spectrum. The Village School caters for 298 pupils between the ages of 3 and 19 years who have all aspects of complex needs and disabilities: profound, severe and moderate learning difficulties, autism, sensory impairment, medical, life limiting conditions and physical disabilities. Both schools were judged to be Outstanding at their last Ofsted inspections.

The trust has a commitment to providing the very best CPD for staff in order that pupils’ needs are met and that all pupils make excellent progress and achieve the best possible outcomes. The trust is also working hard to influence local and wider communities to be more inclusive when considering young people for opportunities post-19.

Both schools are interested in further expansion to meet the demand for places for children and young people who have complex needs and disabilities. Woodfield is likely to admit a further 16 pupils in September 2019 as part of a temporary solution.

Plans for the Future

The key challenges for the board will be:

  1. Growth: The trust is hoping to grow sustainably to five schools in the next 5 years, with one school likely to join in the next academic year.
  2. Financial sustainability: With growing funding pressures, maintaining the quality of provision is paramount.
  3. Greater outcomes for pupils: Continue to secure and increase aspirational destinations/outcomes for young people with severely complex needs and disabilities, with a particular focus on improving post-19 provision.
  4. Succession planning: To succession plan for the replacement of the CEO.

Another key focus of the Trust Board over the next 12-24 months will be establishing and developing the multi academy trust (MAT) successfully, including managing (and harmonising where appropriate) policies, systems and processes. This particularly includes establishing consistent approaches to business services.

Trust Ethos & Values

High quality provision of opportunities and outcomes for all young people, and holistic support for their families. Collaboration with staff to improve the opportunities and outcomes for young people.


Role Summary

Number of Positions Advertised: 3

Role 1 – Member

A member is able to alter the trust’s Articles of Association and appoint (or remove) trustees/directors where necessary. They provide independent oversight to the work of the board of trustees in order to ensure suitable accountability for its decision making and strategy. At Compass Learning Partnership the members are expected to be signatories for the academy trust, to attend one meeting per year, and to add to the already broad skillset within the existing team of members.

Person specification

There is an expectation from the DfE that Members should have skills in corporate governance, finance, legal, HR and education to enable holding the trustees to account.

The competencies required for this role include:


–        Legal/Compliance



–        Risk

–        CFO/Finance


Time commitment

0.5 hours per month minimum.


Roles 2-3 – Trustee/Non-Executive Director

Trustees – or non-executive directors – are both charity trustees and company directors of the academy trust; the role is to hold to account the executive and senior leadership team. The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the trust. The trustees ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law.


Person specification

The successful applicant will be committed and enthusiastic, challenging and supportive and will have a genuine interest in supporting children and young people with special needs and their families. A sound knowledge and understanding of the voluntary and charity sector is desirable.


The competencies required for this role include:


Essential (due to multiple roles, candidates may be accepted who possess one or more of the skills below)

–        CFO/ Finance

–        HR

–        Change Management

–        Growth Management

–        Legal/Compliance

–        Risk



–        Branding/Marketing

–        Public ~Relations/Communications

–        Understanding of special educational needs and disability

–        Voluntary and charity sector knowledge

–        Audit Committee


CFO/Finance: The trust seeks candidates with financial expertise to help support and challenge the CFO. The successful ‘finance’ candidate will have a strong financial background, preferably a formally qualified accountant with experience of financial modelling, audit processes and an understanding of corporate governance. They will be entrepreneurial by nature supporting the trust executive team to seek additional funding through bids etc. This role will require between 6-12 hours a month commitment.

HR: Ideal candidates will have board level experience in strategic HR, a rigorous understanding of employment law and the processes of succession planning. They will have a successful track record of managing growth and change, a willingness to devote time and the ability to challenge, evaluate and interpret information. They will also assist the executive in developing a staff development and retention strategy that nurtures talent and supports the objectives of Compass Learning Partnership, putting staff health and wellbeing at the centre of the trust’s approach. As experienced business leaders and strategic planners, successful applicants will have the ability and determination to adapt and transfer their experience to an educational setting.


Time Commitment

6 hours per month minimum.


Location of Board Meetings and Trust Website

Meetings are held between Woodfield School, Glenwood Avenue, London, NW9 7LY and The Village School, Grove Park, London, NW9 0JY.

Board meetings are held on Wednesdays at 7pm. Two meetings a year are held during the day.

Please see www.tvs.brent.sch.uk and www.woodfield.brent.sch.uk (there is not yet a MAT website)


Governance Structure

Please see individual school websites until a MAT website is created.


Background on Academy Trusts

Academy schools, which are charities run independently of local authority control, now account for 73% of secondary schools and 29% of primaries – and their number is growing all the time.

Many of these schools are grouped together as multi-academy trusts (MATs). There are currently 760 multi academy trusts of 3+ schools.  If the schools are to fulfil their potential, the trusts need non-executives (known in charity law as trustees) to bring a wide range of skills and experience to help guide strategy, ensure their ambitions can be soundly financed and keep their schools up to the mark delivering for their pupils.

“Academy boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focused on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.”
Source: Governance Handbook, Department for Education (2017)

Trusteeship is a voluntary, unpaid role for people who have the energy and skills to make a real contribution to shaping the future of our schools.  You do not need to have any specialist knowledge of education.



Academy Ambassadors is a non-profit programme which recruits senior business leaders and professionals as volunteer non-executive directors onto the boards of multi-academy trusts. If you are interested in applying for the role please send your CV and a short expression of interest detailing which role you are applying for to academyambassadors@newschoolsnetwork.org. Please note: candidates should live within reasonable travelling distance of the trust and/or have a link with the region. For more information, please call 0207 952 8556 or visit www.academyambassadors.org.


Key Dates

We strongly recommend applying as early as you can to have the best possible chance of being considered as we may change the closing date if we have received sufficient applications. Applicants should be aware of the following key dates in the recruitment process –


Deadline for applications: 22nd May 2019

RSPCA Croydon/Crystal Palace is seeking new Trustee with legal skills

This is an exciting opportunity to become involved with the RSPCA Croydon, Crystal Palace & District Branch helping to achieve our purpose of promoting kindness and preventing cruelty to animals.

We are looking for enthusiastic and reliable people to actively volunteer for the Branch as trustees, ensuring that the Branch is governed and managed effectively, whilst continually having animal welfare at the forefront of their mind.

Trustees serve on the governing body of the charity and have the responsibility of the running of the Branch. They are also able to influence how the Branch carries out animal welfare in the area, and manage projects and activities of the Branch.

The trustees meet for an evening once a month to talk about current issues and how to raise funds for the Branch to help local animals in need.

Further information on the role of a trustee can be found on the Charity Commission website.

We are looking for people from all social and cultural backgrounds, all ages (over 18) and with a variety of experiences and skills to draw on, whether these have been formed through life or work situations.

These skills include the traditional type; management, legal, fundraising and financial, to help ensure we have a sound and robust business model and long term strategic development plan.  However, we are also looking for people who are creative, innovative, who have experience of, or are part of the groups and communities we want to attract, who can bring new ideas, different experiences and fresh perspectives to the Board and to help put those ideas into action.

Branch Trustees need to be committed to the RSPCA’s charitable objectives, so having a passion for animals is very helpful too.

As a minimum, trustees would normally be expected to attend a monthly committee meeting lasting some 2 to 3 hours. However, the commitment may vary dependent on whether or not the trustee takes on additional duties such as the role of chairman, treasurer or secretary.


For further information and application details, please click here.

The Woodworks Project seeks new Trustees – legal skills sought

We are looking for enthusiastic, hands-on trustees to join our team of 3 trustees to guide The Woodworks Project through the next stage of its journey towards sustainability and supporting more vulnerable people over the next 3 years.

The Woodworks Project was set up to help those who have faced difficulties through their mental or physical health or who have a history of addiction. By working collaboratively with the highly trained craftsmen, The Woodworks Project helps its clients to empower themselves, enabling vulnerable individuals to move forward in their lives in a friendly, relaxed and supportive environment.

By joining the Trustee Board, you will be supporting the Woodworks Project in implementing its 3-year Business Plan, as well as providing strategic guidance and advice to the senior staff. The 3-year Business Plan was signed off at the end of last year, and serves as The Woodworks Project’s key milestones towards achieving financial sustainability, growth to support more vulnerable people as well as organisational maturity. The Business Plan is pivotal in the success of The Woodworks Project, and the trustees are instrumental in helping the charity to achieve its objectives.

The trustees’ duties include:

  • offer advice and guidance to the senior staff;
  • ensure the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit;
  • comply with the charity’s governing document and the law;
  • act in the charity’s best interests; with your co-trustees, make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term;
  • manage the charity’s resources responsibly;
  • must use reasonable care and skill, making use of your skills and experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary;
  • should give enough time, thought and energy to your role, for example by preparing for, attending and actively participating in all trustees’ meetings; and
  • ensure the charity is accountable.

The Woodworks Project is in particular need of individuals with HR, marketing or legal backgrounds to provide guidance and expertise in relation to a number of work streams underway to implement the Business Plan, including, but not limited to, improved social media presence, roll-out of an online shop, research and development of new income streams and development of a permanent workshop location.

The commitment is 6 bi-monthly trustee meetings per year, lasting roughly 2 hours each. Additional ad-hoc support may be required depending on organisational need.


We are seeking enthusiastic, committed and experienced trustees, particularly with HR, marketing or legal backgrounds. The right candidate will be an excellent communicator, organised and prepared to be hands-on with the organisation.

The right candidate will be someone who will enjoy the flat-hierarchy and the challenges of creating a new type of organisation, working collaboratively with the staff and founders to develop and implement the organisation’s next three year plan.

Trustees should ideally have a common sense approach, understanding the limitations of a small organisation whilst cultivating an ambitious but realistic strategy. A local knowledge and network with businesses and/or charities within Bath would also be greatly desirable.

Preferably, but not a necessity, candidates will have an interest in traditional trade-skills, especially upholstery or cabinet making.

For further information and application details, please click here.

Justice (victim/perpetrator support charity) seeks new Trustees – legal skills sought

Could you help change lives and reduce the harm caused by crime?

Belong specialises in enabling hope, rehabilitation and recovery amongst those who have been victims or perpetrators of offences. Our services include mentoring, art therapy and restorative justice interventions. We work with children, young people and adults in custodial and community settings.

We are looking for committed people with senior level experience in criminal justice, charity management and/or financial management to join our specialist team as trustees.

Trustees duties include:

– Maintaining the vision, mission and values and long term strategy of Belong.

– Effectively managing and developing Belong’s resources and funding.

– Overseeing Belong’s service delivery, in conjunction with Belong’s management staff

– Enhancing and protecting Belong’s reputation.

We are particularly looking for people who have skills and knowledge in one or more of the following areas to join our trustee board:

  • Restorative justice
  • Art therapy
  • Prison and Probation management
  • Law
  • Human Resources
  • Financial management
  • Fundraising
  • PR and marketing

Trustees will need to be able to commit approximately 7 hours per month to their role. Our trustee board meets bi-monthly in central London.

Apply now to join the Belong team and help us reduce crime and the harm it causes!


Please click here for further information and application details.

Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East seeks new Trustees – legal expertise welcomed

The Board is the executive body of Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East holding responsibility for the good governance of the charity. Trustees/ directors have a shared duty to ensure that the charity has clear direction and purpose, that resources are effectively used, that the charity is well managed, operates within the law, its finances and budget to fulfil its declared objects.

Note: Trustee roles are honorary and unpaid. Please refer to the memorandum & articles for clarification.



  • Ensure that Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East complies with charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation.
  • Ensure that all regulations relating to the delivery of services including the CQC are complied with by receipt and review of quality monitoring reports.
  • Ensure that Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East pursues its charitable objects as defined in the Memorandum and Articles of Association, and that resources are applied exclusively in
    pursuance of the charity’s objects.
  • Contribute actively to the Board’s role in giving clear strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy.
  • Ensure through the terms of reference granted to the Finance Committee, the charity’s financial stability and continuing solvency and participate in financial decision-making regarding the assets of the charity.
  • Under direction of the Chair, be prepared to take part in the appointment of the Chief Executive, in the appraisal of his/her performance.
  • Ensure Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East is managed effectively and efficiently both in its employment practices and in the area of service delivery.
  • Contribute specific knowledge, skills or experience to help the Board reach sound decisions, by regular attendance at committee and appropriate sub-committees.
  • Participate in reviews of the Board and trustee appraisals to ensure it has relevant composition and skills.



  • Commitment to Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East and its objects.
  • Safeguard the good name and ethos of the charity and comply with the Code of Conduct and all relevant policies relating to good governance.
  • Willingness to contribute constructively to debates and discussions.
  • Attend committee meetings, sub-committees where agreed and the AGM.
  • Honesty, integrity, impartiality and good judgment.
  • Understanding of the client group and their needs



Expertise in one or more of the following:

  • Finance
  • Law
  • Property
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing / PR
  • Consumer and Advocacy
  • Social / Care
  • Strategic and Management



  • Board Meetings at intervals of 3 months or as otherwise determined
  • Attend AGM and EGM’s
  • Preparedness to act on sub committees.
  • Attendance at social events/launches etc.
  • Preparedness to make service visits as part of induction or quality monitoring processes.


About Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East

Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East is a local independent charity focussed on improving the lives of elderly people in the local community. We provide a range of vital services in Slough and the surrounding areas including Befriending, Lunch Clubs and Opportunity Centres, Information and Advice, Exercise Classes, Carers Support and Care at Home.

Every day our staff and volunteers help to reduce loneliness and isolation, and encourage engagement in the community and healthy lifestyles. We champion the rights and needs of older people, and do everything we can to improve lives.

The support of Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East means that many people do not need more intensive and expensive forms of care such as a place in a Care Home. We help people stay in the home they love.

Please click here for further information and application details.

Age Concern website

Romney Marsh Day Centre is seeking 2 Trustees

Romney Marsh Day Centre are seeking 2 Trustees as a major part of our Strategic Plan of Development for services to older people on the Romney Marsh. Applicants are sought from any type of business or organisation where experience can be passed on to help us with our aims, and the minimum age is 18 but there is no maximum age. Previous experience at Board level is preferred but is not as essential as a passion to support older people in our community. Training in how to fulfil the role is provided.

RMDC has been in New Romney for some 30 years, and is based in Sunflower House. We have a purpose-built building in the Centre of New Romney and we offer a Day centre and local community meals on wheels, in addition to other support and care services. The building also is the home of other outside services for older people and also an NHS hub for local GP’s, and other NHS consultants.

To plan for future requirements of older people and to secure funds for these plans, we seek to replace long serving retired Trustees for 2019. With new Volunteer Trustees to bring business experience to the Board, we can expedite our plans sooner rather than later. There are 4 Board Meetings in a year and some preparation and reading is required. If you are able to help with special tasks as they arise in between meetings, that would be appreciated. Currently meetings are held to fit in the free time of all Trustees and are late afternoon or evenings.


Please click here for application details.

AGE UK Sevenoaks and Tonbridge seeks new Trustees

We are looking for charity trustees to serve on our governing body

You need to have personal skills or experience to ensure that Age UK Sevenoaks and Tonbridge is delivering its charitable outcomes. You need to make sure we are solvent, well-run and efficient.

The trustee role can be very rewarding and enjoyable offering an opportunity to serve the community whilst learning new skills

Please contact Gillian Shepherd-Coates on 01732 454108 for further details or email here.


AGE UK website

Southwark Children’s Centres seek Chair of Strategic Development Board

Children’s centres improve outcomes for young children and their families and reduce inequalities, particularly for those families in greatest need of support.

We are looking for an experienced and skilled Chair for the Camberwell & Dulwich locality and the Peckhamm, Nunhead & Peckham Rye locality boards’ and any relevant cross-boundary work. The Chair will help to ensure that Children’s Centres based in these localities continue to achieve the targets and objectives required. This role will help us to continue giving local parents and children the greatest chances in life. If you feel you could share our passion, embrace our values and help to lead us through an exciting stage of growth and development, we would love to hear from you.

The purpose of the Strategic Development Board

The purpose of the Strategic Development Board is to provide strong and supportive strategic guidance to the children’s centres within the locality. The effectiveness of the board is reliant on meaningful multi-agency and parent partnerships that embed a cross sector approach to service design. This will result in planning and delivery of consistent, co-ordinated services and interventions across the borough.

The board will help develop a strategic vision, set ambitious targets, as well as plan for effective multi-agency resource allocation. The board will have a monitoring and scrutiny function and will focus on ensuring high quality and continuing progress.

There is a Strategic Development Board (SDB) to cover the four localities in Southwark, which are;

  • Camberwell and Dulwich locality (currently seeking a Chair)
  • Peckham and Nunhead & Peckham Rye locality (currently seeking a Chair)
  • Bermondsey and Rotherhithe locality
  • Borough & Bankside and Walworth locality

How it works

  • Each Board is subject to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Funding Recipient; that outlines roles, responsibilities and any delegated functions.
  • The Board has a Terms of Reference in place and provides appropriate support/training to members.
  • The SDB has responsibility for delivering agreed regular reports to the Board of the Funding Recipient to ensure they are fully informed of all aspects of performance as well as any safeguarding issues.

Person specification

  • A knowledge of and commitment to the work of the Children’s Centres based in the locality
  • Experience of multi-agency working
  • Previous Chair experience
  • Good meeting and presentation skills
  • Supportive and confident leadership style
  • Understanding of the voluntary sector, governance of a charity and charity law.
  • Ability to be strategic
  • Excellent communicator with the ability to consult effectively with trustees, volunteers, staff, delivery partners and service users.
  • Ability and willingness to devote time and effort to the organisation.

Time commitment

The board meets 3/4 times a year. In addition to board meetings you will also need to attend a Strategic Development Overview Board (partnership board) which meets 2-3 times a year.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Anita Hoffmann – Creating a Second Career

Anita is passionate about helping others lead fulfilling and productive lives, long after their first career has ended.  She does this through her senior executive and board search and coaching business, Executiva Ltd, her research on longevity for Cranfield University and her writings.  Her book ‘Purpose & Impact: How Executives are Creating Meaningful Second Careers’, was published in April 2018.

Anita is an inspiring and engaging speaker who will help members realise how they can use their experience and positions to help solve societal issues and create meaningful work through their potentially 60 year-long working lives.  We would strongly encourage you to join us.

Sandrine Roseberg from Heidrick & Struggles – The Headhunter’s Perspective

Starting as a lawyer, Sandrine Roseberg moved into search consulting nearly 20 years ago.  Sandrine is now a partner in Heidrick & Struggles London office, leading their CEO and Board Practice, having led JCA’s Board Practice for more than six years before their merger with Heidrick & Struggles in 2016.

Well able to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of lawyers when looking for board roles, Sandrine will take members through her typical search process and how lawyers can help themselves along the way.


School Aid seeks new Chair

School Aid is a UK and South Africa registered charity whose purpose is to enhance education and promote literacy among African children. This is done by collecting and distributing educational resources from the UK to under-resourced schools in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, creating sustainable school libraries and delivering literacy initiatives.

The UK Chairman works closely with the UK Board of Trustees and a small management team, headed by School Aid’s UK Chief Executive, as well as liaising with the Chairperson of School Aid South Africa.


Job Description and Person Specification

The Chairman will hold the Board and Chief Executive team to account for the Charity’s mission and vision; providing inclusive leadership to the Board of Trustees, ensuring that each trustee fulfils their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the charity to achieve agreed objectives.

Principal responsibilities

  • Provide leadership to the Charity and its Board, ensuring that the Charity has maximum impact for its beneficiaries.
  • Ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the Charity.
  • Ensure that the Board operates within its charitable objectives, and provides a clear strategic direction for the Charity.
  • Ensure that the Board is able to regularly review major risks and associated opportunities, and satisfy itself that systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities, and manage and mitigate the risks.
  • Ensure that the Board fulfils its duties to ensure sound financial health of the Charity, with systems in place to ensure financial accountability.
  • To be responsible for the performance of all aspects of governance, ensuring the clarity of roles and structures, and the effectiveness of all processes of governance.
  • To line manage the Chief Executive and ensuring the implementation of School Aid’s strategy, plans and board decisions, and to deliver high quality governance of the organisation.
  • To make sure the board as a whole works in partnership with staff, and where appropriate offering specific expertise to  support staff management activities.
  • To plan for succession among the board and for its chairman.

Main Accountabilities

  1. Ensure School Aid is compliant with its governing document; legal and charity requirements and regulations; and that the organisation monitors and addresses all major risks
  2. Oversee the development of School Aid’s strategic direction with fellow Trustees
  3. Safeguard the charity, its reputation, efficient operation and financial stability, working closely with Trustees and staff
  4. Oversee the development and implementation of School Aid’s policies
  5. Set the annual cycle of board meetings and set the meeting agenda
  6. Chair board meetings, confirm draft minutes for distribution and ensuring full discussion with contribution from all Trustees and monitor that decisions taken at the meetings are implemented
  7. Line manage School Aid’s Chief Executive, liaising with and supporting her/him to deliver School Aid’s objectives and to meet our targets,
  8. Take a leading role in the induction of new trustees and ensure that the Board of Trustees  is regularly refreshed and incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed to govern and lead the charity effectively
  9. Maintain a dialogue and exchange of information with the Chairperson of School Aid  South Africa in order to effectively deliver our joint mission and to promote initiatives that  strengthen our relationship and enhance our collaboration
  10. Participate with School Aid’s Chief Executive in staff appraisals/performance to ensure School Aid staff are managed in line with best practice.
  11. Represent School Aid as appropriate to the Chairman’s role. Act as an ambassador for  the charity, as a spokesperson for the organisation when appropriate and represent the charity at external functions, meetings and events

Core competences

  1. A  commitment to School Aid and its mission.
  2. Strong strategic planning skills, able to develop vision and encourage others to contribute.
  3. Strong communication and interpersonal skills, able to liaise effectively with a wide range of stakeholders and audiences.
  4. Independent judgement.
  5. An ability to think creatively.
  6. An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  7. An ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
  8. Acceptance of Nolan’s principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Personal attributes

  • strong leadership skills
  • tact and diplomacy
  • impartiality and the ability to respect confidences
  • commitment to equality and diversity


For further information, please click here.

School Aid website

Centre for Osteopathic Research and Excellence seeks new Trustee with experience in policies, processes and governance

We are a new start-up charity aimed at providing affordable osteopathic healthcare to everybody irrespective of income. We also research non-pharmaceutical treatment for chronic pain whilst providing a mentoring service for new graduate osteopaths.

We are looking for a trustee with experience in policies, processes and governance to help ensure we are performing at the best of our abilities.

Our board is made up of three trustees with experience in finance, marketing and corporate healthcare. If you would like to join our dynamic team and help drive a burgeoning charity forward then get in touch.

Visit www.coreclapton.org for a look at our flagship centre in the heart of East London.


Please click here for further details.

Georgina Harvey & Matt Higgins: Exploring Remuneration Committees

BCKR was pleased to welcome Georgina Harvey and Matt Higgins recently, who shared with us their experience of Remuneration Committees.

Matt and Georgina are seeing a lot of each other at the moment as they are in the midst of a couple of weeks when all their RemCo work comes together. The flow of the Committee work is definitely not as it used to be.  It is much more time consuming and involved.  Long consultations with shareholders, explanatory letters, ten-page summaries at the end, 20+ meetings with shareholders in between, 20-30 pages on remuneration for the annual report, plus the need to look forward and backwards on all senior remuneration, for both the exec directors and the rest of the senior team, as well as keeping abreast of where the remainder of the works force sits.  This is the most challenging couple of weeks in the cycle.

Matt and Georgina took the members through their helpful slides, which can be found here.  The remainder of these notes do not cover the full presentation but focus on the extra bits of engaging narrative they provided.


A successful committee

More than for any other committee, relationships are key on RemCo. You can’t set rem in a bubble.  You need lots of engagement with management, but the relationship has to stay very professional to make it easier to deliver news they do not want to hear.  Big Yellow was unusual in having to drag the management to being paid well enough.  Normally it is very much the other way around. Much will have been heard and discussed outside the committee room.

Ensuring you have a mix of backgrounds on the committee is important – sector experience, audit chair, HR experience (but you need to understand the bias of all involved – including the HR team).


Who does a Rem Consultant advise?

Management, the RemCo, the HR rewards team? The reporting line should be to the RemCo Chair but there is a need for the consultant to understand the management perspective too. An advisor shouldn’t meet with the executive team without running it by the Chair first.

An adviser might have a good perspective on shareholder sentiment.  Their input can be very helpful in developing new approaches to e.g.: LTI or bonus structures.  It really helps to have that outside perspective, since the consultant will already know how others are approaching the issues, both corporates and shareholders.

The Chair has to deliver difficult messages and sometimes they are received better when delivered by the adviser not the Chair.


An effective Chair

There are plenty of stakeholders to consider in the rem space.  Careful handling of board, management, shareholders, and shareholder bodies [ISS, IA and PIRC] all of whom require different timings and approaches.

Consultations over changes to rem structure take at least three months.  Georgina’s preference is to approach shareholders with what you’re looking for, from the off, and row back if needed.  Some still choose to go in asking for too much to have ground to ‘give’.

A letter will go out to shareholders a few months ahead of the AGM outlining proposals for imminent changes to the rem policy, rem structure and levels. The letter announces that the company is opening a consultation, detailing when and how the Committee would like to hear from them.  This could be sent to as many as 20-30 different bodies.  The process of seeking shareholders’ views may be through meetings, calls, emails – all are possible, generally at the choice of the shareholder.  Often the shareholders themselves will be opposed to each other’s viewpoint e.g. TSR measures for Rem loved by some, hated by others. (Total shareholder return – Dividends plus capital increase).

The Chair needs to be tough, principled and brave enough to do the right thing.  They need to be prepared to listen and also to compromise, taking on the views of the shareholders.  This is where the preparation outside the boardroom is vital, having papers prepped well in advance of the meeting.

Georgina’s natural approach is to have a consultation, listen to feedback, report back to the RemCo then produce a wrap-up letter which will explain any opposing views and why and what any proposed compromise might be.  All then understand the rationale.

Things to consider include alignment with strategy, risk appetite, absolute levels of pay, the general environment, benchmarks and, even after all that, how strong a level of shareholder support the board requires.  Some companies are content with a simple pass, with 51% of the vote, others seek less friction and require over 80%.


Areas of tension

Rem can feel like a hostile environment, with shareholders and the press against you, with the latter basing their views on truth or misinformation.  This scrutiny can sometimes make it hard for the RemCo to make a decision that is right for the business. You need a mature executive team, which has a long-term approach to keeping shareholders happy.  Sometimes the management are behind the curve in feeling how the market views executive pay generally and therefore their own rewards.

Target setting – Any adjustments to the Rem structure will require a shared understanding from the outset of why changes are being proposed, and how best to achieve the objectives. For instance, it is important to create an LTIP which aligns with shareholder experience – dividend and capital increases will have to sit comfortably against the chief exec’s pay.

It’s getting tougher!



Harvey Higgins Presentation Feb 2019

Citizens Advice Braintree Halstead and Witham is seeking to appoint a new Trustee

Are you interested in social justice and want to help change things for the better?   Could you give a few hours of your time every month to provide direction and leadership to our vital local service.  Would you like to shape the future of local advice services?

Citizens Advice Braintree Halstead and Witham is a charity which helps around 3,000 clients each year providing them with advice relating to their legal, money and other problems.  We aim to work with people  to try and fix the underlying cause of their problems, give them confidence to take action and help them become more knowledgeable about their rights.  We are looking for people from all backgrounds to join our trustee board and help us develop the service we offer.  We have just embarked on an ambitious journey of development to expand our services in new and innovative ways.  We are looking for people with vision, independent judgement and a willingness to give time and commitment to being a trustee.  The board of trustees holds early evening meetings every 6 weeks and occasional day time planning meetings.  Being a trustee will give you the satisfaction of helping to lead and develop a local and influential charity.


For further information, please click here.



WaterHarvest (Winchester) is seeking a new Trustee

WaterHarvest is a small but growing charity focused on water-harvesting in rural India. For over 30 years, we have been helping marginalised people through different community led solutions including providing underground water tanks for families, irrigation systems for farmers and land regeneration programmes.

We are committed to a culture of openness, integrity and professionalism.   We are now looking for trustees to join our board and to help shape our vision for the next 30 years. We aren’t looking for specific experience or skill sets. The most important thing is time, energy and interest in international development.

A trustee would be expected to attend one board meeting and one committee meeting a quarter and also be available at short notice for discussions (via phone if needed). Meetings are held around 10am weekdays in Winchester.


Please click here for application details.

WaterHarvest website

Munro Health (West London complementary health charity) is seeking new Trustees.

Are you able to make a difference to a local West London complementary health charity? We are looking for committed, enthusiastic and pro-active individuals to join our trustee board.   We are a small London based charity that delivers a range of complementary therapies to support the health and well-being of those who would otherwise not be able to afford or access such treatments.  Our beneficiaries are diverse and includes carers, the elderly, homeless and survivors of traumatic events. You will work collaboratively with other trustees and be confident in making decisions that will shape the future direction of the charity.  You will contribute to the existing board with your skills and experience. The nature of being a small charity means that additional ‘hands-on’ support between board meetings and for projects would be welcome.  This is a non-remunerated role but reasonable travel expenses for board meetings will be reimbursed. We welcome applications from people of all ages (over 18) and backgrounds who feel they have the skills and attributes to help strengthen the Board.

About us: Munro Health is a small London based charity.  We deliver a range of complementary therapies to support the health and well-being of those who would otherwise not be able to access such treatments.  These treatments are often often out of reach for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community that could benefit from them the most. Our beneficiaries are diverse and includes carers, the elderly, homeless and survivors of traumatic events. We were founded by Lucille Munro who was awarded an MBE in 2003 for her services to community health.  We are dedicated to continuing her legacy to enrich lives and provide support through complementary therapies.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Munro Health website

Learning Through Horses seeks new Trustee

Learning Through Horses is a North London based charity delivering alternative education and work experience programmes, which, through working with horses, provide an opportunity for disengaged and / or vulnerable young people and adults to develop vital skills required to further their employment and educational success.

Working alongside our charity partner, Strength in Horses which offers equine therapy to similar troubled or vulnerable young people, we offer an alternative to traditional therapy or education settings and find that many clients respond incredibly well to interacting with the horses and having the freedom of being outdoors.

We are looking to expand our Board in general and would welcome applications from anyone interested in joining. In addition to any special areas of expertise you can contribute, the duties of a trustee are to:

• Ensure the organisation complies with its governing document, charitable law and any other relevant legislation or regulations to ensure the organisation pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document and applies resources exclusively in fulfilling its objectives;

• Safeguard the good name and values of the organisation and represent it at functions and meetings as appropriate;

• Be collectively responsible for the actions of the organisation and other trustees, while ensuring the effective and efficient administration of the organisation;

• Ensure the financial stability of the organisation;

• Make sure the organisation is properly insured against all reasonable liabilities;

• Declare any conflict of interest while carrying out the duties of a trustee;

• Use any specific knowledge and experience to help the board reach sound decisions.


Please click here for further information and application details.

Patrick Reihill: Insights from the Whitehall & Industry Group – lawyers and public sector roles

BCKR recently welcomed Patrick Reihill from the Whitehall & Industry Group to share his experiences of public sector role recruitment. A copy of Patrick’s presentation can be found here.


What do law firms get out of their WIG membership?

Most use it for the events WIG put on, to get a better understanding of policies coming through and the inner workings of government and also for their leadership programmes.


What is the normal recruitment process for a public sector role?

WIG will go through a very thorough briefing process with the client and challenge them about the type of individual they are looking for and from that, draw up a brief.

The role will then be advertised for 4-6 weeks and also be brought to the attention of their existing network.  BCKR does review the WIG advertisements in compiling their lists.

Then they will draw up a shortlist.  WIG won’t meet the candidates face to face before the shortlisting stage.  That’s when the more detailed bullet points come in – the value added skills that differentiate between candidates.  It is important at this point for candidates to give as much as possible for the headhunter to hang their hat on. The covering letter is often more elaborative than the CV.

Next is the interview stage.  Fairness is always at the top of the panel’s mind, so the same questions will be asked of all candidates and there is no deviation from the script.  It can appear to be quite a forensic overly formalistic process.  There will not be an opportunity for supplementary questions.  It is important to have an understanding of how government and Whitehall operates.  Make sure you keep your answers short.  Overwhelm yourself with examples of how you fit the job competencies detailed in the job description.


What due diligence?

  • How does the minister/permanent secretary see NEDs working in his/her department (WIG can always help you here)?
  • Do you know any of the current NEDs who are stepping down or previous NEDs? Have a cup of coffee with them – anything to get a steer on what the panel are really looking for.
  • If you get the opportunity for a ‘fireside chat’ (which would only occur after an initial interview) this would be the opportunity to meet with key sponsors, and a chance for a more informal discussion where you must sell yourself. This is not to be taken casually.  It is certainly not to be taken as an indication that you have the job.


Why would you put yourself through this?

The intellectual challenge and the opportunity to give something back.

The political involvement can add a fundamentally interesting element to life.

It is usually the work above and beyond the boardroom that is really interesting.

It will require extra time but and can be very rewarding and complimentary to your other activities.

The other thing to take into account is that there are lots of roles in the WIG arena so statistically you have a better chance of getting one than in the straight commercial sectors.

You will also meet a lot of interesting people serving on these boards, which in turn increases your network for the future.

Don’t give in if you get rejected.  The more roles you go for the more you will pick up about the process.


Addressing your weaknesses.

There is an industry perception that law firms don’t know how to run a business.  This is the lawyer’s fault. It is up to you to re-write your CV with headlines around your commercial experience giving tangible examples of your translatable skills.  Get rid of your list of deals. For example:

  • Commercial income that you have been instrumental in increasing
  • The size of teams you have led
  • Business decisions you have been involved in


How do you go about developing your CV?

  • Make sure it is role specific.
  • Seek help – WIG is always willing to give advice.
  • Lay it out in a straightforward way illustrating your business skill-set with real successes/outcomes.



They are a challenge.  Headhunters are undeniably client focused and they are frankly not trained to advise candidates.  You need to do as much of their job as possible.   Things to think about:

  • Be focused personally – what are your interests, skills and breadth of experience?
  • Use your network – clients, mutual connections.
  • Consider getting a mentor.
  • Go digital – make sure you are on LinkedIn.
  • Think about all the prejudices lawyers have to overcome and tackle them head on.
  • Start early but don’t just jump in without due consideration.
  • Ensure involvement in your organisation. Be a champion within your own firm.
  • Think about charity trusteeship as early as you can.

Lifejackets (reading charity) seeks new Trustee and new Chair of Trustees

Lifejackets is a small charity in south-east London that helps children make sense of today’s big issues using stories and poems. Our first few years have been a mix of exciting projects, practical learning, negotiating challenges and hard work.

Our work currently involves developing and promoting free resources for schools and youth projects. Our activities encourage children to use the insight gained from our readings and activities in developing their own ethical code. We have just launched a free, key stage 2 resource themed on ‘Home’ looking at housing, homelessness, refugees & belonging.

Considering issues like these can be stressful. We find it essential that our activities offer a hopeful and empowering experience. The feedback we have received from teachers has been excellent.

This is a fascinating time to join our board, as we make our next steps with some significant work under our belts. Joining the board will involve maintaining an overview of a constantly changing organisation and asking supporting (and sometimes difficult questions), holding our vision and helping us stay aligned with our aims. You will be engaging with information from within LifeJackets (finances, policies, communication, project development and books) as well as other organisations including the Charity Commission.

You’ll need a sense of humour, a constructive approach, a willingness to consider all sides of an argument. Also, you’ll be in sympathy with our vision of a future where children are empowered to make considered ethical choices.

The core time commitment for trustees is four meetings a year with one trustee away day. There are opportunities to get involved with more of our work according to your interests and gifts. Our Chair of Trustees also needs to meet & communicate with our Director.

We can offer you an opportunity to join an innovative and friendly organisation that finds simple ways to make the world a fairer and kinder place. Trustee expenses will be met.

If you are would like to know more about either the trustee or Chair of Trustees position, please contact Carrie Comfort, our current Chair of Trustees for an informal conversation, by clicking on our logo and following the link to our website where there is a contact form. Alternatively, our Twitter handle is @life_jackets_uk .

Our aims are:

-To promote understanding of those who may be considered ‘other’.
-To foster greater awareness of social, global and ethical issues among children and young people.
-To encourage and equip young people to develop their own ethical framework.
-And to inspire a love of reading, which is a pathway to all of the above.


For further information and application details, please click here.

Anti-Bullying Charity seeks new Board Members – lawyer required

An exciting opportunity for a trustee with a fresh registered Anti-bullying Charity; as a board member you will be ask to take important decisions for the future of the charity and bring in your expertise for other leading tasks.

We are looking to hire 6 more Trustee/Board members for our anti-bullying charity.

Searching for Individuals from different back ground to help running the charity and also take on/lead specific tasks depending on the back ground.

What we need: an accountant, a lawyer, someone with fund raising experience (marketing/finance), primary/secondary school staff,  psychology/neuroscience. If you belong to a different background, but you think you could fit the Charity needs please come forward. We need individuals very committed to our cause and the job required, very determined and passionate about it. There are periods were there will be tight deadlines to meet, you must be willing to put all your efforts into it. Prior trustee experience a plus, but not essential.

About We Are Stronger Charity: it’s an anti-bullying Charity CIO founded in 2017 and registered with the charity commission since 2018; providing anti bullying programme to schools and one to one Counselling support, raising awareness and understanding of the effects of bullying. We are currently present in UK, but soon opening in Italy; we have already built solid relationship and we keep expanding at a fast pace.

We are looking to hire 6 more Trustee/Board members for our anti-bullying charity.Searching for Individuals from different back ground to help running the charity and also take on/lead specific tasks depending on the back ground.

What we need:

An accountant, a lawyer, someone with fund raising experience, marketing, Art/Event coordinator, finance, psychology, neuroscience. We need individuals very committed to our cause and the job required, very determined and passionate about it.

As this is a quite new organisation we are currently expanding and need more people to take on lead specific task and be part of a wide decision making process. You will gain experience with new methodologies and other skillset; you will be part of a constant growing process and manage the organisation in various countries, with the possibilities to be part of big events in copeartion with TV professionals

You will be part of a growing Charity, with the ambition to be all around the world and be able to reduce the bullying rate and suicides connected to it; you will gain exposure to other organisations we cooperate with all around the world.


For further information and application details, please click here.

Larissa Joy: Lawyers test, challenge and bring skills that are incredibly valuable to the boardroom

We recently welcomed Portfolio Lawyer, Larissa Joy, to share the interesting turns her professional life has taken with our BCKR members. Larissa is somewhat of an evangelist for a plural career. She has taken a number of varied paths during her entire career and continues to do so in the further development of her portfolio.

Larissa’s first holiday job was as a tour leader with Saga, which when she looks back on it, taught her a great deal.  She ran into trouble when, leading sixty American passengers, the Danube had completely dried up and the tour was conducted by land in coaches. She went on to lead Saga’s first 50 day round the world tour.  Difficult as the Danube experience was in the days of no mobile phones, she realised early the value of putting oneself into new and testing situations as an instructive experience.

Larissa trained as a lawyer at Theodore Goddard.  Her next move was in-house at IMG where she combined the role of lawyer and working on music, sport and television deals, combining her interests in the media and music, one of the factors that had led her to train with Theodore Goddard.  Next, she moved into advertising – joining a 90-strong firm that was looking to sell the business.  They needed a lawyer to help them with preparing the business for sale and also with setting up new offices in Europe. They sold successfully to a holding company and merged the agency with an exciting network of agencies, where Larissa picked up a great deal of experience about mergers in people businesses. After several years in the combined business, she followed the Chairman to the Ogilvy group, where she was in charge of assessing potential new businesses for acquisition. She went on to become Vice Chairman of WPP’s Ogilvy Group UK.

From there, Larissa joined Weber Shandwick as their UK COO, just after a merger and having performed that role successfully, was asked to take on a European leadership role.  She was then headhunted into the world of Private Equity – in the emerging markets field – joining Actis as a Partner and COO.  Her experience of managing change, managing people businesses and mergers and acquisitions were relevant to her new role. She was soon doing business in emerging economies such as India and Africa.  It taught her a huge amount, not least how to achieve success in different cultural environments and she learnt about partnership.

After the birth of her third child she came to the conclusion that she needed more control of her time. That was when the role as Chair of the House of Illustration came along, and alongside some consultancy work in professional services, other portfolio roles followed after that.  Her NED and Chair roles now consist of:

  • NED at Charles Russell Speechlys
  • NED at Saxton Bampfylde
  • NED at L&Q
  • NED at Helpforce which works to develop the future of volunteering in the NHS
  • Chair of The Foundling Museum
  • Chair of SBT. This is a consortium of Clifford Chance, Bain, EY, Permira, Thomson Reuters and others who collaborate to invest in growing high-potential social enterprises.

Larissa’s approach has broadly been to be predisposed to say “yes” when asked to have a chat about the potential opportunities that come her way, however unusual the role might sound initially.

Due diligence:  Though it is obviously vital that you take the time to look at the previous financial history and to review the Board and take soundings in the market about an organisation, it is also important to talk to people within the organisation you are thinking of joining. It is also important also to bear in mind that due diligence tends to be about looking backwards at what has happened and sometimes things can, and do, take a different course. For example, Larissa joined an organisation as Senior Independent Director in the early part of her portfolio career where the reason for bringing on board new NEDs was because, following a change in leadership, there was a desire to improve governance and viability ratings and to assess future strategic options. She accepted the role, having significant confidence in the Chair and the individuals she met, knowing the whole picture and found the challenge of being on the Board throughout the turnaround very interesting and satisfying and learned a great deal. Larissa stresses that the one to one time you spend with your colleagues (on both the executive and the non-executive side) is very important.


What perceptions of lawyers on boards have you encountered? 

A question Larissa has been asked several times is along the lines of:  “I see you are a lawyer by training – are you going to be the type of Board member that always points out the risks?” Larissa stresses that lawyers are so valuable for the efficacy of good governance of an organisation.  They test, they challenge, and they offer an alternative perspective. They bring skills that are incredibly valuable as part of a cognitively diverse boardroom.



She believes that the best firms can be a huge help and she has always tried to be helpful to them in their searches, suggesting names and giving advice when they are conducting a search.  It is a good way to start a relationship.  Ask for their advice and try to meet with as many as possible to build relationships.  Head-hunters are an important part of your route to market, as well as your networks.


Highlights and pitfalls of portfolio life

Larissa loves the opportunities to make connections between the different organisations where she is an NED or Chair, where that makes sense and does not create any conflict. It is very important to ensure that time is not filled up to allow some room for when NEDs are called on to deal with an unexpected situation, when inevitably more time is required.


When developing your portfolio career, did you have a structured plan or did you keep an open mind and see where things led?

Larissa remembers going to see search firms when she was thinking of leaving Private Equity and saying, “this is my experience – what can you offer me?”  But at the time she was not certain about which direction she wanted to take. She now realises that can make it tricky for the search firms to help! She learned to keep an incredibly open mind.  She stresses the need to think carefully about your network and who people you know who rate you might be willing to introduce you to.  Think strategically about people you know on boards or about your particular sector. It is hard to find the time to network – but even use social occasions to make connections and help other people because in the end it all comes full circle and things are increasingly interconnected.


How do you assess the time a role will require?

For an organisation that is less used to having NEDs, you will probably need to complete a year’s cycle to get an idea of the time commitment required.  You may be pulled into a ‘task and finish’ situations but it is important that you don’t get pulled into the executive side of things and remain independent.  The role of the Chair is often a greater demand on one’s time.


Do you find there is much difference working in the Not-for-Profit sector as opposed to your commercial roles?

On the surface, if well-run, there is almost no difference.  Governance is important in both. But difficult or unexpected situations will occur. Not for Profit can be quite full on in terms of revenue and fundraising.

A good Chair will ensure proper debate. Diversity of thought and challenge is good and should be celebrated. Equally, it is important that risks and major issues are robustly aired. Operating in a regulated environment brings its own challenges and having a Regulator helps to underpin a good discipline to be vigilant about governance and compliance.


Is it important to have a balance between Not for Profit and commercial roles?

Larissa finds it exciting to have both and to bring the two together. Networks built in the Not for Profit world have been invaluable in building her portfolio and also very rewarding.


Do you turn down many roles?

She is often contacted about things and she will always take the time to suggest other people to help in the search, but at the moment she has a full portfolio so tends to signpost people in other directions.


Why would you want to have a lawyer on your board?

A partner in a law firm for example understands cashflow, how to market, run a team, good governance, compliance, contracts, and will have successfully built relationships and trust.  They are likely to have sector expertise, the ability to recognise when to red-flag an issue.

When these skills are part of what a person does day to day they can sometimes underplay them – these are such valuable skills for an organisation – in and outside the boardroom.

Discussion under Chatham House rules

Maria da Cunha: Prioritise your area of expertise and do what interests you

On graduating from the LSE Maria started her career as a competition lawyer at Hogan Lovells. She moved in-house to Lloyds Bank when her two children were toddlers.  Her next move was to British Airways as a competition lawyer where she soon went on to become Head of Legal.  She took on a variety of different roles whilst still being GC, in Government and International Affairs, Economic regulation and then for the last 8 years she became Head of Human Resources and Industrial Relations. She combined this with 8 years on the BA management board.

Then, having spent 15 years in the same industry, she thought she needed more breadth and about 4 years ago Maria started to look for NED roles.


How Maria went about getting her first role it

  • Maria started by making a list of businesses she was interested in and a list of those she didn’t want to do. You are committing a considerable amount of time to these types of roles – make sure it’s something that interests you.
  • Then she assessed what value she could add to these businesses (excluding her legal skills) which she felt would be in the following areas:
    • Transformation change and disruption
    • Media and coms/crisis management experience
    • Regulatory and international experience
    • Government interaction

Forget your list of deals.  Think more about your areas of expertise whether it is digital, cyber, sector specific …. This is what you should include in your CV.

You need to put the leg-work in.  Use your network.  Talk to Chairs/SIDs and other NEDs.  Get the support of your boss and colleagues.

Be aware of the time commitment.  Whilst still working at BA, Maria spent many a weekend reading the board pack etc.

The first board Maria was appointed to was at De La Rue (the security company which prints currency and passports and has contracts with many different countries.) She felt the skills she brought to the board room were:

  • International experience
  • Transformation
  • Constructive challenge
  • Team work


A year later Maria took on a second role for a not-for-profit organisation in the social care sector, for people with learning difficulties, which was very different but where she could really make a difference.

Very different skills are needed when working in the charity sector rather than the commercial sector.  Charities need real hard business experience and can require you to be much more hands on and therefore charity board roles can be more time consuming.  The skills needed around the board table itself and in relation to governance are not very different, but it is the work behind the scenes where things can differ significantly.  Much more time is required coaching young trustees or sitting on other committees, talking to the CEO or HR directors, all of whom are likely to have less experience and resources than you are used to in the corporate and City world.  You don’t get the same level of support from the company secretary either.  There also tend to be fewer meetings which can make it harder to keep across what is going on.  From a people perspective those working in the charity sector are generally very enthusiastic but less commercially aware.


Things to consider when presenting yourself to others when launching yourself into the NED world

Maria asked herself what the pillars were that defined her as a person, such as teamwork, collaborative influencing, communication, all vital skills on a board which are bread and butter to any lawyer.  Most lawyers will have people management experience through managing a practice area, developing talent, appraisals, building and making teams coalesce quickly or bridging between different teams etc.


Do you have any particular sector experience?  For instance, international experience is useful for companies growing and expanding overseas.  Think about the kinds of clients you are involved with.  Governance experience is vital.  Compliance. Do not though focus on that alone as boards will also have their General Counsel and external lawyers to seek legal advice from.


Deconstruct your practice.  Be clear about the areas you want to avoid as well as those you enjoy but don’t rule out too much.  You just need to be interested enough in the business to commit 3 years to it.


Was it hard to convince the Chair at De La Rue that your experience was relevant?

It was actually the headhunter that Maria had to convince.  That can be quite hard as they have a tendency not to think particularly creatively.  She tried to think about the boxes they would put her in and then how she could persuade them to the contrary.

She made a list of all the executive search firms and got in touch with and saw all.  Out of a long list there were about 2-3 firms who actually understood her and remain in touch to this day – still sending through stuff.


Headhunters are probably the biggest obstacle to overcome in this process, so you need to make it easy for them.  Point out the obvious.

  • Tell them what sectors you are interested in.
  • Lawyers are well disposed to get to grips with a new business, with a natural curiosity and an ability to absorb the data quickly. Remind them of this.
  • Illustrate your commerciality. There is a consensus that lawyers sit on the fence and don’t take a view.  Persuade them that you can make judgements on the best path to take.  Find examples of where you have taken calculated risks.


Are there any courses, seminars etc that Maria found useful?

It is important to be comfortable reading the accounts and financials, particularly if you find yourself on an audit committee.  Keep yourself up-to-date.

Places to check are the Institute of Directors, PwC who run a series of workshops targeted at NEDs. Fidelio Executive Search also runs a programme for prospective NEDs.


Being on a board gives you a more rounded view.  You get to see things from a different perspective, from the investment point of view. There can be a lot of cross fertilisation which helps a lot in the executive job. Being an adviser has actually helped her.


Lawyers’ soft skills are all there, building consensus, advising vs challenging.


Have there been any surprises being a director?

Being the recipient of paperwork makes you much more appreciative of the role a company secretary plays.


A really important lesson to understand in any non-executive role, is that you do have to plough through a lot of guff to get to the nub of the problem, particularly at the beginning.  Keep digging and trust your instincts.  It has been interesting to observe that with a balanced board working in unison, you make better decisions and you can learn a lot from that.


What has your greatest learning curve been?

Probably dealing with activist shareholders and keeping the investor base happy.  Hadn’t appreciated how complex a problem that would be.

Steve Williams – The Portfolio Lawyer

Soon after qualifying at Slaughter and May, Steve moved into industry, quickly becoming general counsel at Unilever, a role he held for 25 years until 2010. While there, Steve was a non-executive director of Bunzl for 9 years, on their Audit and Remuneration Committees, and of Arriva for 5 years where he was SID, and he joined the board of Whitbread.  The Whitbread role continued until 2017, first as SID and then as chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Steve currently chairs the Remuneration Committee on the board of Croda International, is Deputy Chairman and SID of the Moorfields NHS Trust and Vice Chairman of the De La Warr Pavilion Charitable Trust, a contemporary arts centre in Sussex (having already served as Chairman for six years). He is also a Board Member of The Leverhulme Trust, the second largest research grant funder in the UK, and Senior Advisor to headhunter Spencer Stuart.  He has served as non-executive to Eversheds and on the Companies Committee of the CBI and the Takeover Panel.  He remains a member of the Law Society Company Law Committee.

Members will rarely come across a lawyer with such a diverse range of non-executive roles, and they will gain a lot by understanding how he approaches each role and plays up or down his legal credentials accordingly.


Steven Sussman & James Godrich: company accounts – how to look at the numbers

Before hearing James Godrich on the key things to look for in a company’s accounts, BCKR members heard from Steven Sussman.  The second part of the talk is not summarised here, although the slides accompanying these notes provide a good reminder for members of what they heard and will hopefully provide a useful teach-in for those unable to join us.

Steven is CEO of our regular host, JM Finn and members heard his thoughts on what to consider when looking at NED positions and what the regulated firms he’s been involved with have sought from their own NEDs.  Steven provided a colourful and salutary reminder of the associated risks.

What to consider when applying for NED roles:

  • Regulated firms – as a NED you are at risk so you need to consider whether it’s worth it – your assets and reputation may be called to account
  • Time v money – it is not just about showing up to 4 board meetings per year. Much more is required.  There are often committee meetings as well (and non-executives will generally be expected to sit on at least one other committee) and to do a good job, a lot of preparation is required (including reading 50-100 pages ahead of each meeting for even the smallest of committees – much more for the main board meetings).  You need to really consider the time commitment
  • Money v risk – is the risk you’re taking worth the money you will get paid?
  • Learning – Do you know the industry? You need to get up to speed with the firm and the industry so there might be a lot to learn up front.
  • The financial state of firm – remember to look at this area of a firm when you consider a NED role e.g. how cash rich are they / are they profitable / is it a credible business?

As a NED you are responsible to the shareholders so you need to be able to be objective.

Boards don’t look specifically for bankers or lawyers, they want someone who can add value and credibility, ask the right questions, probe. Be professional. Bring contacts. Do you have financial skills as an extra resource that can be useful. Can you introduce clients. Can you give advice/ insight, add a fresh objective view.

And with that, he passed the baton to James Godrich. James’ Powerpoint slides can be found here.

Rachel Hubbard: “Start early, start small”

We recently welcomed Rachel Hubbard, currently leading the Social Impact sector at Saxton Bampfylde, to BCKR.

Saxton Bampfylde is now 32 years old, with the founder, Stephen Bampfylde, still involved.  They have always been focused on the non-profit world, charities and NGOs. Rachel leads the social impact sector.

Different headhunting firms operate different processes and for the candidate and headhunter this process can feel different depending on the type of organisation involved. Saxton Bampfylde does not operate through the ‘little black book’, or by relying on their database.  Their research-heavy model is very different.  They start with a clean bit of paper every time, talking to as many as 120 people for a non-executive search (150 for executive roles), asking the people they can think of who might be interested.  They can also create a mind map. That’s not to say they don’t use feedback from previous searches, or their database, but that is not the main focus. Probably one third to half would be people they haven’t spoken to before as they do try to challenge the brief.   A lot of roles need a lot of advocacy by the headhunter.  Especially the Chair roles currently.

She could fill her life with cups of coffee with potential candidates, but they don’t pay – headhunters need to work efficiently.  To get your first role, don’t look to the search firms – find someone who can introduce you to an organisation.  Can you do voluntary work, or consultancy for an organisation? Start early, start small.  Be seen to be have thought about the voluntary sector before claiming to be able to offer much to them.

Search firms have to win the work like any business.  Their marketing focus is on potential business, not candidates.  They need to look for their clients, and attract them, finding outwhat motivates them, what interests them, who they know, in order to build that trusted adviser status.  She sees this relationship building as similar to the role of a lawyer winning clients.  Become knowledgeable, listen and then come back and advise. When dealing with headhunters remember this.  Once you’ve established yourself, remind them who you are, making it simple and concise, and don’t expect a cup of coffee.

The briefing process from the client is very important in any search.  They don’t often hear “We want a lawyer”, unless the organisation has historically had a lawyer on their board, when repeat lawyers are often valued.

They generally operate to a 12 week process.

Skills audits: before the board makes an appointment they will do a skills audit to work out what they want on the board as a whole, and what they’re missing.  This exercise often makes clients very clear on what they’re after, so the simple database search won’t get the headhunter very far, as it’s the combination of skills that the client will be looking for.  Often, therefore, the headhunter is already trying to amass two or three separate skills into the pot, and it’s unlikely to be law.

Real interest isn’t enough, often something has to resonate. For example, for a homeless children’s charity or a charity for children in care, being “interested in children” is not enough, whatever the professional day job.  It requires something else in the candidate’s life – have they had real life experience of adoption, living in care etc? See if there are ways that make your application stand out.

Start early and do things on a voluntary basis to build experience but also credibility.

One highly sought-after skill: income generation relevant to that organisation. Can you make them more connected with major donors? Do you have experience of winning grants, or giving/winning large contracts akin to those of the organisation? Can you extend their network? etc.  All these could bring money into the organisation.

Another useful skill: can you offer consumer insight – marketing generally, HR, or legal experience – in their sector? Knowledge of stakeholders in that organisation is highly prized.

Who is the competition?

People who can write an application which speaks to the client.  A great CV and a letter that conveys understanding of the motivation for the organisation. If the CV alone shows the candidate is not competent, she often gives up, but clients often focus as much on the letter.

She’s astonished that even when 150 people write applications for chairing a huge charity, often captains of industry, their applications are poor, they convey no evidence for why the organisation should choose the individual.   You must explain “Why on earth they should choose me?” and provide evidence. Get someone else to read the CV and letter first – many clearly don’t.


Lawyers – can you write a CV which is not prose or discursive, and instead looks like a business CV which demonstrates your management experience? It’s a good idea to bring it alive with numbers – this is very important.  Ensure your CV is no longer than 2 pages.

To be a convincing non-executive trustee, you must demonstrate on paper and in any meetings that you are someone who is comfortable with ambiguity, realising that decisions are often made for the broader social good and which are counter to your sense of logic. The organisation may act against your own better judgement, so it is vital you appreciate the varied motivations of those around the table.  It can be emotionally charged.  You have to be up for this and ready for bold decisions being made without all the data or evidence necessarily always there.  This can be challenging for those with careers based on evidence and facts.

People choose people.  It’s a privilege to be chosen as a trusted adviser, or trustee – there needs to be an affinity, since much unpaid time will be spent with that individual over a number of years.  Arrive with a low ego and show empathy.

What’s your USP? Provide evidence that volunteering is something you do.

Make it easy for people to contact you. Do you really want to work in the non-profit sector? Are you up for the challenges this can bring?  These organisations can come at the world from a very different place.  Despite this, diversity of viewpoint and, essentially, collaboration are hugely valued.

The stakeholders’ viewpoint can be the one that has the final say in a decision.  Ultimately a charity must focus on their mission.  A good lawyer trustee may be good at remembering to bring a discussion back to these first principles.

Skills audit: Will not include lawyers! But it will include governance… not commenting on the minutes, but trying to bring proportion to the whole area in the press spot light at the moment.  Need to think where you will fit in.  The governance of charities is getting closer and closer to corporate position.  The instincts of the lawyer to question things is still good. The questions you can raise about the what-ifs, asking about the consequences of a decision being made, clarity around how decisions will fall.

Are there templates for a skills audit?

Yes. Charity commission website provides them. Will vary by type of organisation.  Grant giving body will look very different from housing association, NGO etc.  To some extent they mirror the executive skills of the organisation.

What makes a good cover letter?

Opening paragraph, where it says in a nutshell why what you do is remarkable and why you can add value. Show you’re  keen and excited and that it’s not all about you.

Are there differences in process etc. between paid and unpaid roles?

Not really, but a commercial organisation can have a simple more streamlined process with fewer involved.  Very few other differences.

Would you expect a panel interview?

Yes, four to five panel members.  Don’t presume anything.  Do your research.  What will be will be.  Panels don’t necessarily know each other, have gathered quickly in advance, but may well ask really tough questions addressing really tough issues.  Don’t be fazed.

Charities also consider whether there are stakeholder groups accessible who can join in the interviewing too.  If so, this will often be used and their views will be very important.  The insights from that group are often aligned with the more analytical process of the trustees

Interviews: Don’t talk at people.  Don’t knock them flat.  Get on and have a well argued intellectual debate and critically, come up with consensus. Most organisations are sceptical about those who’ve had no exposure to the non-profit sector but think they can nonetheless waltz in and make an impact.  Start early.

Starting points:  Samaritans volunteering.  Reading sessions in a school.  Giving time to sector.  School governor.  Mentoring and outreach programmes for clients. Talk giving.  When boards can see that you’ve taken the time despite busy careers etc. it shows real interest.

Good CVs? Pages of prose are really unhelpful.  Hard if you haven’t got much beyond legal work.  Therefore, make it look like a business CV.  Clear statement of your organisation and roles.  Bullet points, not paragraphs, two pages max, keep numbers in it, bring forward the volunteering side, don’t hide it away e.g. leadership role in your church etc. The bits of your day job that people don’t realise are important.

Letter: Spell client right! Tone is critical, often there’s too much “I”, not enough heart.  Need a story that builds empathy.

Interview coming up… how do you get a sense of the organisation before interview? What interaction can you hope for?  Many will build in a conversation with a decision maker to allow you to ask questions etc.  Do ask for this if not offered.  Remember the individual decision maker will also be making judgements at that meeting.  As for auditors etc. wait until the right late stage of the process. By short-list time it’s often about fit rather than the not skill set, hopefully, if the headhunter has done their job well.  This is even more important in a non-profit than a commercial organisation.

The pool of candidates is probably not as strong if no headhunter has been involved in the process, and the pool is harder to get into if you are not in the right network.

SaxBam’s appointments lately have been comprised of 53% women, 38% bme, but the diversity afforded by the socio-economic background is also critical … Much harder to see from the CV itself.  Life experience is able to add something very different which a board may value.

Lots of digital skills required at the moment in searches.  It’s easier to attract those individuals as they don’t dwell on their personal accountability.  But the operational end of delivering services is much harder.

Charles Randell: “The best way to get NED roles is through relentless networking”

We recently welcomed Charles Randell, currently Chair of the FCA, to BCKR.  Charles joined Slaughter and May in 1980 and stayed for 33 years, despite various efforts to ‘escape’.  He interviewed widely for other jobs before becoming a partner, but concluded they were equally as ‘bad’.  So, he took partnership but set himself a target to leave by the age of 50.  On approaching 50, he accepted a job chairing a government owned business which was in the process of being privatised but he had a change of heart over the weekend and pulled out.  This decision set him back quite some way on future jobs in the public sector!

He was still at Slaughters when the financial crisis hit.  By the end of the crisis period, he had nothing left in the tank for transactional client work – particularly pitching to clients and the ensuing rejections. But he did know many more people in government and the Bank of England. One of these rang to encourage Charles to apply for a non-executive position on the Prudential Regulation Committee at the Bank which was to be his cornerstone commitment, and he finally handed in his notice at Slaughters.  There had been hope of him remaining as a partner while fulfilling the Bank’s role but, at his first meeting at the Bank of England, there were so many conflicts that he realised he had no choice but to leave.

At around the same time, he joined the Department of Energy and Climate change board, which again came about through personal contacts gained through his work.  He ended up Chairing the Audit and Risk Committee there too.

In his experience he has found that visiting head hunters was universally a disappointing experience. Despite that, he still did the rounds with them all.

It is well known that Chairs don’t actively seek to have lawyers on their boards, for the reasons we all know too well.  He still gets asked if he has any comments to make on the minutes!


Reflections on the role of a NED

  • The job of a NED can be quite lonely and certainly an enormous contrast to being at a law firm where you can have useful conversations about issues with colleagues on a casual basis. It is difficult to find the right level of engagement, so you are not isolated from what matters in the everyday workings of the organisation you are working for.  The dangers lie in not being able to walk about and find out what’s going on.
  • The Bank of England was initially very structured and difficult to penetrate – though it is becoming more relaxed.
  • Good governance is key. There is the Code but, in his experience, good governance is incredibly rare.  In a financial services firm, the tell-tale signs are:
    • Chief Executive dominance
    • Culture of high executive pay
    • An imbalance of material information between the executive and non-executive teams
    • A chronic lack of succession planning by powerful Chief Executives.

The PRA does have a watch list of financial services firms and plenty are on it.

With this in mind, the most critical thing in looking for a NED position is to have/choose the right NED colleagues.  If you are not the Chair, it is obviously much harder to change the culture of the board and organisation.  NEDs are most effective when working persistently to raise issues with the executive – as a group.  Be dogged in a constructive and helpful way.

Freedom to poke about and a good quality exchange of information with the executive are essential.  If you are not getting that, something is wrong with the culture of the organisation.


Risks of being a NED

Compared to the unlimited liability you undertake as a lawyer, the risks are minimal.

Yes, there is a risk of public humiliation if things go wrong.  Personally, Charles doesn’t think the risk is so great.

Financial services are no worse than many other industries and at least they are highly regulated so you have the comfort that others are also doing the checks.

The key risks relate to there being a lack of diversity of thought amongst the board.  If you are just reacting to stuff being fed to you rather than delving into the underlying issues perhaps you aren’t giving it the mental space that is required.  You need to maintain a freshness of approach.

Charles has found it useful to look at the agenda and identify the issues before reading through the board pack.

He has found being the Chair of an organisation much more intensive.  The workload is considerable and the challenge as chair is to ensure that the right things get to the top of the agenda – focusing on the core objectives. This is not always easy.




How did you find the public appointment process?

It is formalised and less open.  If the process doesn’t produce the right candidate, they will ring up the right candidate and suggest they apply.  You need to assume that those making the appointment have an agenda.

There is undoubtedly more bureaucracy around the process in the public sector.

The approach of ministerial boards go either way.  The willingness of the Secretary of State to engage with the board and use it as an advisory body varies enormously.  Departmental boards are a very mixed bags.  Your best bet is to ask around before joining a board.  They can be very dependent on the minister (as Chair) – from full engagement to not turning up at all.

Non-departmental public bodies/Quangos are much more settled environments as they are not subject to the vagaries of reshuffles etc.


What signs should you look out for recommended to the when applying for senior public appointments?

Each post will have two candidates recommended to the minister so that he/she always has a choice. The key is in the integrity of the selection panel.  Ministerial add-ins do happen but don’t necessarily get far.


How do you break from the issues of the day as board Chair and get time to add the right things to the agenda?

It is a job you never finish.  It is usually more a question of getting stuff off the agenda.  Often on government bodies it is part of the reward structure for people to present papers to the board.  These things appear on the agenda months in advance.  The struggle is to get control of the agenda and to fill it from the top down.


When you look at when you left Slaughter and May did you get the timing right?

Charles thinks he lucked out.  If you look at the triggers enabling him to be able to find a job, it came down to random chance and the result of happy coincidences, chance conversations and luck. You have to make your own luck by working your contacts.

Like many lawyers he does not enjoy self promotion.  He is happiest with pen in hand.  A lot of lawyers think they don’t have a network.  You have to start with the people you know through work and personal contacts and then just plug away making new connections with every cup of coffee you have.  It does get easier as you go through the process as you realise what you need to get out of the conversations.  If you lack that persistence, then you probably aren’t cut out to be a good NED anyway.


When it comes to risk – as a NED – how do you know what you don’t know?

When he joined the Bank of England, he took about 6 months to learn what it was all about.

In 2-3 years your insight will be better informed.  You will pick up areas which you think should be on the agenda.  If you are fobbed off – don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to ask the dumb question and have the strength of your convictions.  For instance, with Carillion, the board papers would have said one thing, but the reality was different.  If the executive team aren’t providing the board with the right information, how can a NED be expected to know what’s missing.

You won’t catch everything. If you want total control, being a NED is not for you.  You can though, keep an eye on areas that might typically show up problems:

  • Sales incentives
  • Accounting anomalies
  • Divergence between cash and P&L


Ask the basic questions. Do the best you can.

Suzanna Taverne: play to your sectoral strengths and develop your network

Suzanna started her career as an investment banker at SG Warburg after which she moved into Finance and Strategy Director roles at Saatchi and Saatchi and then at Pearson.  Her next move was in to the public sector when she took on the role of Managing Director of the British Museum, overseeing the Millennium Great Court project.  This in turn led to a role at Imperial College, in what was effectively a COO role.

At the end of that phase she decided she didn’t want to work only in the public sector, so she decided to embark on a portfolio career which she hoped would offer an opportunity to use her not-for-profit, commercial and public sector experience. In doing so, she was clear that it was important to pursue only organisations that had a clear sense of values.

She made a plan to take on up to five positions – two or three commercial roles (her ‘earning engine’), one in the public sector and up to two not-for-profit roles.  There were endless opportunities in the not-for-profit sector, but the commercial roles were harder to come by.  She hoped that her previous board experience was a strength but realised that head hunters like to target candidates with a strong functional or sectorial skill set.  With her mixed career experience, she didn’t necessarily tick all the head hunter boxes.

Her portfolio went on to include:

Nationwide Building Society where she was on the Board during the Financial Crisis

  • NED at Ford Credit Europe. The issues surrounding Brexit have been particularly challenging
  • Serving on the board of the BBC Trust
  • Chairing the board at Marie Stopes International and also serving on the board of Age UK.


What has she learned about NED life?

Her first NED role (with Gingerbread, the charity for one-parent families) coincided with a huge professionalisation of the not-for-profit world.  In that sector there

is now much greater clarity on the level of commitment and professionalism required; on how NEDs are recruited and on Board evaluation

Suzanna stressed that the key is to work out your strengths, what you enjoy doing and to check that the purpose and values of the organisations you work with are in line with your own. It is also essential to have a good working relationship with the Chair.

Suzanna found it important not to spread yourself around too thinly, and that it helped her to have an ‘anchor’ role (2-3 days per week).  She has really enjoyed taking on Chair roles, which allows you to help shape an organisation.

As a trustee, playing to your strengths is important.  You need to work out what you can specifically contribute.  Be strategic.  Your conversations with other board members outside the board room are equally as important to the meetings themselves.  It is also important to work out how your sectoral experience can help.


How to get the role

Networking is essential.

All the things you gain from your full-time job you need to replace in your portfolio life.  It wasn’t obvious to Suzanna where you got your personal development from.  This is taken for granted in the day job.

  • The portfolio life can be a lonely business and you need to approach it in a deliberate way.  Suzanna took to reading the papers much more seriously to keep abreast current affairs and the business world.
  • Surround yourself with people whose brains you can pick and talk things over with, such as recent events in companies etc.  Don’t be afraid to put forward a hypothesis and see how others react.  You will learn through that experience.
  • Be purposeful with your diary planning.
  • Lack of infrastructure can be challenging i.e. arranging your own travel, managing your diary and the lack of IT support.
  • Think about what your network can do for you.  They are most likely to be the source of your next job.  Every interaction is of value to both sides.

When it comes to lawyers Suzanna admits to a degree of prejudice –

  • Comparative lack of practical experience
  • Lawyers have spent their whole professional life as an adviser not as principal
  • Lawyers are employed to consider risks and provide for them which is very different from the role of a board member, where decisions have to be made in a short period of time

Saying that – Suzanna worked under former lawyer Geoffrey Howe – where he steered Nationwide through the financial crisis incredibly skilfully.  He was a steady and rational person who didn’t crumble under the immense stress.

Overall, lawyers embarking on a portfolio life need to play to their sectoral strengths, develop their network and get good hard experience thinking as principals.



When you left Warburgs you decided you would prefer to be a principal rather than an advisor.  Why? 

I was more interested in how deals were developed than the actual transaction.  However, Warburgs provided an invaluable experience of the inner workings of the board room and an understanding that good governance is key.  Being part of a professional services team for a while is a great training ground for later corporate life.


How do you get started on the NED journey?

Suzanna became a trustee at Gingerbread quite early on but had had no other board role; after a while she was asked to become the Chair.  Later she left Imperial College with no role to go to and began her portfolio career from a standing start.  Her previous experience at Gingerbread was very important in her thinking.  It helped her to do (though not to get) her first NED position.

She got started by using her existing network and stresses that a network is really only an idea until you develop it.

You can’t embark on this journey without firstly putting in the leg work and secondly having the passion to do it.  Every job has to work on its own terms but doesn’t have to be your ‘dream’ job.  Nobody will hire you as chair without solid experience.


What is your view on headhunters?

They are a necessary evil but ancillary to your network.  Remember that head hunters work for their client so limit your expectations of them.  Work out which head hunters work in the area you’d like to work in.  You will learn a lot from the questions they ask you.


What does a lawyer have to do/say to convince you that they are not just an adviser?

She would want to see that you are able to contribute to the big strategic questions being faced by the organisation.  Your covering letter should allude to an aspect of the business of that particular organisation.  Can you be illustrate that you can help the organisation achieve its strategic goals? You really need to provide some sort of evidence that you have succeeded in doing this in other roles. For all NEDs it is about being able to articulate relevant leadership, commercial and strategic skills – so for Lawyers, contextualising your experience to non-lawyers is vital.


How do you judge an organisation that you are about to get involved with?

Talk to as many people as possible.  Current and past board members – just as if you were taking out references.  And do remember that organisations always put forward their best case when recruiting NEDs. So, finding the ‘fault lines’ can take some digging.


Sir Nicholas Young: Lawyers know how to ask the right challenging questions – a much-needed skill in a Trustee

We recently welcomed Sir Nicholas Young to BCKR where he shared his thoughts with us. He began with some facts about the voluntary sector.

It is a huge sector with 170,000 charities in the UK with a combined total income of £45 billion per year.  Add in housing associations, private schools the total yearly income reaches £73 billion compared to, for instance, the car industry (£71 billion) or the farming industry (£5 billion).


Of the proper established charities about:

  • 45% of their income comes from the public/individual donations
  • 30% comes from central and local government in the form of contracts/fees for services provided.
  • 25% comes from trusts, investments, lottery funding etc.


Charities are hugely diverse in their make-up.

  • 34% have an income of less than £10k per year
  • Only 2000 have an income over £40,000
  • Just 40 have an income over £1million


As a sector they employ 765,000 staff most of whom are part-time.  This represents 3% of the total UK workforce.  There are 14 million charity volunteers in the UK who volunteer at least once a month.

Nick started his career as an M&A lawyer at Freshfields.  After 5 years, he took time out and went back-packing with his wife. On their return they left London and moved to East Anglia where he joined a small legal firm but a had nagging feeling that his interests didn’t really lie in making big businesses even bigger.

Sue Ryder was a local charity to him, with nursing homes in the UK, 50 homes in Eastern Europe.  Nick contacted their head office and ended out being put straight through to Sue Ryder herself.  The next day he went to meet Sue and she spent ½ a day with him talking about her life.  She was in the SOE and had worked with survivors of the concentration camps.  After their meeting, they established a relationship and eventually she persuaded him to quit the law and join her organisation.

He stayed for 5 years at Sue Ryder Homes, but it was the organisation was the ‘founder’s child’ and that meant that many of the ideas Nick had for putting the organisation on the right legal footing were met with resistance.  A complex relationship to manage.

He left and went to the Red Cross which at the time was an organisation which had lost its way.  The management and trustees had fallen out.  The organisation had undergone huge changes after the war with the introduction of the NHS. In the following 40-50 years they got involved in a variety of different things.  Essentially it was organised like 93 separate county charities.  Nick was brought in to run ‘the UK’, but given its structure, it took a while to modernise.   With his legal hat on, looking for a way to collapse the structuring,  he realised that the trustees were unaware of their personal liability in their roles and when Nick wrote to them to highlight this fact it made a lot of trustees sit up and think and subsequently leave.  Restructuring was underway!

After 5-6 years with the Red Cross he left to join Macmillan Cancer Support as their Chief Executive.  This was a wonderful, slightly happy go lucky, organisation.  They had very dedicated volunteers who raised lots of money.  The relationship with government became very interesting.   A little before Tony Blair was elected, Nick had a meeting with Chris Smith (shadow Health Secretary) and Harriet Harman.  He sold them the idea that they needed a strategy to counteract the post code lottery in relation to cancer care services.  During that meeting Harriet realised that this could be a great mandate for their manifesto and when they came to power, there was a transformation of cancer services. Macmillan was then able to work closely with government on a strategic level.  Which was very interesting.

After 6-7 years Nick went back to the Red Cross as their Chief Executive running the UK and overseas.  At the time they had a deficit of £14 million so needed a restructuring.  He only stepped down from that role quite recently.



The governance of charities is becoming increasingly important issue due to the public’s waning trust in charities in general.  This concerns particularly the charities’ relationship with donors and potential donors, and, since the Oxfam crisis, with ensuring the safety of beneficiaries.  That crisis has been a huge wake-up call for charities, heightened by the fact that The Charity Commission’s role is now that of the regulator rather than there simply to support charities.  This leaves a lot riding on charity trustees, who now have a big responsibility for people who are part-time volunteers.  For large charities in particular, it is a weighty responsibility, and trustee boards have found it difficult to get to grips with the public scrutiny.

So, there is a real need for better trustees and a better relationship between trustees and the management.


What makes a good trustee?

  • Passion and enthusiasm
  • Relevant expertise and experience
  • An ability to ‘bring it to the table’. To challenge management.  To ask the right question.
  • Time commitment. Charities will always want more time they have asked you for.
  • To have the ability to strike the right balance between support and challenge. There should be a creative tension between management and trustees.

In big charities it is an oversight role.  In small charities you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do a bit of everything.

Working with volunteers is a challenge.  You can’t manage them in the same way you manage staff in the private sector.  It requires patience and understanding.  It is important to understand that the staff are there to support the volunteers and channel the volunteers’ passion constructively.


Lawyers – why do relatively few trustee boards have lawyers on them?

One great skill a lawyer has is the ability to get to find out what the real problem is.  To ask the right challenging question.  There is much need for these skills on trustee boards and Nick is always keen to encourage other lawyers to join the sector.  It will offer you the chance to feel good about ‘giving back’ and also to have fun.

  • There are lots of recruitment consultants to help you get charity roles e.g. Saxton Bampfylde, Spencer Stuart and Odgers being the main ones.
  • The key is to do something that really interests you. Make sure the organisation supports its trustees
  • Be clear about what you are taking on in terms of time commitment


How difficult is it to sit on the board of a charity verses a listed company?

The gulf is not so huge between the two.  There are greater differences between a sitting on the board of a small or large charity.  There is a gap in the support for charities, left by the Charity Commission’s role now being that of regulator rather than to support.


Is the lack of lawyers on boards a problem sitting at the desk of the headhunters?

When Nick went to see a charity headhunter they questioned why he would want to leave the law!  Lawyers are still perceived as one dimensional “we don’t need a lawyer now”.  Lawyers need to get better at marketing their business skills:

  • A good understanding of how organisations are structured and work.
  • A general understanding of law is incredibly valuable to a board.
  • A commitment to doing things the proper way.


Are there too many charities in the sector?  How should the problem be addressed?

As an example – there are 700 charities with the world ‘cancer’ in their title.  There isn’t an obvious answer how the government can stop people wanting to help other people.  It is hard to halt the passion of volunteers.  There is an absence of collaboration.   Perhaps this is an issue lawyers could push to the forefront.


Are there sectors where there is more need for trustees to join their boards?

Organisations do struggle to get trustees in the ‘un-sexy’ sectors such as mental health, prisons and crime, refugees and INGOs, partly due to reputational exposure.


Where should you start your search?

  • Define which sector interests you.
  • Go to a headhunter that specialise in charity trusteeships
  • Research a charity you are interested in and then approach the Chief Executive or Chair. You’d be surprised how welcome these types of approaches can be.

Will Dawkins: Tactics for getting that board role – Get skilled-up, widen your horizons and prepare

This week we welcomed Will Dawkins, Head of Board Practice at Spencer Stuart to BCKR to share his thoughts with us.


The current situation

The current situation for lawyers on FTSE 100 boards has neither significantly changed nor improved over the last 5 years.  There are currently 12 NEDs who come from a true professional lawyer background on FTSE 100 boards.  In the US it is more like 50% of companies who have a lawyer on their board.

The reality of the FTSE 100 market is that there are probably only 780 positions available at any one time and 1% of those will be open to lawyers.

A typical board will have the following NED seats to fill:

  • 2 executives (these will be people who have managed a large business)
  • 1 SID
  • Chair of Audit (a CFO or Audit person)
  • Chair of Remco (someone who has lived with REM e.g. a former CEO or perhaps someone from an HR background)
  • 2 seats will go to the next REM and Audit chairs
  • This leaves 2 potential seats for newbies – one of which could of course be a lawyer.

In general terms in the UK, a board’s role is about strategy and ensuring its implementation and challenging management on their business decisions.  There is therefore an emphasis on the possession of business skills.

A very typical question a headhunter will ask a prospective candidate is “tell me a story about how you coped with an alien situation?”

  • Do you have the ability to deal with complex scenarios?
  • Are you able to make big decisions based on limited information?

There is therefore considerable benefit in looking at roles in other organisations.  Other options might be:

  • Regulatory agencies
  • Government departments
  • Trade organisations
  • NHS trusts
  • School governorships
  • Major charities

The organisations are interesting and really need people like you.


What are the pros and cons of inviting a lawyer onto your board?

The Pros

  • In relation to quoted companies there is an increasing emphasis on diversity and not just in gender and race but the desire to have diverse insight, personal characteristics and thought around the board table.
  • In this highly regulatory environment, the agenda is often focused on compliance and regulatory matters. Lawyers are well placed to add value on these complex issues.
  • The ability to read board papers and drill down through the detail to come up with 3 important questions is second nature to a lawyer.
  • A commitment to accuracy is useful in the boardroom and reassuring.
  • Morality – need people who are able to make the right call.
  • Business-minded – law firms are one of the most successful business sectors. Lawyers broad exposure and perspective on business should help. But you need to be able to present yourself as good business people through your role as a lawyer.
  • Managing ego.
  • Complexity – your ability to deal with complex financial structures.
  • Commoditisation: the experience of addressing the business



  • They don’t need a lawyer on the board for legal advice.
  • You have the wrong skill-set. A lack of business background to challenge the CEO.  A lawyer is happier advising than making decisions.
  • You are too precise in your thinking.
  • Your perceived lack of commercial acumen – for example, not being good with numbers.



  • Skill-up
  • Adjust your expectations – don’t restrict yourself to PLCs
  • Preparation


Skilling Up

At the long-list stage you will be ranked against other business people so try to build evidence of your business acumen.

  • Build experience through work in the charity sector
  • Learn the language of business
  • Look at your weaknesses in business and train up.
    • Management training
    • MBA
    • Advanced Management Programmes are run by most business schools
    • Spencer Stuart also runs a 3-day (invitation only) board role-play course

It will show that you are serious; it will take you outside your sphere of experience, increase your network and make you a better interviewee.



Take a look at the full range of options.  Don’t restrict yourself to PLCs.



Before you go to a meeting with anyone – research them for example in BoardEx.  Check their connections.


How to promote yourself with the headhunters?

Headhunters are looking for people for their jobs – not looking to contact people for roles which may appear.  Your CV should state plainly near the top what you are looking for, which makes it easier for the headhunter to make a match.

If you want a coffee/meeting with a headhunter give them a reason to talk to you.

  • You may have your eye on a particular board.
  • You may have an introduction from someone who the headhunter won’t want to offend.
  • You may have an introduction from a client or senior adviser. Cold calling doesn’t really work. The headhunter will only think about you passively through a cold call approach.  They are only proactive for their clients.  They are reactive for potential candidates.
  • Identify a particular sector you are interested in, so you reach the right person within the headhunting firm. The Board Practice should be your first point of call not the Legal Practice.
  • Find a link within the firm through your contacts. The leading firms in the corporate sector are:
    • Russell Reynolds
    • Heidrick & Struggles
    • Spencer Stuart
    • Lygon Group
    • Korn Ferry
  • In the not-for-profit sector, it is easier to become aware of roles as they have to be publicly advertised. The main firm in this sector is Odgers and Berndtson (who deal with two thirds of the public-sector roles).


What will make you liked or not?

If you can evidence that you’ve thought carefully about what you want and who might be interested in you.


Government appointments

Government departments are a very different option from a PLC.  There is less focus on strategy and more on operational efficiency and effective delivery.  It can be very challenging.  Their boards are typically made up of academics, business people, lawyers and accountants.  They do have to advertise their roles and they have to demonstrate that all candidates are given exactly the same process.  However, it can often be a two-pronged approach, with sought-after candidates being asked to apply.

If you don’t receive a call from the headhunter in advance of your interview it will be indicative of the interest in you.


You will be interviewed by a panel, where all candidates are asked exactly the same questions.  However, it is an accessible world for a lawyer.

The downsides are that ministers have often chosen their preferred candidate and so, if possible, you should try and find out (discretely) whether there is a preferred candidate.


What kind of remuneration can be expected of these different roles?

  • FTSE 100 companies pay approximately £70k for a NED role – unlimited personal liability.
  • A public NED role will pay somewhere between £10-20k
  • A charity role £0


Do concerns around liability affect people taking on these roles?

To a degree, especially in the financial services sector, companies and most (major) charities have D&O policies but you should recognise that reputational liability is a greater risk than legal and financial liability.

Kirsty Watt and Gavin Robert: Lawyers are highly sought-after at multi-academy trusts

We recently welcomed Kirsty Watt from Academy Ambassadors and Gavin Robert, former Linklaters partner, to BCKR to discuss academy trusts and how lawyers make a good fit for their boards.

NED roles for BCKR members are being offered through Academy Ambassadors who came to speak to the group today, together with Gavin Robert – a BCKR member who found a NED role with England’s largest primary academy trust through the AA – BCKR relationship.

Lawyers are particularly sought after for the boards of multi-academy trusts for their ability to provide scrutiny and challenge. Academy Ambassadors provides a free, bespoke service matching business people and professionals with multi-academy trusts looking to strengthen their boards. Since 2013, the not-for-profit programme funded by the Department for Education has introduced over 900 business people and professionals to trust boards.

The NED role at an academy trust has impact and makes a significant contribution to improving education and life chances. As multi-academy trusts (MATs) grow and develop they face significant challenges and the skills and experience of lawyers can help these trusts and their pupils to succeed.

Academy Trusts have expanded massively over the last 5 years, which has not been without its own challenges.  Academy Ambassadors came into the picture at the beginning of this expansion when it became obvious that these new organisations needed the backing of a strong board.

A school usually converts to an academy when the Department for Education asks for a school to be taken out of local authority control.

  • If a school fails Ofsted inspection and goes into special measures.
  • A school is doing well but wants to convert.

Is there ever hostility when a school decides to convert?  It varies.  Some parents are hostile to the idea.  It is a question of doing the right thing for the locality.  The need is for organisations that can raise standards in a short time and Academies have been successful in doing that.

The usual route to becoming an academy is either:

  • A business sponsor taking over a school (usually a failing school)
  • A strong head who is asked to get involved in other schools (which is the most common model) – with a structure where one corporate body oversees a number of schools.

Obviously, it can be a big leap from being a primary school teacher to becoming Chief Executive of an organisation with a budget of £10-200 million.  Academy Ambassadors come in to help match people who want to make a contribution on a pro bono basis to support these teachers by joining multi academy trust boards.

The educational environment is stimulating and has plenty of governance challenges, in particular, a number of growing Academies need to establish an independent corporate body/central board to oversee the local school governing bodies.

Gavin was introduced to Academy Ambassadors following a BCKR breakfast and was interested in having a mixed portfolio which included the voluntary sector.

He joined REAch2, which is one of the largest primary multi academy trusts, with 58 schools.  It is the largest primary-only academy and covers the UK up to the midlands.  Reach4 and Reach South cover Yorkshire and the South Coast.

The challenge with primary school Academies is that they are made up of many more smaller schools.  REAch2 has an income of £100 million and a staff of 4000.

It was established by Sir Steve Lancashire who developed a scalable system, with central services to keep pace with the rate of expansion.  It is all funded through grants per pupil – though extra funding is received for converting a school to an academy.   The board are not involved in any external fundraising.  The bare facts are that increased occupancy equals more income.  Academy schools all come from the state system.

Gavin’s first role for REAch2 was to join one of their Regional Boards.  There are 4 regions with 15 schools in each region.  There is also a central trust board.  This is quite a governance-heavy model.

On the Regional Board Gavin stepped up to be Chair of the Education Committee.  It was a fast learning curve, particularly learning to disseminate educational data.  As a competition lawyer, Gavin didn’t feel particularly well versed in Corporate Governance.  But the Committee consisted of two head teachers and one governor who were experienced in education which helped.   The focus was mainly on strategy, direction and also risk and audit.

He later moved to the Trust Board where he became Deputy Chair.  They formed a Rem Com and he sits on that too. The statutory accounts, which are published, are heavily scrutinised.  Executive pay is a very hot topic as is gender pay gap.   Education has the 2nd/3rd worst gender gap.

Now Gavin is also on a Governance Steering committee set up to examine the governance model, allowing greater power for the Regional Boards.  He has found the regional board level to be very interesting – in particular, the detailed discussions about improving local schools.

The heads teachers report to the Regional Director who has a team of 4-5 assistant directors who go into help turn schools around.


What are the advantages of an Academy Trust role?

It is very clearly a NED role (not a governor role).  Multi academy trust boards are definitely corporate roles.

Do schools in these large trusts still have local governing bodies?  Yes – they are a mix of parent and non-parent trustees.  They play a governing/supervisory role in relation to their individual schools, but they cannot, for example, hire or fire a head teacher.  They tend to oversee the following areas:

  • Disciplinary and performance issues
  • Parent/staff surveys
  • Holding the Head teacher to account
  • Curriculum – the local offering to pupils

They are not involved in the strategy of the trust.

Resources are shared across schools – which is really the most valuable asset of the MATs.  For example, a good leader from one school will share best practice in failing schools.

Financially, MAT boards focus on the reserves policy.  Finance for the MATs is received through ‘top-slice’.  Each school in the trust receives money directly on a per pupil basis and the trust will take a percentage off the top.  The role of a trust includes:

  • Educational performance
  • Creating capacity
  • Challenging schools on resources
  • Top slice policy


If you are looking to take on a role what should you look for?

  • Think about the nature of the challenge you want
  • 5% of trusts are in a turn-around scenario
  • A match has a lot to do with geography and time available. Anticipate 5-6 hours a month but realistically it will be 8 hours.  Gavin does 4 days per term.  Initially you need to get up to speed with a lot of jargon
  • Your decision will most likely come down to how you think you will get on with the other members of the board.

Gavin has found it to be a manageable and very rewarding role.  You learn an enormous amount from fellow trustees and it is a very good intro to NED roles.

If you are interested in pursuing a role with an Academy Trust, BCKR members can have a one-to-one conversation with an experienced adviser at Academy Ambassadors to help match them to a role. The locations where roles are currently available for lawyers are: Bexley, Leicestershire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham and Liverpool. However, further roles are coming on-line this month in London, the South-east, South-West as well as northern regions. By registering your interest now, you will be informed of these roles when they are available.


Further information is available here and BCKR’s contact is kirstywatt@newschoolsnetwork.org who you can email to express interest.


Lord Falconer: The nerdiest of lawyers can make a decision without reading all the papers or having all the boxes ticked

This week we were delighted to welcome Lord Charles Falconer to BCKR.

Looking back Charlie’s experience as a lawyer could seem quite depressing.  Between the ages of 22-45 he was the nerdiest commercial barrister. He had concluded that success was brought about by serious hard work and always being on top of things – mostly on top of reading the papers.  But now – after broadening his career with a stint in politics – he can look back and see how completely absorbed in the day job he was and that there actually other approaches to success beyond being the best-read person in the room.

Having made silk at 40, he was appointed to the post of Solicitor General at 45 (this had no relation to the fact that he used to share a room with the PM at school).  Charlie had come to believe that lawyers were the cleverest, most hard-working individuals out there but he was disabused of the opinion during his time as Solicitor General.  As a politician, the ability to think strategically and to connect with other people was equally as important as being across the facts.  He learned that lawyers aren’t very good at that. You sometimes have to make decisions without knowing absolutely everything.  He felt a bit at sea to begin with.

He moved from the SG role to being in charge of the Millennium Dome.  Pretty disastrous for him.  He was then moved to the Department of Housing which was a liberation.  This gave him experience of a job outside of the law, with few papers to read, where the aim was fundamentally to help as many people without means as possible to get housing.  This required developing relations in and out of politics to secure the necessary help.  It is true to say that he became completely obsessed with housing.

After a year however, lawyers in politics were in short supply and he was moved to the post of Criminal Justice lawyer for the Home Office.

When Charlie left the world of politics he really wanted to continue working in housing.  By that time housing associations were the biggest sector building affordable housing, local authorities having been deprived of the ability to build after Thatcher introduced the ‘right to buy’.  Housing associations have their beginnings in charities or religious organisations and most range from small and local to huge associations worth billions with strong covenants relying on large numbers of tenants receiving housing benefit.

Charlie chaired Amicus Horizon for 9 years and found it to be an incredibly worthwhile experience.  When he joined, the board was mainly populated with resident trustees but over the years they expanded numbers.  More independent professionals including accountants and people from HR backgrounds.  When he joined, at the start , they were actually in supervision due to a range of bad decisions that included:

  • Bad maintenance contracts
  • Health and safety issues
  • Fraud and corruption

Between 2008-2017 Amicus merged, came out of supervision and built more houses than any other association in London.

Housing associations are keen to get high calibre professionals on their boards and lawyers’ skills are a good match.  You get a much better understanding of the issues at a board table if there is a broad range of people, especially if you include those whom you might not come into contact with otherwise.   You do need to be able to think strategically and it can be time consuming when you are firefighting.  But housing (or the lack thereof) is an incredibly important aspect of social justice.  If the issues aren’t addressed the UK may find itself in a similar situation as the US where communities are polarised – the extremely wealthy living in one area, next to those living in poverty.  A two-tier city like Los Angeles.  It is a massive social problem.  But because of that, sitting on a housing association board gives you much needed insight in to a world that would otherwise pass you by.

Lawyers aren’t thought to bring much to the table.  Can fall into two categories

  1. Big rhetoricians
  2. Read all the papers

In between are people who are able to deal with others, and to come to a conclusion about a problem without dotting every ‘i’.

Lawyers are reluctant leaders.  Happy to dominate and control but ultimately shuffle the actual decision onto the client.


There is a balance somewhere between outrage and detail.



Ultimately his full engagement with a topic made him more willing to offer his views on issues, to form a view then provide the support for that view (where the reading remains useful), and always followed by leadership.  As Solicitor General he had to engage in public policy issues as a lawyer – he was not particularly well liked by lawyers or politicians at that time, and he was particularly struck by the ability of non-lawyers to make good strategic decisions drawing on insights rather than by reading all the facts and figures first.  Despite his political career he will always be perceived as a lawyer.  There were people who questioned the decision to have a lawyer as Chair Amicus Horizon – even though he had been Minister for Housing!  So – there are definitely hurdles to overcome.


What motivated you to go into politics?

Charlies absolutely loved the commercial bar but he had always engaged in politics and after the Labour landslide, when the role of Solicitor General came up he thought that it would be a two-year job and then he’d go back to being a barrister.  He didn’t go into politics because he’d had enough of the law.  He measures real success as gaining the approval of judges and lawyers …. He is still waiting for that!


In Housing Associations now, there is a tremendous tension between the profit making machine and developing enough affordable homes.  How do you Housing Associations best deal with this tension? 

Between 2010-2015 the government was pressing hard on Housing Associations to use their assets to make more money e.g.  building 3 large houses in Mayfair and using the profit from those to build 30,000 affordable homes.   A political issue – having assets which you should sweat for greater good.  But housing is very dependent on grants, regulation and goodwill from government.  The politics has changed as government has become aware that they need to put more grants.  Simplistically more government money will equal more houses.


What are the warning signs to look out for if you are thinking of joining a Housing Association board?

  1. Strange movements of cash in the accounts
  2. Resident complaints
  3. Contractor manipulation


How do they recruit NEDs?

  1. Headhunters – Saxton Bampfylde and Odgers
  2. Inside Housing Magazine


There is no shortage of vacancies for these roles and in the next 18 months there will probably be a number of Housing Associations refreshing their boards as terms reach their end.  If you make an approach to a local association they may suggest you start on a committee first and then transfer you on to the board


The most important thing is that you need to be engaged and represent and stand for the values of the organisation.

Josyane Gold: Networking, focus and persistence – the key to attaining your first role

We recently welcomed Josyane Gold, retired lawyer, to BCKR to share her thoughts with us.

Zygos appointed Josyane to the board of Electra Private Equity, a FTSE 250 investment trust, 5 years ago, after retiring from her 25-year career as a corporate partner at S J Berwin.  At that time there was no structure or support for senior partners thinking about life after the law, so she felt she had to be very strategic about her transition, particularly once she’d decided to go down the route of looking for non-executive roles.

She spoke to her managing partner about this transition, explaining that it would take time to find the first roles but that if she succeeded, it would be positive for the firm and would reflect well on the practice.  She negotiated a phased departure over 3 years, reducing her equity accordingly and then moving to a consultancy role at 3 days per week.

Josyane felt she needed the time to draw a line under her legal career.  She suggested a financial package to the managing partner that included access to a senior coach or career adviser of her choice (at the firm’s cost) for 18 months.  She felt this was necessary, so she could learn more about the world outside law since she had been so heavily focused on her legal career, and she didn’t really know what her skills were beyond the legal ones.

Josyane began the process of looking for her first role by examining her goals, skills and what really mattered to her.  The consultant helped her recognise and understand her skills and how they were transferable and also helped with creating a new CV.

Networking was where it started.  She had lots of introductions from people who had gone through the process of retiring, or joining the non-executive world.  She began meeting with headhunters and looked at roles in listed and unlisted companies.  She didn’t really know where she was heading.  Without fail, the headhunters told her that they NEVER received a mandate for lawyers – which was rather deflating.  Though saying that – her first role did come through a recruiter.

Critically Josyane’s recommendation is that you focus on your own network.  She had coffees left right and centre with clients, letting them know that she was looking, making connections all the time.  Your first role will inevitably come directly or indirectly from your connections.

She attended seminars, joined the FT NED club and took relevant courses.

She spent time on her on-line profile, creating a website and up-dating her Linked-In profile.

After a few months, she received a call from a headhunter regarding the role at Electra, who were looking to recruit a non-exec (to replace a retiring board member) with someone with a legal background!  Josyane felt comfortable in that sector and coincidentally the retiring director was an old client who had come to see Josyane 6 years prior regarding taking on the role herself at Electra.  There is no doubt – for the first time in her career – that diversity worked in her favour for this appointment.

For Josyane it was a perfect starting point.  She undertook plenty of due diligence, got up to speed on corporate governance and got straight down to a full induction process.  There were 6 board members, all fully independent non-execs.  The role of the board was to choose and supervise the fund manager.  A wholly non-executive structure, which works to a point but when something crops up, it all falls apart a bit.

Josyane was engaged for 20 days a year including the AGM and strategy day.  The board was diverse in terms of men and women and skills.  There was an excellent dynamic and they built constructive relationships with the manager.  Josyane learned a lot from her fellow board members.  It probably took 3 years to feel confident in that role but thereafter, she felt she had properly made the shift from the role of an adviser to that of principal.

She wasn’t initially clear where she could contribute.  It took time to find her feet and understand that she had something to say.  The process was accelerated by the arrival of an ‘activist’ board member.  It was a fascinating, if time consuming, period but it proved that she did have something to bring to the table.  During that process she saw the best and worst of listed boards.  Ultimately the activist took control of the board and most of the previous board members resigned.

After leaving Electra Josyane joined the board of advisers for Palamon, where she is highly involved with the investment team.  She has built up an ambassadorial role with Palamon.

She is also mentoring several former clients and doing some charity work alongside.


  • Seek assistance at the start of your transition to help you with re-packaging yourself.
  • Work your own network.
  • Start thinking about this step early.
  • Focus on an industry sector where you have experience – all options are open after your first role.
  • If serious about building a portfolio – take on other roles during your first role – don’t wait.
  • Undertake careful due diligence before taking on your first role – but it won’t tell you everything.
  • Continue learning and networking through seminars etc.
  • Persevere – it is a satisfying and challenging route to take post law.



When you joined Electra did it operate in the way you expected?

The first thing that hit her was that so much is financial.  Looking at performance, running through valuations (not her background).  Others around the board table were better equipped.  It took a while to recognise that this was not a problem.

She thought she’d be required to be a funds specialist but that wasn’t really the case.  She was put on the Management Engagement committee which was all about building relationships managers and this really spoke to her skills.

Taking time to understand the dynamics of the board and what other members had to add was important in recognising her own skills.

All your preparation can only take you so far.  The rest you learn on the job.  On the whole as a lawyer, you don’t get to see the decisions being made, so you are not there seeing the full panoply of things the board are discussing.

Josyane was lucky to have a very supportive Chairman who took her aside once and said she was doing a good job but that she didn’t look like she was enjoying it (which was probably true).  At that point she gave herself permission to do so.


Were there skills that you had never been required to use as a lawyer that you have since had to learn?

She was attracted by the notion of being a principal rather than adviser.  That was the main change.  During one verification process at Electra, Allen & Overy were up all night working on the verification notes.  Josyane went to bed and just had to sign the papers in the morning.  That really brought home to her that she was now in a different role.

It is good to get out of your comfort zone.  Comfort can mean coasting.  You learn quickly on the job.  It is scary but suddenly you realise from a business perspective that you understand so much more about how a business runs.  You never lose the fear that things will go wrong – but that is what keeps the adrenalin pumping.  Don’t shy away from the numbers.

Lawyers haven’t helped themselves by not building their profiles whilst in full time practice – so take more time to prove themselves.


How is being a lawyer informing your contribution around the board table?

  • Analytical skills – the ability to assimilate and articulate
  • Breadth of contact and industry knowledge
  • Risk




Karen Brown: “Why would you want a lawyer on your charity board? Why wouldn’t you?”

We recently welcomed Karen Brown to BCKR to share her thoughts with us.

When asked the question why would you want a lawyer on your charity board, Karen’s response would be – why wouldn’t you? Maybe the better question might be “why would a lawyer want to be on a charity board”?

Things have changed dramatically in the last 5 years. There has been a huge shift in governance with the external environment requiring much more formal governance procedure to be in place. Some charities are still adjusting to this.

How lawyers would be viewed on boards depends very much on the lawyer. Boards are there to help create an environment where the organisation can take risks but achieve its mission safely.

Enabling lawyers were the ones Karen liked when she was working in broadcasting. The prejudices against lawyers are well known – that they have a tick-box mind-set, aversion to risks etc. – but Karen is yet to come across one of those. Lawyers’ experience is all about dealing with messes and they are able to bring:

  • Good analytical skills
  • All round abilities
  • The right questions to ask
  • Values that match the organisation
  • Strategic brain

They are people who know how to flex, roll up their sleeves, advise at times and insist at other times.

We overlook the point that lawyers have a far broader experience than they are generally credited with, managing large businesses dealing with many of the same issues as other organisations. Issues around law and fundraising are under-resourced in terms of legal support within charities so it can be very useful to have a lawyer on your board.

How does selection work?

Some charities only use search agencies for Chair recruitment. But the principles are the same whether the search for trustees is being done through an agency or by the organisation itself – so building your networks is the first task.

Usually, the board will go through a standard skills audit and look for the experience that is lacking. Look at the diversity of the existing board in terms of all protected characteristics e.g. gender, BAME, also where you live, socio economic mix, age etc and mode of thinking (lateral, creative, strategic).

Achieving the optimum board skills can be a difficult balance to strike. Very often, recruiting organisations can be blind to the breadth an individual can offer. So it is up to you – the applicant – to demonstrate that.

Expect to prep hard. Quite often a potential trustee gets turned away only to be appointed at a later date. It is important to understand the reasoning behind a board’s decision not to take you on. Get to know the organisation better, if appropriate, and apply again.

Another route to board appointment is to do other volunteering for the organisation such as supporting the legal department, being on a sub-committee or doing a piece of work for the organisation.

How do you decide if the organisation is right for you?

Think about what your interests are.

  • Do you like large or small organisations?
  • What drives you? You need passion for the organisation. Think hard about whether you are prepared to be up at night worrying for them.
  • Do your due diligence – think about what might go wrong.

Due diligence – how do you start the process?

  • Ask questions.
  • What does the organisation say about itself?
  • What do others say about the organisation?
  • What are the main issues facing the organisation?
  • Insist on talking to the company secretary.
  • Check regulatory record.
  • Check fundraising practices.
  • Spot check e.g. Is their website compliant?

The most important thing is to have an understanding of the organisation’s culture. Talk to other trustees (including outgoing trustees) though choose carefully. Meet the Chair and CE.

How do you diagnose the functionality of the board?

  • Ask questions and listen out for ‘weasel words’.
  • Look at annual governance review.
  • If you are offered the role but feel that you need more information, you can say yes subject to further due diligence.
  • The risk is usually not so much what is known (but perhaps not disclosed) but the information which should have been known but isn’t.
  • It may be useful to talk to the Finance Officer too.

Lawyers on boards provide mixture of advice and insistence but avoid being an unpaid professional adviser. It has always been the right of trustees to get legal advice paid for. Obviously, a lawyer on a board should not be the provider of that advice (while still giving their views and suggesting sources of advice).

Lawyers on boards should be aware that they will be held to a higher standard in carrying out their role given their professional background.

How do you get the best from board members?

Be clear with each other about requirements and expectations.
Conduct annual reviews. Give feedback.
Understand things from the organisation’s perspective.

There is nothing grand about being the trustee of a charity. Think of yourself as a servant.
It can be incredibly rewarding, working with brilliant people doing extraordinary work.
The important point is never to lose sight of the mission of your organisation.

Have you seen lawyers exploited?

The very nature of being a trustee in the charity sector is in part to be exploited for your experience. When inappropriate, you can say no.

General Discussion

The Charity Commission guidance is very vague. Regulators seem to deliberately leave requirements that way with considerable scope for interpretation. They then, in retrospect, hold you accountable.

Oxfam and others have been working on how law firms can provide help to charities in a pro-bono way. Firms could make a huge contribution to the charity sector not just through being trustees e.g. there might be scope for joint procurement to increase opportunities and reduce costs.

It is very important to have at least one trustee with finance expertise on the board, who understands accounts. Finance is such a crucial aspect of a charity’s success and survival.

If you look at a number of charities in crisis, a common theme is that they are doing good but feel they are above compliance with the rules at the same time. This challenge is not helped by the volume of guidance on the rules by lawyers, accountants and the Charity Commission but without these, charities do not have the know-how to put the rules into practice.

Some suggestions for strengthening governance

– For trustees ideally, there could be a simple core set of guidance – with an online test to be completed before becoming a trustee.
– There should be more reliance on audit and external reviews.
– Trustees shouldn’t be paid – but for larger charities the model could be a supervisory board made up of (unpaid) NEDs responsible for governance and an executive board made up of senior executives responsible for management.
– Charities need to spend more money on governance and resource areas of concern.

A large proportion of the country’s services in social welfare and the education sector are delivered by small charities. The country is increasingly dependent on them.

Challenges facing the charity sector:

  • Charities don’t have the resources for dealing with a media crisis, where there will generally be a long period of being scrutinised by the press.
  • Need to draw a distinction between charities who are also contractors and other service providers.
  • There is a proliferation of ‘any one can have a go’ small organisations, with inherent weaknesses (including approaches to compliance with the rules).
  • With so many different challenges for the sector, the Charity Commission lacks the resources to address the issues.
  • Small charities, with few to no employees at all, are subject to the risk of founder’s syndrome or abuse of the charity.
  • It is easy to characterise organisations as thinking the mission is more important than the meeting the rules. Having said that, some rules are a major impediment to the mission of some charities. For instance, the money laundering/banking rules make getting cash to a disaster zone safely virtually impossible.

Denise Jagger: “Being on a board gives you skills – which can help your law firm”

We recently welcomed Denise Jagger to BCKR, who shared with us her wealth of expertise acquired on her non-executive journey which, rather unusually, began when she was in her 30s.

Top tips:

  • Getting a portfolio takes a long time, so you do have to start early and put in the effort.
  • Do not underestimate the power of your network. Denise found her most interesting roles on her own. Your contacts are important; you can use them for several things, not just getting you introductions to roles but also later on to introduce donors to charities, for example.
  • Do not assume that people will think of you as a candidate, lawyers aren’t good at self-publicising, so you need to let people know that you are looking for non-executive roles.
  • It’s important to start looking for NED roles while you’re still in an executive role and your contacts are in your reach. Before you leave your firm!
  • Educate yourself, using organisations such as BCKR, or taking finance courses for non-accountants, to become financially literate. You have to have a way to overcome that prejudice.
  • Do use a separate CV for non-executive applications. It should be completely different from your legal CV.
  • Don’t rule anything out. Denise used always to say she wouldn’t do financial services, but then got offered a role in insurance and it ended up being one of the most important and interesting things she’d ever done.
  • Get yourself known with the headhunters. Use your contacts to help with introductions.

Skills rather than deals

There is an increased focus on diversity on boards now, so it is getting easier for lawyers (despite still being presented as the ‘wildcard’ on headhunters’ short lists).

Boards never look specifically for lawyers; there is a massively out-dated stereotypical view of lawyers. We don’t need a lawyer; we can buy in that skill/we have a GC already/a lawyer will stop us from doing what we want etc. So it’s important to bring out your skills rather than your deals.

It can be easier for in-house lawyers who have sat on committees and boards, or even for lawyers who have run legal teams or departments. You need to point out your managerial skills in that case. Show your vision and strategic capabilities.

Sector experience can be a benefit, depending on the situation, but not necessarily. Some don’t want their board members to have sector experience because they have it in drones already in their executive team, but there can be situations where it’s appreciated.

Charity trustee role

Get experience early on. For example, start by becoming a charity trustee, get your first role under your belt, and build your experience from there. These can help hugely if you want to move into commercial roles later, because you meet the right people and develop the right skills.
You can learn so much, there are some hugely talented, resourceful, creative, interesting people on these trusts and trustee roles are not that difficult to get in comparison with listed company NED roles.

Denise was once on a museum trust, where she learned lots of useful skills she could use later on. She got it because she was a local. Find something that fits your interests e.g. conservation, riding, education, NHS etc.

Don’t wait for a job notice, just get in touch, write in and offer your skills. In smaller trusts you may be asked to chair a committee, so it’s a great opportunity.

How did she get her first roles?

  • 1st role: While she was in private practice, she did an IPO for a healthcare client. Years later, the client called her up and offered her a board role.
  • 2nd role: Whilst GC at Asda, a friend of a friend met the chair of a building association who needed someone with consumer experience.
  • Next roles: Local museum trust and other smaller industry panels. Started to build out her CV.
  • 1st PLC role: Redrow, the house builder, she got the job following her responsibility at Asda for onboarding subsidiaries. This led to other PLC roles such as Belway, another house builder.

How does she manage her executive and non-executive career simultaneously?

When she joined Asda she already had a role, asked to keep it and they let her. Then she took on additional roles within Asda. It’s harder in private practice but not impossible. Sometimes there can be conflicts of interest, or at least perceptions of them.

Now she’s a 3-day Partner at Eversheds and not a fee earner, which takes off some pressure. It takes a lot of planning and time management.

When she returned to private practice she was able to negotiate and brought her portfolio with her. It’s easier to make the case in point when you’re closer to retirement. It has definitely given her skills, which have helped her firm.

What roles would you decline?

Don’t just take the first role that comes along, as you have to commit to minimum three years. If you can only take on one role whilst you’re working full time, you need to make sure it’s the right role.

You’re doing it for interest, not for money, so pick well.

Meet as many people as you can. Do your due diligence. Insist on seeing the people you think are important. You have to get on with the Chairman and build a relationship.

Is there a danger that you get perceived as ‘non-commercial’ if you have a couple of charity trustee roles?

It’s a catch 22. The danger is there, so be weary. Do take on 1 or 2 charity roles as a way in, you’ll be meeting people on those boards who are perhaps on other commercial boards.

Are boards really looking for governance experience?

The smaller firms certainly are. Even if you’re not a governance specialist, as a lawyer you will intuitively know where to look. You will have a good sense and can get up to speed quickly. You can spot problems that to lawyers are common sense, but perhaps not to a commercial person, and you can come up with quick solutions. So governance is helpful.

Is it getting easier for lawyers to get on boards because of the regulatory environment?

It is becoming more important, so lawyers tick the box. Even if it’s not on the job spec and they’re not specifically looking for it, you should point out where you have an advantage.

How do you get headhunters to take you seriously?

Once you’ve been placed once, they will keep calling you, so you just need to get your foot in the door. Keep plugging at it, and after a while you will move up the pecking order. It’s all part of networking. Keep in touch. Always be helpful to them if they’re looking for names.

The Lawyer: What law firms are doing about retirement assistance – and where they’re failing

By Matt Byrne 6 March 2018, The Lawyer magazine

The idea of offering partner retirement assistance is heartily supported by top law firms. However, the results of our survey reveal that what they actually provide lacks the structure and innovative thinking found at the big accountacy firms.


“To what extent do you think that both firms and partners nearing retirement benefit if the former provides specific retirement-related assistance to the latter?”

While UK law firms continue to face criticism in many quarters for their approach to retirement-related issues, the results of our survey suggest that an overwhelming majority have at least recognised the potential value of providing assistance.

Some 71 per cent of total respondents said they agreed entirely that both firms and partners nearing retirement could benefit if the former provided retirement-related assistance to the latter. Another 18 per cent agreed to an extent, while the remaining 11 per cent were neutral. No respondents said they disagreed with the statement.

What the market says:

Jane Harris, partner, Milestones: More firms are taking retirement-related assistance more seriously than ever before, though they are somewhat behind the accountancy firms when it comes to structured programmes and alumni networks.

Traditionally, law firms have only thought about supporting their partners when there is a problem with performance or behaviour. However, there is now a realisation that it makes sense to be more proactive about this and treat retiring partners well so that they can leave healthy, happy and as ambassadors for the firm.

There is clearly a need for practical support, yet firms are also starting to recognise the value of placing emphasis on emotional wellbeing and providing support that helps to strengthen personal resilience when it comes to retirement.

Tony Williams, principal, Jomati: It is encouraging, at last, to see that firms now recognise they have an issue and that a constructive and proactive approach to retirement is necessary, even if they are hazy as to how to achieve this.”

Anna Ponton, head of legal and professional services, Odgers Berndtson: Ending the relationship between partner and law firm on a sour note or with a sense of lingering disappointment is not good for either party, particularly the law firm. Happy alumni can be useful alumni in terms of promoting the firm’s brand in a general way.

Loyal alumni who move on and get involved in other things will always think of their former firm first if they are asked to give recommendations.


“To what extent do you believe there is a business/marketing opportunity for firms to differentiate themselves by offering specific retirement-related assistance to their partners?”

This question sought to identify specifically whether or not UK firms believe that the provision of retirement-related advice could offer them some sort of commercial advantage. It was designed to assess the extent to which there is the potential for firms to differentiate themselves by offering retirement-related advice.

While the results were less clear-cut than those to Question 1, the overall picture is clear: the majority of respondents say they believe there is an opportunity.

In all, 29 per cent of firms agreed entirely with the statement while another 43 per cent agreed to an extent. Another 18 per cent were neutral, while 11 per cent disagreed to an extent.

What the market says:

Elizabeth Holden, director, BCKR: The benefits of helping retiring partners extends deep into the firm and beyond. Trainees sitting with those retiring, aspiring partners and longstanding clients all watch how the firm treats its partners.

Williams: Leaders apparently recognise that doing the right thing in terms of retirement is also good business whether in terms of better retention, improved engagement, living the firm’s culture or creating ambassadors for the firm rather than detractors.

Ponton: Providing help reflects on the culture of the firm and its standing as a ‘good place to work’. It can be a positive move on the age-related diversity and inclusion front too. But fundamentally this is about treating people with dignity and respect – people who have, let’s remember, devoted much of their life (usually) to one firm.

George Wilkinson, partner, Milestones: The larger accountancy firms and business consultancies have been quick to see the commercial value of putting in place a supportive framework for their partners when it comes to retirement.

What we have seen in the legal sector mirrors these findings in that partners are likely to continue to be active, many will bring new client work back into the firm, others are involved in charities or start-ups, creating potential new income streams. Yet many law firms continue to be slow to react, failing to place sufficient emphasis and focus on this. It takes a senior sponsor to make this work and it should be higher up the HR agenda. Only then can the benefits be realised.


“If you agree, what would you say are the primary opportunities/benefits to the firm of doing this?”

The survey now turns to specifics, asking those firms that agreed with Question 2 to state why they did so and also to detail what they would consider to be the primary opportunities or benefits to a firm of providing retirement-related assistance.

“We agree that there may be a marketing opportunity for firms offering assistance for retirement as it can be a valuable tool for those in the position to take advantage of it,” pointed out one firm.

“However, aside from the marketing opportunity we believe that partners benefit greatly from assistance with preparing their retirement, both in a practical sense and in relation to the psychological side too. It can be a challenging time for people who have dedicated a great proportion of their life to their work. This is particularly true for many of our partners who have not infrequently spent a great deal of their working life, if not all of it, with the firm.

“Partners are more likely to feel comfortable about retirement if they have received assistance from the firm in preparing them for it, meaning they feel positively about it and are more likely to work with the firm to hand over relevant matters, information and contacts, and leave their successors better prepared to take over their clients.”

One firm flagged up the issue of retention as an increasingly important market issue at all levels of seniority due to the increased mobility of lawyers.

“Partners who can see that their eventual transition from partnership will be managed well are more likely to stay; and, when they do leave, to remain positive towards the firm,” said this firm. “It also has a positive impact on morale as senior partners are often highly respected and popular individuals who have played major roles in training the next generation of lawyers.”

Another summed up the benefits neatly: “1) It helps the firm proactively plan succession for key roles, client relationships and skills gaps. By encouraging the partners to prepare for retirement, they are more likely to open up their client relationships to others and develop others in the team. 2) If the firm understands the aspirations and needs of retiring partners they can tailor the support provided and, where appropriate, retain expertise within the business in a non-partner role, eg senior counsel. 3) Partners that retire and leave the business feeling well-supported will remain advocates of the firm and potentially create work referrals from within their network, e.g. from non-executive networks or offer mentoring support to remaining lawyers. 4) It can send a good message to staff if they see a positive exit from the business, and relationships maintained post-retirement.

All of the above, if delivered correctly, should certainly help differentiate a firm in a competitive marketplace. Another firm addresses this point, stating “whilst I do not see the primary aim of retirement-related assistance as creating a business or marketing opportunity, there are benefits in ensuring that partners leaving a firm ‘leave well’ and act as advocates for the firm. This may include creating connections and referrals, consultancy opportunities for the individual within the firm and building a network of individuals who feel a sense of pride in having worked for us during their careers. Any assistance/support provided to partners approaching retirement demonstrates that the firm treats retirement seriously”.

The latter point is echoed by another firm, which states: “It shows they care from the cradle to the grave not just for the new recruits – who will all become old one day.”

Another, even more pithily, sums up the benefits of a firm offering its partners better holistic care: “Everyone is an alumnus eventually.”

What the market says:

Harris: What is clear is that when individual partners feel they have something to move on to they are better at succession planning, clearer about client handover and more transparent with the firm. These behaviours help to reduce all the commercial risks associated with a senior person leaving.

Those who don’t feel supported or part of the wider alumni of the firm will tend to talk negatively about the firm and their experience, which damages the firm’s reputation and can often mean clients go elsewhere as they feel their relationship has also ended when the partner leaves.

Treating people with dignity while acknowledging their contribution makes for a successful, supportive retirement programme. The benefits are many but perhaps the most poignant is the strengthening of the relationship between partner and firm. Giving partners permission to think about their next steps impacts all aspects of their lives, and all the people around them. Ultimately, it is the right thing for the firm to do.


“Specify the most significant initiative/area of assistance your firm has introduced in recent years that was aimed at helping its partners prepare for retirement”

Staying with firm-specific information, we asked firms to tell us about the measures they have in place to help partners prepare for retirement. ‘Coaching’ looms large among the responses, with schemes including one-on-one sessions with an external provider to help partners start thinking about career planning, and coaching ‘for the life change’.

One firm said it offered “dedicated retirement planning”, with additional training on related areas. Several responses suggested that the sense that firms are behind the curve in terms of offering structured retirement assistance to partners is not too wide of the mark.

“Sadly, very little of note,” said one firm, while another said “None, other than making decent profits to enable them to retire.”

This respondent went on to say that their firm was “at the outset” of developing initiatives to support partner retirement.

“Our focus to date has been on having honest conversations with our partners about potential timescales for their retirement,” the firm added. “These conversations allow us to be more proactive around our plans and gives partners a greater sense of confidence that we will work with them to ensure their knowledge and experience is gradually transferred to future leaders.”

One firm argued that succession planning was a two-way process for the clients and lawyers.

“Clients should know of any plans well in advance and I have not come across any evidence of any push from clients for new relationship partners,” added the firm. “As long as a quality service is still being undertaken clients are happy. Firms should recognise this like US firms do, with no compulsory retirement age. Medicals should be provided FOC to protect both sides.”

One UK 200 top 30 firm highlighted its partners’ ability to reduce working days over an agreed period, while another said it held annual lunches with retired partners, who are also invited to all the firm’s partner retirement dinners.

“We provide them with our quarterly news magazine [while] partners are offered support with IT training and assistance,” added the firm. “Coaching as to specific needs is also freely available.”

Only one firm, a large international player, specifically highlighted financial planning advice:

“We use the firm’s private wealth offering and offer an in-house legal allowance to partners to use for financial planning, tax and probate services. Last year we launched an awareness campaign around this benefit to all partners to encourage them to draw down on [it] to establish the essentials they should have in place, whether or not they are nearing retirement. We offer this to all partners including newly promoted partners and lateral hires.”

Another firm seemed much more geared up to assisting partners on retirement-related issues than the norm, at least judging by its response to this question: “We created a collection of documents which are issued to all our partners considering retirement in the next two years.

The documents include a retirement handbook which covers a range of practical advice and support for personal and professional considerations when approaching retirement, and retirement form templates for the partner to complete. The latter detail: the matters on which partners are involved to help the partner conclude them in an organised and methodical way; suggestions of tasks that should be considered ahead of retirement, matter-related and non-matter related; at what stage before retirement the transfer of leadership roles should happen and the way this is undertaken; and the transfer of key relationships to others in the team, training and mentoring responsibilities. In implementing the use of the forms we invite the relevant departmental managing partner, HR and the individual to meet to agree the information that will formulate the pre-retirement plan.”

What the market says:

Ponton: This is a very personal and critical career transition point. Being given a handbook that details what you need to do to hand over clients is frankly rather impersonal and only really benefits the firm. One of the Big Four allows partners in their 50s to attend a group seminar about life after the firm.

Once they have given their year’s notice they get sent a form/handbook that outlines what they have to do to transfer their client relationships. That’s it.

What individuals need and want is somebody to spend a little time with them. There is a tendency to feel ‘scrap-heaped’ the minute you have declared your hand. Suddenly, these partners feel they are ‘yesterday’s people’.

One of the big issues here is timing. Partners leave it far too late to start thinking about life outside the firm, but can you blame them when they see what has happened to their colleagues? This needs to be addressed at an earlier stage and the stigma of talking about and positioning for the future removed.

One suggestion would be to encourage a discussion about life outside the firm for all partners and staff, so it is not always focused on life ‘after’. So, at the point of stepping off they have relevant experience to draw on and can offer referees and a network who have seen them in action beyond being ‘just’ a lawyer.

One-on-one coaching for, say, four sessions can make a huge difference and help partners understand what lies ahead. It helps them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and, quite frankly, just provides some ‘me’ time. A good coach can help them to establish what they want, identify their network and give them the confidence to strike out into the new world. Life in a law firm is extraordinarily cocooned.

In a room of 25 soon-to-retire partners at a recent event I spoke at not a single person was being given any one-to-one help, although all professed to wanting it. They were all at big commercial firms.

Wilkinson: Our experience is that law firms are particularly cautious when it comes to spending money on development, assistance and support for their partners. There is often a difference in opinion and perspective between partners and HR. This, in turn, leads to a difference between what is delivered and what is experienced.

Many firms struggle to get the messaging right, and the content aligned with what is of most value for partners. Having a fresh pair of eyes and an external perspective makes a big difference. This is often not something that can be managed internally by the firm, particularly in the early stages.

Holden: There is much that can be done in this area, often involving extending a partner’s valuable contribution to the firm or increasing the likelihood that their activities during retirement will also benefit the firm.

Our experience over recent years is that firms are definitely improving in this area. The key to a successful retirement is good early planning, made available to all as a matter of course.


“Do you believe there is a benefit to your firm of partners taking non-executive directorship (or other external appointment) roles post-retirement?”

Moving on to non-executive directorships (NEDs) and other external roles, the response to Question 5 which asked whether firms thought there was a benefit to the firm of partners taking these on post-retirement was again overwhelmingly in favour, with 89 per cent of respondents saying they believed there was a benefit to the firm. Just 11 per cent said no.

What the market says:

Holden: It is great to see this level of enthusiasm for post-firm NED roles but, as those embarking on this path know, there is much to be done to bring it about. Being a lawyer, even a very successful partner at a top City firm, does not guarantee you any roles.

Wilkinson: The reality is that for many partners getting the time to focus on NED roles outside the firm is simply not on the agenda. Firms could do more to promote and support this, as clearly there are tangible benefits for both parties. Some firms have an excellent system for sabbaticals and perhaps introducing something similar where time spent working in different sectors or for clients in-house could make all the difference.


“If yes, what is your firm doing to assist these partners to obtain such roles? If no, what do you see as being the biggest barriers/risks to them doing so?”

In the follow-up question, we asked both sides to provide their reasons. One respondent highlighted the issue of reputational risk with any appointment.

“Lawyers are likely to be more natural NEDs for public sector/quango roles and trustee roles,” argued this firm. “Unless partners are familiar with, and can present in, a listed company environment, in a non-legal role, they are likely to be perceived, often unfairly, as being too risk-averse, and too concerned with detail rather than strategy. This means they need to be able to present themselves as businessmen with a legal background rather than the reverse. My firm, recognising the above issues, advises lawyers on how to present themselves appropriately, inter alia by meeting with exemplars. Frequently, the missing element is not knowledge but confidence.”

Another firm admitted that “whilst we can see the benefit likely to be gained by firms from former partners securing NED-type roles, we do not undertake any specific activity to encourage or support former partners in doing so”.

More encouragingly (although in a comment that also seems to confirm the general lack of retirement-related infrastructure for partners across the UK’s largest firms), one firm insisted that it seeks to encourage partners, when appropriate, to leverage its network of clients and other contacts, adding “we are about to establish a more formal alumni network (and would be interested to learn from the experience of others)”.

Another firm, which admits to providing “very little” by way of practical help other than “introductions”, pinpoints and confirms the key issue facing lawyers hoping to secure a lucrative NED role post-retirement: “Often, boards are resistant to having lawyers as NEDs as they are perceived as being not commercial enough and too focused on speciality areas. Compare that to the ‘T-shaped accountant’, with a broad range of experience backed up by deep expertise.”

What the market says:

Williams: For a white, male, private practice lawyer in his mid-50s to expect to walk into FTSE100 NED role immediately on retirement is pretty close to cloud cuckoo land. There are plenty of roles of various sorts available after retirement, but a partner needs time and help to explore these, and to develop a relevant contact base.

Given the pressures of practice it can be hard to make time – or to admit that time should be made – for considering one’s future options, which is why specialist help from outside the firm may help to provide a level of objectivity and confidentiality.”

Harris: There is this strong perception that partners will go on to take up NED-type roles, yet many have no real desire to do this. It comes down to exploring a partner’s identity and how they see themselves.

There is genuine merit and value in exploring the full spectrum of possibilities and opportunities that present themselves. This can be achieved once some of the exploratory work has taken place.

Holden: Lawyers can do much to reposition themselves in this market, but it takes effort on the part of the individual and genuine encouragement on the part of the firm. Too often only lip service is paid to it by management.


“Do you believe there is a benefit to your firm of partners taking non-executive directorship (or other external appointment) roles while still practising?”

The answers to this question were entirely consistent with those to Question 5, with 89 per cent of respondents saying they also believed there was a benefit to the firm of partners having external appointments post-retirement and just 11 per cent saying they disagreed.

What the market says:

Holden: While the response here is encouraging, much more could be done to make it a reality. Many firms talk about the benefit without finding ways of supporting partners to achieve it. Simply permitting these roles is not enough. The firm should actively support partners in developing themselves, their networks and the firm’s brand by taking on such roles.

The interests of individual lawyers and their firms have converged. It has become clear that, in order to survive a challenging professional life, an individual lawyer needs to create a hinterland in which they can happily exist even at times of extreme professional stress. That hinterland can exist in family life, creative art, sport, politics or in many other places. Increasingly, however, it is also coming to exist in the governance of businesses, charities, public agencies and similar organisations.

There are also likely benefits for the firm’s clients – new skills, new insights and unlimited networking opportunities. Put simply, a lawyer who understands clearly how a client thinks and reaches a decision through the experience of being one, sitting on a board, is rather better placed than one who lacks that experience. This advantage is not limited to commercial lawyers, it is applicable to all practitioners.


“How would you describe the firm’s approach to partners holding external appointments (such as non-executive director roles and trusteeships)?”

In this question we wanted to dig deeper into the culture of UK law firms and their philosophy towards NEDs and other external appointments for partners, asking how they would describe their approach to this issue.

It is notable that a large majority, 64 per cent, say they encourage it. And yet the answers to previous questions suggest that this ‘encouragement’ lacks something in terms of practical assistance.

Just 14 per cent admitted that they tolerate it, 7 per cent said they discourage it and 4 per cent prohibit it.

What the market says:

Holden: All too often we find that ‘encouragement’ falls well short of active support, amounting instead simply to a permissive approach with little training or guidance. However, the best firms are changing their programmes.


“Please state why this is your approach”

Asked why they were in favour, most firms reported benefits including gaining wider experience or additional skills and, of course, an extended network of contacts. One firm went further, stating “one of our firm’s values is ‘freedom’ and so we trust our partners to work in a way that complements their commitments outside of work. Wherever possible, we would look for ways to ensure a partner could hold an external appointment and accommodate this as part of their working week”.

On the opposite side, one firm admitted a potential “negative” was that they could be “a distraction from fee-earning”. Another said “the potential for conflicts of interest in our practice areas/localities is huge”. A third was blunt about the risks and equally blunt about the action the firm has taken to protect itself: “In previous years we lost partners to the bench and to employment tribunals. There was the additional factor of time lost to the firm and its clients. We decided that to be an equity partner you had to be fully committed to the firm. This has proved to be correct. We no longer lose equity partners. Anyone who wants to follow other careers has the opportunity to step down from equity to fixed-share partnership.”

What the market says:

Holden: It is clearly disappointing when partners leave a firm earlier than the firm would like, but it is surely more exciting when others stay longer as fee-earners because of a more progressive approach. Personal wellbeing is vital for the successful delivery of professional services. One ingredient of wellbeing is a hinterland that is not simply a retreat, but also a source of inspiration. If you want to be a good lawyer, get a life outside the law.


“Outline any opportunities your firm offers to partners who are looking to scale back their work levels/hours as they approach the end of their career”

For many firms this question touches on one of the most contentious issues relating to the retirement of their senior lawyers, namely when or how (or indeed if) partners can scale back their hours.

Some firms’ responses were precise and detailed in terms of the options they offer. Others’ were equally precise as to what they most definitely do not offer.

“None,” said one firm. “We expect all serving partners to devote the whole of their time to the business. If partners wish to undertake NED-type roles that will demand significant time away from the business, it is highly likely that profit-sharing arrangements will need to be adjusted.”

“Considered on a case-by-case basis they could step down to fixed-share partnership, but as a rule we want full-time, fully committed equity partners, not part-time, not fully committed partners,” said another.

At another firm partners “may reduce their hours by up to 40 per cent for a maximum of three years culminating in retirement”, while at another partners have the ability from the age of 62 to demand reduced hours “and if they choose they can scale back in one go or, for example, drop one working day a week per year”.

What the market says:

Williams: Many partners are reluctant to scale back as this is tantamount to admitting the partner is retiring in one or two years, ie ‘I’m in the departure lounge’.

Why quality talent who just wish to reduce their workload (and income) should feel this is the only option is an indication of a lack of imagination on both sides.

Ponton: A lot of firms allow their partners to be consultants for a year post-retirement. This is quite an expensive way of giving them a soft landing.

Addressing the issues earlier may mean that partners are ready to leave the firm and do something else on their retirement date rather than perhaps feeling like a bit of a spare part.

Read the full article from The Lawyer here.

A Presentation from The Fore Trust: Focusing on smaller charitable organisations

The Bulldog Trust owns and operates The Fore Trust, founded in 2012. They operate out of the stunning Two Temple Place, built by William Waldorf Astor in 1895.

The Fore Trust make grants to small charitable organisations. They are a seed investor in the charity sector, looking for small organisations at the early stages looking for an injection of cash to take them to the next stage.

Funding for first timers is hard. You often don’t get any feedback on failed applications. It is easier for corporate funding to go to larger charities. Not only do they get a pronounced reputational bump but less due diligence is required. Small charities don’t have the network to draw on.

The Fore focus on these small organisations with no more than £1 million turnover.
They provide feedback on all applications to help ensure the same mistakes aren’t made on future applications.
They offer £30k over 1 to 3 years.

They also offer access to a pro bono network. Mid to senior level executives in accounting, law and finance. Matchmaking people who are looking for ways to get involved at a level commensurate with their skills. Offering real strategic assistance.

You can join their mailing list of available trustee and adviser roles by emailing rachel@thefore.org or check their website for current roles.

They hold monthly workshops held in-house on topics such as:

  • Fundraising
  • Law for charities
  • Trustee recruitment strategies

The Fore offer three funding rounds a year. They are led totally by the organisations that apply. They try to be friendly and supportive.

Applicants need to write a 3-page compelling pitch to convince The Fore they are right for funding, including details on how the funds will be transformational, how much they need and over what period and what they will do with it.

They are trying to inspire change within the sector.

The Fore also work with businesses to become funding intermediaries, raising money to give away through grants. Organisations looking to invest CSR funds in a different way. The Fore offer themselves as a partner to do due diligence or perhaps choose which charities to support. It can be an exciting offer to businesses to give something back to their staff. Millennials value the social involvement of the companies they work in very highly.

The Fore position themselves between organisations looking for capital and people with capital looking to spend or invest. 75% of organisations who receive this initial investment go on to find further funding.

The Fore would like to be bigger and their business model is designed for expansion.

The Fore Trust host an annual Winter Exhibition, this year’s subject is Rhythm & Reaction exploring the impact that Jazz had on Britons from 1918. The exhibition is free and runs until 22nd April.

A copy of the presentation given at The Fore can be found here.

“Enthusiasm over aptitude!  If they like you, you are 80% there” Anna Ponton and Stuart Morton – Odgers Berndston

This week we were delighted to welcome Anna Ponton and Stuart Morton from headhunters Odgers Berndston to BCKR to share their thoughts with us.


Law firms are generally not very good at helping their partners and alumni to make the transition to life outside law. Unhappy alumni are not useful alumni; some law firms are beginning to react and ask for advice on how to improve.


How they work

Both Anna and Stuart are lawyers.  They run the Professional Services team at Odgers Berndtson and both sit on the board practice, chaired by Virginia Bottomley.

They understand the challenges that face lawyers who want to take on outside roles and though it isn’t an easy path to take – it is doable – but you do need to work hard at it.

A great example of someone who threw themselves into getting an outside role is Caroline Goodall, who made a concerted effort to get her first role, ending up with a role on the board of the Investment Trust which was a listed role and gave her a great PLC anchor without creating conflict.


How to get noticed

Lawyers don’t recognise how important their network is.  50% of roles will come through your own network – particularly the first one.

You need to spend an afternoon mapping out who can be helpful to you and then you need to get out there.  It is easier to let people know you are looking whilst still in full time practice, when you are still seeing clients etc.

But you need to banish thoughts that asking for a coffee with someone is being a bother.

Raise your profile – speak at events.

When you meet with someone, try to leave the meeting with 2-3 other introductions.

Having more than one entry point into a headhunter is a good idea.  Don’t rely on one contact.

Don’t expect overnight results.

If you are systematic in your approach it can actually be quite energising, you’ll be gaining snippets of information all the time.

Don’t leave home without your business card.

Don’t forget Linked-In.  Keep your profile up-to-date.  Redraft so that you have the right key words and skill sets – search engine optimisation!


What to expect

Headhunters can be likened to a Labrador – cold nose but warm heart.  They are also gatekeepers.

Getting in to see a headhunter can be hard.  One of the best ways is to get an introduction.

When you do get a chance for a cup of coffee make sure you are prepared.  You will probably only get one coffee, so make it count.

You need to have a clear pitch about who you are and what you are looking for.  Don’t expect to be spoon fed by the headhunter.

Choose your headhunter carefully.  Make sure you research what each of the headhunters do. What is their practice area?


How to keep in touch afterwards

Headhunters love inside gossip and knowledge.

A short 2-3 line email every six weeks updating them on where you are, what you have done recently in your search, who you have met – show you are working hard at getting a role.  This will help keep you top of mind.  An email is better than a phone call.

Having more than one contact within a firm will help build up an important picture.  And there is a lot of cross referencing within a headhunting firm and also between firms.  The pool is quite small.


Private sector

Beware the fireside chat.  What you think might be a casual conversation may be masquerading as an interview.  Make sure you are prepared.  Be strategic; if you are meeting a Chairman for coffee make sure you know what you want to get out of it.

Headhunters love to be able to reference you with some big wig.  They like to be able to qualify you so keep them posted on important meetings. Or get an introduction.


Public sector

Respect the process.  It can be quite brutal.  The is a bar and if you don’t reach it there is no nuancing your way through the process.  You have to be ok at everything they are looking for.  Consider what they are looking for and match it paragraph by paragraph in your application.

Much more preparation involved.

  • As an aside they have just placed two partners on The Law Society Board. Despite being advertised on the BCKR website and of course more widely – they had very few applicants.  Why wouldn’t you throw your hat in the ring?  Once you get your first role it is then easier to get the next one.



We are all too familiar with the negative perceptions of lawyers:

  • Not commercial
  • Too detail conscious
  • Not creative thinkers
  • Not risk takers
  • Think tactically not strategically
  • Servant of the board – not on it

The positives are:

  • Intellectual capacity
  • Ability to identify the elephant in the room
  • Highlights important detail
  • Good antenna for risk
  • Diligently reads board papers
  • Suits a regulated environment

There has undoubtedly been a bias for Chairmen to say they have a GC already and don’t need another lawyer. But really, a good NED is someone who asks difficult questions and lawyers are good at unpicking questions.

What you need to find is the right vocabulary for describing your skill set in a non-lawyer context.

Numeracy is another stumbling block for lawyers.  Make sure you can read a balance sheet.


The interview

It’s all about the preparation.

You need to sell yourself and your strengths.  Provide strong anecdotal evidence relevant to the role.

Don’t underestimate how important it is to show enthusiasm (smile – make eye contact – look engaged).  If they like you, you are 80% there.

Make sure you have questions to ask.  Look and act engaged.  Be energetic.


In summary – It is doable, but it is a long slog.  Headhunters are more likely to be helpful to you once you already have a role.  It is your network that is most likely to help you get your first role.


Is there a different set of bias towards a GC/in house lawyer?

As a GC; you are probably better placed because of your exposure and interaction with boards through your day job.  Your ability to see things through the client lens is a place where you can add value.


Your CV

Skill set is more important than deal list.  Headhunters are not interested in your introductory paragraph.  Introductory email or application letter are more important.  From a headhunter’s perspective the CV isn’t the most important aspect of you.  They are more interested in who introduces you, and who your contacts are.  They will use Linked-In so keywords in your profile are important to ensure your profile comes up in searches.


BCKR holds regular CV workshops for lawyers in search of tips for writing or restructuring their CV.


For a copy of Odgers Berndston’s presentation please click here.


Nick Vetch: Pick your NED role with care

We recently welcomed Nick Vetch to BCKR.  Nick is on the board of several companies and is a trustee at Bedales School and also of The Fund for Global Human Rights.  He has NEDs and is a NED.  His experience of being a NED for a commercial organisation versus a non-commercial is that there is some commonality – dependent on the size and sophistication of the organisation.  Large organisations differ from smaller ones.  In general, the NGO sector is some way behind on a corporate governance and organisational front.


A major trap around becoming a NED is that you either end out running the organisation or having no role at all.


Running it:  this happens when you have misconceived organisations with poor management and no vision.


No role: when you become a non-exec of an organisation where you have no influence either because they are so big that nobody has influence and you attend endless board meetings and talk of nothing but corporate governance.  Can be frustrating and boring.


So pick carefully and don’t fall into the trap of becoming too involved or unable to make a difference.  There is a sweet spot in between where organisations are looking for involvement from outsiders.


Executives generally have NEDs to meet their regulatory obligations.

  • Some view NEDs in the role of policemen, there to represent the shareholders, and are viewed as an extraneous break on activities like pay etc.
  • The more constructive view is that NEDs are there as sounding boards.


Since 2008 Nick has probably made six really big important strategic decisions.  Those decisions were critical to where Big Yellow have ended up in the present day.  So – Nick wants enablers of better decision making around him for those critical times.


For instance – if Nick were to call Tim Clark – it would be about making a big decision on which he is looking for a different mind set and challenge.  He is not expecting to be challenged on most of the day to day decisions by his NEDs as they don’t have the technical expertise and he can buy that in.  He certainly doesn’t look to Tim for legal advice.  It is his value judgement, common sense, probity and having confidence in Tim’s moral compass.

The only exception to this is the head of audit.


When you look at the board and the dynamics, how do you choose who to join your board?

The starting point would have to be as fundamental as you have got to like them.  He might have started with skill sets but has evolved into choosing diversity of thought over and above everything else.


The traps of the corporate life are that you end up in the same school of thought – stock market politics etc. – but it can result in ending up in silos.  You want someone who is not in the same silo.


Generally boards put a high value on sector experience.  Nick puts no stock in that.  You should have that expertise in-house.  Big Yellow is a curious mix of public company and founder-led.  It has its own style.  It is not as formal as most corporates.  They are certainly not sloppy when it comes to corporate governance but they do have a more entrepreneurial approach.  It would be very different in a big FTSE company.


How do you assess ability of your NEDs?

You make your best guess.  Will they strike the right balance of being challenging, but not for the sake of it.


How does that compare to your role as a NED?

Nick is a self-confessed control freak so does find the NED role challenging.  Fund for Global Human Rights does wonderful work but business wise they are quite primitive.  So Nick feels he can make a real difference there.  His biggest challenge is not charging in and taking over.


How do you find the right role?  A lot of organisations just want NEDs to tick the box.  If you want to make a difference usually your network is your best resource.


How do you respect the challenge from your NEDs on those big decisions if they don’t have sector expertise?

NEDs can’t guarantee right decisions are made.  It is the collective brain power that improves the chances of making the right decision.  You probably make the right decision 65% of the time.  You want to make sure that those six big decisions are in that 65%.


How to you avoid the traps and make good assessments of companies – e.g. Carillion?

Traps can be glaringly obvious in retrospect, though would you really invest in a contractor with a 3% margin?  You need to do your due diligence.  Ask yourself ‘would I invest in this?’ If you had rung insiders at Carillion you would have found out something was up.


How do you prepare for an interview?

  • Do your due diligence e.g. ring insiders, brokers & others.
  • Ask questions so that you understand the DNA of the business.


What is your view on taking on younger NEDs?

You need youth on the board to understand fast moving areas like technology and change.


How do you approach organisations you want to get into?

  • Luck plays a big role. The more work you put in, the luckier you get.
  • Don’t focus on your legal skills but how you can help executives come to better decisions. Emphasise your common sense skills and strategic thinking.
  • Your experience as a lawyer can bring different thinking and approaches into the board room. The way you think can have a very distinct impact.
  • Lawyers have a special ability to structure thought.





The Lawyer: How to deal with retiring partners

In their March 2018 issue, The Lawyer is to undertake an analysis of retirement-related issues facing law firms. “UK law firms should be doing significantly more to assist partners in the run-up to retirement and could benefit materially by doing so, experts have claimed.”

Click here to read Matt Byrne’s introductory article where BCKR Director, Elizabeth Holden, suggests that law firms could be “missing a trick” by not sufficiently investing in their retirees.

Naziar Hashemi: ‘Know Your Numbers’

BCKR recently welcomed Naziar Hashemi, Non Profits Audit and Risk Partner from Crowe Clark Whitehill to speak to our members.

Please find a copy of her presentation here.

To add depth to her presentation, Naziar added an example set of charity accounts for our members to examine.


Chris Saul: When retirement is not an option

BCKR recently welcomed Slaughter and May’s former Senior Partner, Chris Saul, to share how he has successfully cultivated a new working life away from law.

In the months leading up to his retirement Chris spoke to a lot of people. He adopted four guiding principles to his life after Slaughter and May.
1. Retirement was not an option
2. He wanted to stay in the business world
3. He wanted a balanced involvement with the not for profit world
4. He wanted to maintain an element of teaching and contact with the next generation

So, what job in the business world?
• He did not want to go in-house. He didn’t want to do lawyering anymore
• He ruled out investment banking as he felt it is hard for ‘old’ lawyers to go into a business with ‘new’ investment bankers
• Head hunting didn’t appeal
• The NED circuit didn’t appeal as he was well aware that, as a white male, it would be hard to make significant progress in the current climate

So – what about starting his own business? He examined hard the areas he had enjoyed during his career at Slaughters.
• Finding consensus around the deal table. The theatre of bringing warring parties together was fulfilling.
• Consensus. As Senior Partner at Slaughters he dealt with a lot of ‘big’ personalities. The conflicts could be fraught but the process of working with those personalities and coming to consensus was satisfying.
• Strategy, performance and the governance piece.
o Which practice areas to cover
o New client initiatives
o Succession in each of the practice areas
o Levers of profitability

So, the notion was to build a business that would advise businesses at moments of transition and change. Not as a lawyer (he has taken himself of the role) but as a weathered individual and also to be a moderator of differences – bringing high level judgement informed by experience.

In October last year he established Christopher Saul Associates. The core team being Chris and his highly valued PA Laura Biggs.
He has no office – decided it wasn’t necessary. He works from home and sometimes from 20 Grosvenor Street by invite of KPMG. He now lives a quite itinerant existence.

The idea is to be a sounding board and empathetic ear.

Currently his target market is:
o Boards of listed companies
o Stakeholder family businesses
o Professional Services firms

His offering is:
o An independent view to a board at particular moments of difficulty, such as during a deal or litigation or to react to an activist shareholder. Being the oily rag.
o To be a sounding board on a one to one basis for the Chair or SID
o To reconcile different views of stakeholders in family businesses over tricky issues
o Custodianship
o Succession
o Legacy issues in the modern world
o Assessing management success in professional service firms e.g. Headhunting firms.

Below are some examples of the work he is currently doing:

• In the listed space – he is advising a SID in a FTSE 100 company who is dealing with difficulties between a Chair and the Executive team – a weighty responsibility which falls upon the SID and can be a very lonely place. This individual needs someone who understands corporate governance, code expectations and directors’ duties.
• He is helping the Chair and Board of a FTSE company facing difficult quasi litigation. They have legal advice but need someone to kick the tyres on strategy and approach at key moments in the litigation.
• In the family space, he is helping a 5th generation business where two brothers have fallen out. The younger brother has been squeezed from the board but is still a shareholder.
• Also helping a family business with family constitution advice. 8 cousins looking at their inheritance – how to take charge of it? Who is qualified to step into the business? Are the parents really thinking about this when making decisions about the future of the business?
• In the professional services space he is working with an Indian company on strategy. India is a very dynamic environment to work in with 350 of the top 500 businesses “promoter” led. This may prove a fruitful arena.

Progress so far.
His proposition seems to be finding traction.
He finds it engaging and fascinating.
It is appropriately scary – there is a risk in putting yourself out there.
Would like to get some younger people into his business in time.

Where does the work come from?
Network. Keeping in touch and remaining relevant to your network is important. Chris keeps his core governance knowledge up to date so he has something to add to conversations.

He gets referrals from
• boutique investment banks particularly re succession and Rem
• Private client law firms such as Withers and Stewarts
• Private banks
• Head hunters – though on reflection they might see him more as a competitor

The not-for-profit space.
• He is on the board of The Leverhulme Trust established by Lord Leverhulme, former Chairman of Unilever. He endowed a trust to provide funding for new ideas – all levels of research across all age brackets – supporting academics
• He was invited to join the board of the English National Ballet and is Chair of the Governance committee
• He is also a member of the Hearings Committee of The Takeover Panel

On the teaching side, he does some M&A classes for CASS and Saïd Business School which he finds to be a very dynamic and interactive environment.

He thought about the traditional style of mediation and took a couple of courses. The ADR Group mediation course and the CEDR course (which was the better in his opinion). He concluded that the process of winning the trust of two diametrically different people is a very interesting process and something he would like to do more of.

At £6,000 is what somewhat expensive but better than the course at ADR. He undertook 2 observations with Bill Wood QC and Andrew Payton.
The world of mediation is small – only 20-25 mediators in last 15 years and they are all very much embedded in the system. All significant mediation firms will look for recognised brands which makes it a challenge to building a business. As a non-disputes practitioner it is a harder sell.

Chris concluded that mediation is a lonely world and getting into pure mediation is hard. If you are part of a chambers with a clerk it is probably easier. Mediation is a great skill and is fascinating but a hard post legal route to take. His ambition would be to conduct 3-5 per year.

He feels transactional lawyers are better placed to deal with family businesses. Non-litigators need to sell their mediation skill better – transaction lawyer skills are very relevant.

What were his biggest challenges:
• Will you be lonely? Having spent 39 years at Slaughter and May, that risk was scary. Chris didn’t want to go into another political environment so decided it would be easier to go solo first. He generally has 3 to 4 meeting per day. The thing he misses most is having a sounding board.
• How will you handle the IT? Thankfully his PA Laura sorts that side of things for him

What have been your learnings after a year?
• People are generous and kind. He has been touched by the willingness of people to talk, share ideas, give feedback.
• It is important to generate content and circulate it to people to remain relevant.
• Network, network, network – in a non-annoying way. Make sure you keep in touch with the people you know well.
• Always look ahead – in the words of Ferrari “What is your best car? My next car”. You need to constantly improve.


Given the decisions about the route you took – why is it that there is no Robey Warshaw equivalent for lawyers?
While there is room for advice around governance, to build a firm around that means running the risk of becoming a law firm. He wanted to differentiate himself from law firms and investment bankers.

How have you advertised yourself?
He looked at Robey Warshaw and other websites like Fingleton Associates and decided to go for an understated one page website stating his proposition.
He is also on Linked-In which allows you to connect.
He also takes on speaking engagements and tries to get on the agendas for the right kinds of conference to raise his profile.

Did you analyse your competitors? Where do you fit in?
Adjacent to Robey Warshaw but differentiation is important – hence the notion of the legal tinge i.e. the governance piece.
He has tried to develop a suite of products that is not too dispersed – quite focused. Providing advice with 3 sub-divisions of that advice and keeping away from banks.

What have you learnt about boards?
Deft chairing is vital but not frequently found. The role of the Chair is managing the debate. Steering conversation and knowing when the debate is secure and then being able to summarise. A shepherder of debate.

Pre-board preparation. Ensure difficult board members engaged and heard prior to the entering the board room. Emotional intelligence is crucial.

Looking for your first role? Try govt or 3rd sector, get the right CV and do your research


We recently welcomed Wendy Barnes, portfolio non-executive and an independent consultant in cyber security to a BCKR breakfast event.

Wendy’s first non-executive role was at GCHQ in 2002.  It was one of the first government departments to go through a proper recruitment process.  The private sector was moving towards greater transparency.  It turned out to be a great role that led to many others.


How to go about finding that first role.

Getting a government or 3rd Sector role is easier than gaining one in the private sector which relies more on your CV, your reputation and who you know.  The 3rd sector roles adhere more to their required criteria and so it’s easier to fit in.

The public sector is also easier to control with regards to your time if you are already juggling an executive role alongside.

But be aware that if you are looking at roles in the health sector, the time demands will be considerably greater – as much time as you are willing to give.

All public roles are listed on the cabinet office website and are also distributed via BCKR’s weekly summary of roles.  You can set up email alerts too from the Public Appointments site.  You should know that many interesting roles come under the very broad umbrella of public appointments such as museums, highways UK etc.

Some appointments are still listed with headhunters so it is worth keeping an eye out on their individual websites too.

Networking is also key.  WIG (Whitehall Industry Group) host networking events and seminars.

There are also ‘arm’s length’ bodies such as trading funds, who are looking to fill their boards with the right people.  They tend to use their NEDs well and be more focused on how to make money, rather than simply how to satisfy government ministers, which tends to be the case on a Whitehall Ministry board.  Ministry boards are chaired by the relevant Secretary of State but NEDs aren’t in Wendy’s experience, actively used.


An area of interest which might be a lawyer’s calling card, is the introduction of GDPR. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from 25 May 2018.  When people talk about Cyber it really comes down to information loss.  There will be a lot of legal constructs to overcome when GDPR is introduced.  If you are prepped, given your legal and commercial background you could position yourselves very well to be of assistance to boards on this matter.


Contracts is also an obvious area where boards require advice.  A lot of government boards don’t have a GC to call on.


Have you got the right CV?

Government want your CV to match the essential criteria in the role description pretty much to the letter.

Your covering letter should have headings, with evidence, that meet those criteria.  They are less interested in events and qualifications.  You need to illustrate how you have added value through these essential qualities.


Think about the wider political agenda.  The minister and Secretary of State will give a steer early on in the process on what kind of person they are looking for but that will never be made clear to you.

You will then be classified as ‘above the bar’ so possessing the right criteria, or ‘below the bar’.  If you don’t get the role it may be due to this hidden other agenda in the background.


  • Think of examples.
  • Use your network.
  • If you get an interview use your network to research the panel – but not too overtly. Don’t contact panel members before interview as that will be frowned upon.
  • Before you go to interview make sure you know your CV back to front. Often, you’ve spent so much time researching the role that you have forgotten how your CV can tie in to it.
  • They will ask for “examples” but they really only want one!
  • Prepare questions but not too many. The panel likes to be in control of the agenda.


Wendy has really enjoyed her government NED roles.  From 2002-2011 all her non-exec roles were in government security, defence and the environment.  She was offered an executive role in government subsequently and ended up taking it up on an interim basis.  After this, her CV went to a different level, and all of a sudden the private sector started to show an interest in her as a board member too.


She found that the government boards really wanted to use her knowledge and experience.

It can also be a great stepping stone to further roles.

The public sector NEDs are subject to stronger guidance, i.e., an audit committee’s guidance includes what audit should do regarding cyber.

In a lot of areas government lead the way on governance.


As a layman in the cyber world, what can a non-exec do to push their enquiries to be helpful?

What is Cyber?  Would suggest that if you can, you go on one of the many training sessions around on cyber.  The COOs and CTOs tend to know what they are doing, so the tech part is well covered. It is about asking the right questions and knowing that the right systems are in place.  E.g. Ask how they are managing their technology. Are the right tech, people and processes in place?

Education, training and phishing emails are the softer side of cyber.

Does the organisation do trial phishing attacks?

To position your credentials in Cyber, ask about how they are prepared for the introduction to GDPR and potential information loss.

How will they handle it?  Protection of high net worth individuals.  Keeping out of the press.  Avoiding leaks.  How do you manage those kinds of breaches?

Any regulator will look more kindly in the event of information loss if you can demonstrate preparedness.


To what extent is being young getting you ‘under the bar’?

It depends on the role and the minister.  There will be unwritten requirements that you can’t really glean from the job specification.  The more information you can give about yourself at the outset the better.


If you are looking at contracts, is there a difference between public and private sector boards?

They are very different.


The private sector is more financially driven and includes the current state of the competition, growth, turn around, asset stripping.

Will often only have the CFO, CEO, GC as executives and the rest will be NEDs.

They are trying to route down into information.


The public sector will be a mixture of exco and board (no independent Chair).  There will be more information than you would normally get.  Directors give much more detail to the board.


What about strategy?

The strategy tends to be that of the department rather than policy driven.

How do you position yourself as a department with stakeholders?

What do they want to be seen as?

How can you deliver policies?

How can you best fulfil the minster’s agenda?


HMRC’s strategy would be how to handle ‘events’.  Same agendas but set by the regulators.


Who should you ask to meet before going to an interview?

Be careful as too direct an approach can backfire.

If you ask to meet panel members if may be counted against you.

You could contact previous members of the board.

Do your usual due diligence but don’t be too overt.  Use your existing network to make enquiries but back off when you get to interview.  It won’t do you any favours if you indicate that you know someone on the panel.


What are the dos and don’ts of engaging with the panel?

It is about striking a balance.  Knowing enough about the panel without being over familiar at the interview.


Where headhunters have been involved have their insights been useful?

They can certainly help in the preparation, particularly with your application and ensuring your CV meets the criteria laid out in the specification.  Headhunters can be challenging in a good way, and can even be a helpful sponsor.


The importance of the transition period – from Lawyer to Boardroom

This week we were delighted to welcome Stuart Popham to our BCKR breakfast event.

Stuart started thinking about what he was going to do next, about two years before stepping away from his role as Senior Partner at Clifford Chance.

He realised he needed board experience so joined the board of Chatham House – though the firm had some concerns about conflict of interest.

Stuart would recommend that you take time to make the transition before jumping into a board role.  It can be a challenging role but can also be very interesting.  It takes a bit of time getting used to leaving the executive team, and also all the support you have taken for granted being in a firm, such as a PA, IT support etc.  Given that it can take a while to get used to a new environment (and for some the transition can be difficult), Stuart recommends taking a break; he took three months off and went sailing.

Every board has 1-3 accountants, but few have a lawyer, so there should be a huge opportunity for more lawyers to join. We need to have boards that are more reflective of society, all boards need diversity of thought which legal experience is likely to contribute to.

Socialising is key.  Grasp every opportunity to let people know you are looking.  Get on the radar of headhunting firms – they are always keen to meet new people.  Though a lot of headhunting is done under the radar, commercially there is a sense that recruitment should become more transparent.  Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to land your first role. Stuart discovered early on that that matching availability to opportunity was a rarity.


Don’t look at your CV in terms of your achievements as a lawyer.  Extract your skills from your years of experience e.g.

  • Dispute resolution
  • Finding solutions between parties at war
  • Strategic thinking
  • Ability to look at the big picture

These well-honed lawyer skills are very helpful around the board table.  It is not you as a lawyer that they are looking for.


Is there much difference between the charity sector and the private sector?

The issues are broadly the same, whether on a commercial, government or charity board.  Each produces a set of challenges and that is what makes it interesting.  The difference between executive and NED life is that generally you don’t take the problems home with you.  You give your opinion, come to a resolution but you are no longer the one that rolls up their sleeves afterwards and finishes the project.  You are no longer involved in the implementation.

Kids Company was a damascene moment for the charity sector, which is going to come under further scrutiny from the Fundraising Regulator in the coming months.  Boards are going to be in the spotlight from the largest corporations to the smallest charities.  All boards should be prepared to face the ‘Daily Mail’ moment.


How do you judge from the outset which opportunity you should take-up and how do you avoid the bad ones?

There is no doubt that due diligence is critical:

  • Arrange to meet all board members if possible including one or two who have stepped down (as they can sometimes be more forthcoming).
  • Talk to the auditors and potentially brokers to get a sense of the issues the organisation might be facing.
  • Talk to the next level down e.g. the Company Secretary or Financial Controller. Is the information freely available?  If you find that the organisation is a bit tight-lipped there may be cause for concern.
  • You need to feel a natural engagement with that organisation. Just because it is a good cause is not good enough.  These are organisations you are going to be engaged with for 3-4 years (unlike your involvements in private practice).
  • Ask to see the last 2-3 sets of board minutes.


Once on board, find other opportunities to engage.

  • Get an understanding of how the operation works
  • Meet with people lower down the chain
  • Get an understanding of how the executive team works with the non-execs


Take your time making the decision.  Make sure you can really commit.
Have you ever been to a meeting, having read the board papers, and found out that you haven’t got the whole picture?  Yes – but that is where lawyer skills really help.  Lawyers are good at reading the board papers, absorbing details and then asking the searching question.  The key is not to ask too often!


Where have you made the greatest contribution on a board?

  • Easier to say when he has been the board Chair as you can clearly enhance the effectiveness of the board and the openness of the discussion.
  • Getting people to recognise the needs of the other stakeholders. Perception trumps reality.
  • Greatest achievement is where you can’t predict in advance what your board members are going to say.


You made Senior Partner.  If you hadn’t had that significant role in the firm do think it would have hindered your ability to get your first and subsequent board positions?

It helps to be able to say that you have led teams and advised boards but it can be more about crafting your CV.  If you can’t demonstrate those skills then it is worth taking on a small role outside the day job to get the relevant experience.  It’s a question of translating your skills onto your CV. If you ran a really big transaction, where you managed people, etc. you need to reflect those business elements.


Stuart recommends going to see a few CEO’s and Chairs of current clients.  Ask them who they use for board appointments.  Getting an introduction to a headhunter from them would carry significant weight.


Were there skills you felt you needed to develop?

  • Not digging deeply enough into the business
  • He thought he was numerate but recognised that he needed far deeper explanations


Also remember that a board position is not the only option.



Professionalising the Family Business

Do family firms have an “image problem” when it comes to recruiting talented staff? Do people question their rigour when it comes to governance? These are some of the interesting questions posed by BCKR associate Rosalyn Breedy in the following article first published in Wealth Briefing.
UK family businesses have been shown to be less productive than their peer group of  Non-family businesses in UK in a recent survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
According to Rosalyn Breedy of Wedlake Bell, ‘Key points made by the ONS survey are that lack of professional management and an inability to recruit top talent are problems which disproportionately affect family businesses.’
Similar findings were reported in 2016 by PwC  which concluded ‘that family firms have to professionalise the way they operate by instituting more rigorous processes, establishing clear governance, and recruiting skills from outside.’ Of the family business owners surveyed by PwC, 43 per cent agreed and saw these as key challenge for the next five years.
The ONS plans to do further research in this area. However, an extremely insightful US research paper entitled “The impact of incentive compensation on labor productivity in family and non-family firms”,  which was referenced in the ONS survey, may hold the key.
The paper postulates that family businesses may experience lower labour productivity because of ‘adverse selection problems from labour market sorting and attenuation’.
In essence, high productivity is a result of having hired and retained high performing talent.  However, high performing talent is put off working for a family firm because they perceive that owners will pursue non-economic goals and favour family employees over non-family members.  External candidates are also concerned that they might not be adequately rewarded for their contribution to the business.
Interestingly though, high performers and low performers are equally motivated by the positive values of a family business.
Since high potential and high performing employees are likely (all things being equal) to have the most employment options, they are more likely to want to work for non-family firms where they perceive their career prospects and earning potential to be greater.
As high-performing employees continue to act in this way, family businesses find themselves recruiting from a smaller pool of candidates.  Over time the pool also becomes less experienced and qualified than the candidates who are able to pursue options where the interests of the owners and employees are better aligned. Clearly, this is a generalisation and there are many exceptions to the rule, but the principle merits further investigation.
The other challenge which family firms need to address is to plan for succession. The PwC survey showed that only 15 per cent of family businesses surveyed had a robust documented succession plan, concluding: ‘In the next five years it is likely we will see the biggest inter-generational transfer of wealth the modern economy has ever seen. Much of this wealth will take the form of shares in family businesses, which is why a more robust approach to succession planning is such a key priority for the whole family business sector – and indeed for the economies they help sustain.’
According to Breedy, family businesses who want to be successful need to ensure that the following items are squarely on their board agenda:
Remuneration strategy
This includes benchmarking against the market rate, and consideration of equity sharing through performance-based employee incentive plans and service agreements.
Family dynamics
Problems need to be addressed, possibly with the help of a neutral trusted adviser who can help the family to deal with fears of giving up control and sharing rewards, dysfunctional behaviour and poor communication.
The family adviser has a toolbox of legal instruments which can help a family to protect its wealth, including wills, trusts, letters of wishes, philanthropic foundations, powers of attorney, family constitutions, pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements.
Focus on succession
Failure to organise the affairs of a family business puts off top talent from applying and can also result in high turnover if employees feel that the business is suffering.
Through the use of objective criteria to decide on and reward the next generation of leaders. it is possible to retain family ownership and control provided the business is successful and other investors and top talent are fairly rewarded.  The family need to decide whether the business is to be grown or sold.
Tools to achieve an effective succession plan include shareholder agreements, family funds (OEICS and investment companies), appointment of independent directors and institution of a proper board governance separated from the family.
However, tools only work when the family fully understands the nature of the challenge faced and has developed a strategy in conjunction with their professional advisers.
Rosalyn Breedy
First published in Wealth Briefing  8 June 2017

[1] Office for National Statistics Economic Review April 2017.

[1] PwC Family Business Survey 2016

[1] James J Chrisman, Srikant Devaraj, and Pankaj C Patel ˜The impact of incentive compensation on labor productivity in family and non-family firms published in volume 30(2) Family Business Review 2017.

Sean O’Hare: Inside RemComs

This week we welcomed Sean O’Hare to our breakfast event to discuss The Remuneration Committee.

The UK Corporate Governance Code has 2 pages in Section D on what RemCos do, and most other governance codes cover something similar.  Sean would really recommend ANY NED of FTSE listed companies to read it.

The FRC has also published a Guide on Board Effectiveness which defines the roles of Chair, CEO, NED and Senior Independent Director and what is expected of each role.  This code is very straightforward.  The Remco must:

  • Set the remuneration for the Executive Director and Chairman and
  • Promote the long term interests of the company

When other elements are covered, this is the choice of the board

On most PLCs the CEO and FD monitor pay for the senior management and simply informs the RemCo.  A conflict arises for the RemCo when it has to set the fees of the chairman and the execs and also monitors pay for senior management, while in turn, the NED fees are set by those management sitting on the board and the chairman.  Which get set first?  It tends to be a moving dance.

Who sets exec pay below board level? It can be the first area of tension.  You should check how the mechanics work.  It is very important to look at the terms of reference to see who is included in the remit.  You need to have a real understanding of your CEO.

The basic structure for RemCo to consider is:

Base pay, ltip, benefits, pension, bonus … which do you cover? Check the rest to see if you should cover them.  Don’t forget to consider benefits.  RemCos have been caught out by not looking at benefits and discovering too late, that they are inappropriate.

If you are part of a large company you need to work out the right incentive measures.  This can be hard.

Incentives that drive the business forward are required but you need to exercise judgement about what stage the business is at, what’s needed in good times .. why is it good? Consideration needs to be given to what’s management execution and what’s windfall.

If you are in “survival times”, will there be lay-offs?  Remuneration might come down.   However, sometimes, during times of change pay might increase to keep a strong team.

The makeup of the RemCo

In theory there should be 3 people on a RemCo (the independent NEDs, without the chair). However, the room can become very crowded once you add the Chair, the CEO, the HR Director, GC, company secretary, external advisor etc.   They are often present in all meetings.

It can be very difficult to make decisions in a crowded room so it is essential that private sessions take place before the committee meeting takes place.  If adjustments need to be made to the CEO’s pay then the Chair of RemCo and the board Chair need to manage delivering that message to the CEO over months, usually leading up to year end.

How much are decisions affected by competitor analysis? Plenty, but this is often a criticism as companies can then be seen as a closed shop.  Retention issues are key here.  Succession plans are also important – payouts vs retention rewards.

Management will also talk about flight risk in which case it is worth talking to headhunters.

Again the analysis will depend on time, longevity of staff, no. of successors etc.

Generally, if the chair of the RemCo has tested his pay ideas beforehand it is rare for him to need to ask the chief exec to leave the room.  CEO pay is usually decided during on-going negotiations off-line.  However, increasingly RemCos are holding private sessions without management. If this is done as standard practice then it shouldn’t be an issue for the CEO.  It is, however, important for the chair of the meeting to brief the CEO on the outcome.  Rarely do the RemCos vote, so the outcome is a conclusion of a discussion acknowledged by the RemCo members.

The public sector is different due the the 1% pay cap across the team.  Even though you are dealing with less money, the outcome is almost more important because of that.  The cash makes more difference to the recipients.

A lot of RemCos like formulas, or a balanced score card, which can be easier since they are less emotive.  But RemCos need to look at whether a formula approach is appropriate.  You should be influenced by other factors too e.g if deaths in mines increase how should that affect the CEO pay?

The High Pay centre website has some interesting research, although it is less firm on rationale for conclusions.

Rem used to be simply old fashioned base pay plus a bonus, basically a profit share.  The introduction of incentives by consultants was meant to change behaviours.  In reporting on Rem,  this distinction is lost.  Most executives are not motivated to act differently because of an incentive unless it is specifically focussed.  It will depend too on whether the individuals are risk takers.

Evidence shows that candidates recruited externally perform worse and stay for a shorter time than internally recruited candidates.  This should perhaps affect pay.

In listed companies, remember 60% of the package is regularly in long term incentive plans, much of which is market driven.

It is important to understand what your role is and what the vested interests of the participants of the committee are.  It can get emotive.

RemCos are getting more involved in the judgement of performance, which is meant to be the remit of NomCom.

Reputation is not discussed enough at RemCos –  too much is process. RemCos should consider the reputational risk of decisions made in the committee.

  • Reputation involves the press, but also remember
  • Reputation to the employees who will be the first to look at the REM report when it goes on line!

In summary RemCo is the most exciting committee to be on.  You get to see human behaviour in the raw and it gives a clear indication of the relationship between chairman and CEO. Does the chairman always support the CEO?

What positive reasons are there for a lawyers to be part of a RemCo?  You can keep them safe but also be pragmatic.


Changing direction? Let people know you’re there – Sally Springbett

At this week’s breakfast event, we were delighted to welcome Sally Springbett from Sapphire Partners, who gave us the benefit of her many years of executive search experience.


According to Sally, the biggest step you can take in becoming a NED or when considering a change in direction, is to let people know you’re there.  Lawyers can be gods in the legal world but not known outside.  Changing can be scary and Sally often sees fear in people’s eyes when they are contemplating it, often at a later stage in life.  ‘Retirement’ has such negative connotations that Sally has stripped it out of her vocabulary.  Think more about changing horizons, reinvention. Think more creatively.


But first think whether you really want to be a non-executive.  There is a whole range of opportunities for reinvention without the need to take on non-exec roles, so remember to explore them. Remember how lucky you are to be financially unconstrained and so able to fully explore options.


Consider how much time you want to give to family, friends and hobbies.  How do you want to readdress that balance, if at all? Don’t rush.  It’s ok not to have a company name under your own name for a while.


Check you’re allowed to do a non-exec role alongside your other commitments – get the right sponsorships.


Next start the process of evaluating what it is about you that a board will want.  Why will a chairman want you.  Probably not your 30 years as a seasoned lawyer.  It’s your raw ingredients.  Board roles are getting more and more specific.  Emotional intelligence is a key attribute.  Don’t be rude and dismissive or arrogant.  Remember that law firms can tolerate behaviours that are not acceptable outside the firms.  Remember the receptionist can have a view.  Manners matter.


The non-exec world is very competitive, so you need to identify your own USP.  How am I different? What can I bring? Bear your soul.  Do it with someone who can help deconstruct you.  Only then can you write your CV.  The legal CV is different from a non-exec CV.


‘Board experience’ can be a bit creative on the CV – school PTA, law firm committees, internal boards, charities, PCC etc. can all be used to evidence ‘board experience’.


It’s about differentiation.  Your CV goes ahead of you to meetings.  Accordingly, an impression will be created before you are actually met.  An unusual journey, living abroad or interesting hobbies will mark you out ahead of time.  It is sad to say, but it is generally men of a certain age making the decision – there are hobbies that many of them will have.  If you hunt, shoot, support Man U etc. put it on the CV.


Too often a CV is a slightly grubby document of under achievement.  Make it reflect your key achievements and add colour.  Don’t add a complete deal list at the back, perhaps pick a few that stand out as key achievements.  A CV takes a lot of time and soul searching.  It needs to be loud and proud.  Don’t do it when you are in a bad place.  Head hunters can read between the lines.


The pain you go through to get a good CV is part of what’s needed to work out what you can offer.  Next add much of it to LinkedIn.  This provides free marketing of yourself.  It is a powerful tool and helps you be known.  This is important.  LinkedIn can provide a constant stream of information to your network.  Get your most connected friends on LinkedIn to ‘like’ a post or even comment on it and this will add dramatically to the audience.


BoardEx – online database of trustees, directors and major law firm partners based on publicly available information. Once you’re on it you can own it.  It is searchable by the head hunters but because it’s by subscription you can’t necessarily see it.  However, you can contact BoardEx, send your CV and ask to be put on it if you are not already there.  Ask BCKR if you want to see a copy of your BoardEx entry.


Make sure you prepare your elevator pitch.  If you are going forward in a role or to meet head hunters, you need a snappy, impactful, genuine pitch for yourself.  You have to believe you can do it.  If you don’t believe you can do it, then you won’t get the job.  Chairmen will only be convinced if you are.


How do you figure out what you want and where you want to work? Start by printing off the list of FTSE 350 and AIM companies and cross out those which instinctively you don’t want, and highlight what you do want.  It will just be give you a feel for the type of industries that are out there. Identify people you know in those companies.  Over a period of months, you should accumulate of list of people to target for your network.  Get two further introductions from every encounter with any board level connection you have.  Don’t waste the opportunities you are offered to meet senior people by being vague.  And tell people you’re looking for a non-exec role.  Be strategic.


You need something to say to the head hunters to help your journey, so they need hooks to hang you on.


Network – strategic networking is not taking inappropriate advantage of your network, it’s just others helping you.  Some struggle in asking for help for themselves.  You are worthy.  If you are in discussion with these people you are worthy of their help.  Think whether you can cultivate sponsors.


Network with younger people and embrace technology.


Headhunters are worth cultivating.  Get an introduction.  In the search, it is the research head in the board practice who will be most useful. In her searches, Sally tries to get a shortlist with those she knows well, those she’s met once or twice, and those that are completely new.


It is important to cultivate your network outside your world. Go to events where you meet new people.  Work out good from bad.  Every opportunity is a chance to talk about yourself and meet others but often you need to pull on your brave boots.  Your career is interesting enough for others to want to talk to you, even if you didn’t know it.  Start running something to find your way into a niche.  Find former lawyers who are now NEDs, ask them how they did it. They will want to help as they were in your shoes.  Remember, first impressions matter.  The relaxed smiling person leaves an impression.  Mirroring, handshake, eye contact – all matter.  Make yourself special.


Practice and prepare before you interview.  Get people to listen to you and help work out what you need to say.  Directive help is very useful.  Make sure you can articulate why you are interested in the organisation you are interviewing for.  Do you understand their strategy, agree with their corporate culture and values?  Identify areas where you can contribute to the organisation.  Make sure you read the company website!


People will be drawn to the energetic, enthusiastic person over the dull or arrogant person.



“A good lawyer tells you how to do it” – Life After Law with Tim Freshwater

This week we were joined at BCKR by Tim Freshwater.

Since leaving the law, Tim has held a variety of non-executive roles, here in the UK and in Asia. He currently chairs Goldman Sachs Asia Bank, is the SID at Savills PLC and is a NED on the boards of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, Swire Pacific and Chelsfield Asia Limited. Tim is also a Senior Advisor to the Brunswick Group, the corporate communications firm.

Tim’s mix of advisory and board work across two continents and cultures will allow members to see how lawyers can reinvent themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

Here is a summary of what he had to say;

Tim started by saying how lucky he had been in his career. He would not have retired from his 30-year career at Slaughter and May in the mid 1990s, if it had not been for his Hong Kong experience with the firm which he greatly enjoyed and which gave him two canvases to play on. This led him into a change of career, joining Flemings at the age of 51 and, subsequently, Goldman Sachs. His composite CV has meant that at the age of 72 he is still fairly busy and broadly, based in Hong Kong.

He now has 3 public NED roles:
• The Hong Kong Stock Exchange
• Savills
• Swire Pacific

He is also Chairman of a small bank in Hong Kong.

Moving away from law relatively early gave Tim a new career path. When he left S&M, no partners had an outside role (in contrast to the 1960s). Now firms are a bit more flexible about allowing partners to take on outside interests.

The prejudice against lawyers is hard to overcome – so taking on roles whilst in practice will give you a vital track record. Headhunters and hostile chairmen tend to think lawyers tell you what you can’t do. Whereas a good lawyer will tell you how to do it! Remind headhunters of this.

Lawyers need to find a way of inserting themselves into the committee structure – but these roles are limited. Headhunters be reticent to offer up lawyers to RemCo – Tim’s experience is that they sometimes prefer people with an HR background [but other lawyers have had significant success on the RemCo.]

What do you look for in a NED when going through the appointment process?
• People you can trust
• A business you can understand

Are there any sectors you would avoid?
• Those with litigation risk such as tobacco or an airline
• Banks – the complexity of the business means that you need to have complete trust in the people in it

What do you do about D&O cover?
This is essential – and is usually provided through the company. It is the one document he reads carefully. You should always reserve the right to get independent legal advice at the cost of the company.

Do people still regard you as a lawyer?
Yes – most of his close contacts know him as a lawyer but this is leavened by the knowledge that he has had wider experience since he retired.

Most opportunities he has had have come through clients which he knew while he was in full time legal practice.

It is curious that very few banks have taken lawyers onto their boards (particularly post 2008). Regulators seem to have deep seated prejudices against lawyers. They would prefer people with demonstrable financial acumen – strange in an era of focus on controls and governance.

Lawyers are still regarded as people who haven’t managed businesses but this is just not true. Again, make that known. More generally, there is very little external interest in how law firms are organised notwithstanding the outstanding success of City firms in recent years. Having said that, as a group, law firms have not been successful at informing the outside world about the scale and success of their business.

Lawyers have also, in general, been slow to embrace modern management principles with many thinking that taking on management responsibilities in a firm is for unsuccessful partner lawyers. Lawyers don’t tend serve themselves well.

Ian Meakins – The Chief Executive’s Perspective

This week we were delighted to welcome Ian Meakins to talk to our BCKR members. Having started his career as an advisory consultant Ian then switched into business working in both PE and listed companies including Travelex and Alliance Unichem. He finished his executive career as Chief Executive of the Wolseley Group at which point he made the transition into a NED career. He currently Chairs Rexel, a global electrical distribution company listed in Paris and TLN, a Dutch publishing distribution company.

Here is a summary of Ian’s very practical advice on how to go about getting your first NED role.

What makes a good NED?

  • Genuine interest in the business – use intelligence!

 You need to invest time/do your homework. Sample the product or visit a site.

  • Asks great questions – thoughtful/penetrating/constructive

There is no need to have the answers. Good NEDs ask great questions. That is the most valuable thing you can contribute. E.g. if it’s a service company – ask whether they measure service, how they do it, what do they do with the information gleaned

  • Industrial experience is not essential

Don’t get put off. Lawyers are good at getting difficult subjects on the table

Values – Integrity/ Results/ Self-aware! Put the company first and leave your ego at the door.
Ask good well thought through questions but don’t blather!

Ian believes that lawyers can be a great asset to a board but they need to become better at packaging up their experience to demonstrate their ‘commercial’ experience.

Lawyers have managed businesses – you need to sell yourself on this basis!

  • sales pipeline
  • international businesses
  • difficult clients
  • managing lots of people
  • winning clients and customers
  • difficult employment situations


The process and how to overcome the hurdles


  • You do need to get in front of the senior headhunters – they are the gate keepers. Increasingly even for PE backed companies. All the headhunters now have a PE non-exec practice. Use them to get into the PE ground, as this is simpler than trying to get interviews straight with the PE firms. Most PE firms are broadening out their thoughts to being more open with non-specific industry experience
  • Position yourself as a keen commercial individual; ask sensible questions about the business

Build your sponsors, before you start the journey.

  • Old clients, old colleagues, CEOs and Chairman who can vouch for you.
  • Don’t be shy – they will want to support – you must ask
  • You need to train them in your CV so they know what to say. Give them 3 key facts
  • Get them to write to headhunters and chairman saying how great you are, being proactive.

Get the role then add value

  • Boards are risk averse – give them data to reassure them
  • Two groups to please on the board each with very different criteria

–  NEDs and Chairman wanting challenge, good questions, values and teamwork
–  CEOs wanting compliance, less challenge, agreement and support.

Remember this through the interview process and in working out what to do thereafter.

Practice with your sponsors before you go live

  • Lawyers’ careers rarely involve being interviewed so they tend not to be very good at it. Practice is vital.

Evaluate all options in parallel

  • Push in parallel down the non-exec paths.
  • Getting your first role is critical. Don’t worry about size, charity/commercial.
  • Don’t be too picky about first role as it is important to get into the club. But a low risk one to learn with is better.

Watch out for ‘hairy’ options

  • A weak chair can be a problem to you going forward too.
  • Do be careful – your reputation is your asset so avoid joining a bad board
  • Look at the PE world – they are often looking to move the business into the

Be really clear on your criteria – what are you looking for

  • Be clear in your own mind about what you want out of the next stage. Continuing involvement in a business, doing a good thing for society, making easy money, bettering the world through better governance.
  • If you are clear you are likely to be more successful



How do you choose your sponsors?
You need to make sure they are people you have a good relationship with.
If they have a good reputation in their own right that is even better.
Your clients are really good options for sponsors

What makes a good NED in your opinion?
The less strong NEDs have an absolute prejudice about the answer. They can’t engage in any solution other than their answer. The best are those who simply ask the big open questions. They want to impact change, not just being bloody minded. They need to be strong individuals, holding the right issues in the room.

Do you think being on a charity board helps?
It is absolutely better than not having any previous board experience. If one of your sponsors chairs the board event better as they will have seen you in action and can make specific recommendations.

Is particular expertise relevant?
Most boards will want a couple of experts but certainly won’t want a board full of experts.
You are not there to give the executives the answers. They are looking for catalysts.


Lawyers – A Great Fit For NHS Boards

We were delighted to welcome Laura Carstensen and Janice Scanlan to our BCKR Breakfast Event this week to discuss the value of joining an NHS Trust and how you might go about it.

Laura’s wide ranging portfolio includes being a non-executive director of NHS Improvement where she sits on the committee with responsibility for trust leadership, directly appointing to NHS Trusts and influencing the role in Foundation Trusts. She works closely with Janice who heads NHS Non-Executive Development.

Laura was a partner at Slaughter and May until 2004, when she began her portfolio career, successfully combining business and public service roles. She currently chairs AIM listed Park Group and is a NED on the Co-op Bank board. Laura has also been deputy chair of the Competition Commission and a Commissioner for Equality and Human Rights.

Here is a summary of what they had to say:

Why join an NHS board?

• You will find it really rewarding
• You are doing something worthwhile
• It is the definition of public service
• You will learn a lot about boards, non-exec behaviours, committees etc.

A lot of us will have had direct personal experience with the NHS and will therefore feel passionate about it.

Lawyers are seen more positively in the NHS board context. Why:
Because governance is a hot topic in the NHS and lawyers are good at identifying risk, ensuring decisions are made, looking at detail, pulling out the salient details from large documents, asking pertinent questions and are confident asking challenging questions.
Their skills are very transferable in this highly regulated environment. They are skilled at ensuring compliance without stifling.

As a general observation, it is an often unrecognised skill of lawyers that they work well in crises and difficult situations (because it is an inherent aspect of the day job). It is a useful attitude for some aspects of board life.

Laura’s original route into the NHS was through her interest in regulation. While she was at the Competition and Markets Authority, she joined the board of Chester Hospital – her local hospital in Manchester – and it led to a change in her view completely. She began with a pro competition/regulation attitude, but, sitting on that board made her realise the weight of regulation made it very difficult for the board to have a strategic approach.

Laura later joined the board of NHS Improvement, an organisation which helps hospitals to reach their 5-year review targets by assisting in the appointment of board members to their boards and creating a talent pool to help boards deliver improved performance.

Laura is now passionately for de-regulation and cooperation between NHS entities – now the core of the NHS approach.

Janice is head of non-executive development at NHS Improvement. She said the good news is that there is plenty of opportunity for potential NEDs within the NHS – with 233 local secondary health care providers across England across a range which includes very large Trusts like Barts Health NHS Trust and much smaller Trusts like Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

If you are looking to join the board of an NHS Trust identify an area you feel passionate about whether that is a general hospital or a more specialist entity such as a Mental Health Trust, Ambulance Trust etc.

The benefits of taking a non-exec role on an NHS board are:
• That you will be giving something back
• It is a vitally important public service
• Where else can you get access to that range of roles
• You get exposure to different leadership styles
• It is a great opportunity to use your skills in a new environment
• It is a good way to raise your personal profile and increase your personal network as you will sit on boards with the business community (who also sit as NEDs) as well as a wide range of people in your local community

What does NHS Improvement do?

• It is a one stop shop for people wanting to get involved in NED roles in the NHS
• They keep a talent pool of interested people
• They have a mailing list of roles that you can be added to
• They recognise that not everyone comes ‘board ready’ and have set up NeXT Director – a scheme established to help find and support the next generation of talented people (although this is largely aimed at aspiring NEDs from BAME communities

Janice would be very happy to have a conversation with any member who might be interested in pursuing a role on an NHS board. She is happy to look at CVs and supporting statements in the application process, and to facilitate personal introductions to the Chair of a particular trust which you might be interested in.

The application process.
It does not involve the full blown public sector process. The primary focus for Chairs is to see that you are committed and to understand your motivation.


How different is an NHS board to a Board in other Not for Profit/Corporate sectors?
In essence, it is relatively similar in operation. It does have its own language, which can be a barrier initially, but you would become accustomed to that within a couple of board meetings.

Like any organisation it has its own culture. Though it has a reputation, on a frontline level, for problems of bullying behaviours, Laura has never seen that and in fact has only seen people bending over backwards to get things done.

How much autonomy will a board have?
If the Trust is ticking along with no particular issue – then the Board will be relatively free to operate.

If, on the other hand, you are a Trust in special measures then NHS Improvement will be significantly involved. A representative might sit in on board meetings (distinct from being on the board). But their aim is to help and support the board to resolve their issues and improve their ability to deliver.

People worry about personal liability and reputational damage. What sensible due diligence should you undertake before taking a role on an NHS Trust board?

All board rooms are or course becoming more high profile – you should accept that. Of course, the NHS is different when it comes to clinical errors which evoke very strong public reactions. However, the boards are very transparent.

Make sure you have frank discussions with the Chair, Chair of Audit and Medical Director before taking on a role.

One of a lawyer’s skills is that they work well in a crisis!

If you are seriously interested in joining an NHS board start networking in that world then the NeXT Director scheme is a good start. You should also:

• Talk to people who already sit on a board and
• Attend a board meeting – as NHS Trust board meetings are open to the public

What is the average time commitment?

Advertised generally at 2.5 days per month which includes reading papers and attending a board and perhaps committee meeting.

The board meetings are quite often during office hours. Improvement is encouraging boards to change that approach and be more flexible.

You do get paid a small sum as a member of an NHS Trust:

• £10-15,000 pa for a Foundation Trust, and
• £6,000 pa for an NHS Trust

Why Networking is the Key to Your Next Board Role – with Gavin Orr.

At this week’s Breakfast Event we looked at life from the Headhunter’s Perspective with Lomond founder Gavin Orr.

Lomond is an entrepreneurial search firm focusing in large part on board appointments in the financial, consumer, business services and natural resources sectors. Gavin founded the firm and heads their Private Equity arm, counting many leading and emerging brands amongst his clients. Gavin combines a genuine interest in his clients, their businesses and their sectors – believing in teamwork, transparency and a straightforward approach to doing business.

In case you didn’t make it, here is a summary of what Gavin had to say.

Twice qualified as a lawyer, in both Scotland and England, Gavin Orr founded his headhunting firm Lomond Consulting nearly 20 years ago, in the middle of the technology boom.

Lomond works with many commercial clients across a wide range of sectors, including financial services, metals and mining, retailing, business services and consumer products. They serve all sizes of company, whether PLCs or PE-backed. Gavin has placed numerous NEDs in such companies. Lomond does relatively little work in the public sector or in Not for Profit.

Gavin adopted a different approach from many of our speakers, by questioning the BCKR attendees on their motivations and aspirations.

One recurrent theme for Gavin was the need not to be over-reliant on the headhunters. He strongly advises you to use your personal network in your quest for portfolio roles, whether or not you have a ‘classic’ or more diverse CV. When networking, you need to be determined, even ‘pushy’…. i.e. don’t come up with excuses, focus on the ten reasons why you should be taken seriously!

Gavin recommends identifying all the 100 or so senior people you have had meaningful encounters with during your career – and then deleting all those you don’t like, with whom there was no obvious bond or chemistry! Focus on those who clearly respected you and your work, preferably in the last five years (unless you have kept up contact over the years). Be direct, let them know clearly what you are after and then enough well-placed people should be prepared to meet for a coffee and help if they can. Highlight what you can bring in terms of experience and the contribution you can make, and stress that Law is a people focused client service business, usually with an international focus.

From the initial list of a hundred or so you will probably end up with no more than ten quality contacts, but this is fine as you can then build outwards to useful new contacts from this nucleus.

There was then a lively debate on whether previous experience of public sector/NFP board roles enhances your ‘sale-ability’ as a potential NED candidate in the commercial sector. Gavin cautioned there was a risk that over-emphasis on ‘not-for-profits’ would diminish your commercial credibility in the market.

There was a general consensus during the ensuing discussion that undertaking external roles while still practicing will certainly broaden your perspectives, help you become more widely networked and most likely will enable you to be a better candidate. However, such roles in themselves do not ‘open doors’ in the commercial sector.

Gavin echoed this point and stressed the primary need is to focus on communicating the commercial focus and relevance of your core legal career. He emphasised the need to get some NED interview practice, as those interviews are usually quite different from a standard job interview, and to ensure that your CV puts your legal experience across in terms that were relevant to the major tasks and decisions that confront commercial boards.

And to ‘network, network, network,’ throughout your career.

Stuart Chambers – The Chairman’s Perspective.

We were delighted to welcome Stuart Chambers to BCKR for our latest Breakfast Event.

Stuart spent much of his executive career with Mars, Pilkington and Nippon Glass, before turning to portfolio life. He has since chaired technology company ARM Holdings and packaging giant Rexam, with NED roles on Associated British Ports, Smiths Group, Manchester Airport Group and Tesco. He currently sits as a NED on the Takeover Panel, on the advisory board of Spencer Stuart, is a fellow of SAID Business School and mentors senior board members.

Here is a summary of what we learned;

Stuart’s vast boardroom experience, his knowledge of NED recruitment, and his mentoring role, put him a strong position to guide members into the boardroom. He had a lot to share.

Stuart started his NED career 16 years ago and has since been on eight UK plc boards. One as CEO, two as Chair and five as a NED (chairing the Rem Com on three of these).

How do you go about recruiting NEDs to your boards?

Stuart’s approach is first to examine the nature of the strategic challenge in the business over the next ten years i.e. is it growth, restructure, new markets etc. and then to look at the first-hand experience needed in the executive and non-executive team to meet that challenge.

He would then develop a matrix showing the required skills for that team along the top and the individuals already in post down the left-hand side (with any NED due to exit in next 12-18 months left off) and then it becomes a simple case of filling in the ‘skill-gaps’.

On top of that is the diversity overlay.

Stuart then hands this matrix over to the search firm, who will, every now and then, come up with a few wild card candidates who don’t meet the brief. However, he believes that the smaller the board the more effective the board is – so, if possible he ensures that each NED can tick more than one box on the matrix, taking into account that you need people to chair the Audit Committee and Remco as well as have relevant sector experience, marketing, HR or tech (depending on the business).

What advice would you give to lawyers wanting to follow a NED career?

• Forget about your legal qualification – that is a ‘by the way’ conversation piece. ‘Lawyer’ is never a skill on the matrix as you can buy that advice in.
• It is your skills that you need to sell, whether that be in particular sector knowledge, take-overs, people skills etc.
• Spend time thinking about the areas you have covered in your legal career, what you have done and write your CV that way.
• Think about the companies or types of company you would like to work in. Consider asking headhunters to put you on the long list for those companies if roles come up. Be shameless and enthusiastic with those you meet and let companies know you would love to be on their board if they are ever looking.
• If you haven’t been a NED before – don’t be sizist. A FTSE 250 role would be a good stepping stone to gaining a FTSE 100 role. The issues are broadly the same, they are good fun and tend to need to more help from their boards.
• Not for profits boards are a stepping stone though not necessarily good currency with plc boards.
• Think about getting yourself on an advisory board of another service company. If nothing else – you will rub shoulders with lots of different people who may be useful in your network for future roles.

If you want to pursue a NED career, networking is vital. You need to be ‘in the know’ about what is going on, to be making connections. The payback will be that one of these connections goes on to recommend you for something, having already established a degree of trust in you through your networking activities.

How do you best present yourself on your CV? What would impress Stuart in terms of experience?
• It goes back to the matrix and what experience is needed in the board room.
• You need to define those 2-3 areas where you have significant experience and feel you can add value. Talk about those skills not your brilliant legal career.
• Learn as much as you can about the people on the interview panel and work some of those facts into your conversation.
• Ask the panel questions about their business.
• Show that you are interested, enthusiastic.
• Don’t worry about the finance piece. You wouldn’t expect everyone around the table to be able to answer those questions. That is for the chair of audit. The board room should be a team effort with everyone around it having a different expertise to contribute to the whole.

How do you get on to that first committee?
• Try and look for opportunities in your day job to get some relevant experience e.g. working on remuneration
• If you are working in a particular sector – start establishing your network in that sector as it will pay off in the future.
• Think of building your CV from within your day job
• Risk committees can be a good area for lawyers – avoid becoming the lawyer in the room who says ‘No’ to risk – rather look at ways to make something work whilst considering the risks involved. Companies succeed by taking risks.

Meet the portfolio lawyer with a love of sport – Ian Metcalfe

Joining us recently was Ian Metcalfe, former Managing Partner of Wragge & Co, who is now embracing a broad and varied portfolio career; in private companies, the listed world education and sport. He is a NED on the boards of Mercia Technologies PLC and Terberg RosRoca Group Limited, and is a governor of the Foundation Board of the Schools of King Edward VI. He chairs Rugby’s Professional Game Board, is SID on the board of the RFU and chairs the board of Commonwealth Games England. Ian was also a director of England Rugby 2015.

In case you missed it, here is a summary of what he had to say.

Ian hasn’t had a conventional career in law. He started as a legal aid solicitor in the early 1980s and went on to become a prosecutor. This allowed him to play rugby seriously (Ian played for Sale, Moseley, and toured New Zealand with England in 1985, as well as representing the Barbarians).

However, after being badly injured in his late twenties, Ian had to reshape his career. He wanted to stay in Birmingham but do better work, so rather than move to London as a prosecutor he decided to retrain as a corporate lawyer. He joined Wragge & Co, eventually becoming Managing Partner.

To keep his connection with sport he also moved into sports administration, mainly in rugby, and eventually joined the RFU Council, later chairing the Professional Rugby board and helping to organise the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Ian always tried to maintain the broadest network possible outside his day job which stood him in good stead during his career. He believes that taking on the RFU roles made him a better Managing Partner.

He always tries to repay the courtesy, decency and respect he was shown on journey up, and says, ‘if you spread enough bread on the water some of it always comes back as ham sandwiches’. He is prepared to have a cup of coffee and a chat with anyone and finds connecting people together a joy.

On retirement from Wragges, aged 56, he was keen to have another career. The best bit of advice he was given was:

• Only do things where you can add value
• Only work for people you trust and
• Only do something you enjoy.

Odgers, who have the leading Sports sector headhunting practice in the UK, phoned him shortly after retirement to discuss the role of chairman of England Commonwealth Games. He was appointed after the Glasgow games, and rebuilt the board which he is proud to say is now 40% female and diverse in race, gender and experience. His job there is now to get the England team to the Gold Coast (Australia) in 2018 and the youth team to the Bahamas.

Ian’s other NED roles include an AIM listed public company, which he’d previously advised as a client. The chair, Susan Searle, didn’t want to use a headhunter and wanted someone She could trust. She chairs four listed companies, and was very skeptical about taking a lawyer on – regarding them as risk averse, obstructive and un-commercial. However, she was persuaded to meet Ian and she took him on. He quickly managed to change their views during a flotation, – external lawyers were used but Ian was able to interpret what was going on for the board.

Ian is also on the board of Europe’s largest waste-disposal vehicle business. The company is Dutch and Spanish and is family owned. They were looking for a NED who was recently retired, with legal skills and with links to Birmingham, where they owned a major UK subsidiary. He has found being involved with a global manufacturing business very interesting with all the issues around health and safety, anti-corruption, employee engagement etc. Ian is also a governor at his former school.

For most lawyers, the more obvious ways into the NED world are through the arts, sport, schools or charities. Health, too, though this field can sometimes be problematic. Any of these types of roles allow you to demonstrate a track record and credibility.

Q. How different was it being in the board room as an advisor versus part of the board room?

Lawyers sometimes suffer from a significant lack of self-confidence which translates into an unwillingness to say something in the boardroom, even when others are saying exactly what you’re thinking. As you build your confidence you realise that being a lawyer is a fantastic training ground for being a NED provided you spend time getting to know the business and read your papers. The people piece is too often forgotten in the boardroom, so lawyers can become the conscience of the boardroom.

Q. How should our profession counteract prejudice that we are weak on the financial side?

It is a communication issue. You need demonstrate your ability to read a balance sheet. Don’t duck financial debates. After all, most lawyers have to absorb a lot of client financial information during their careers. Create a debate. There should be a general wave of changed understanding.

Q. How important is the wholesale implementation of the Sports Governance Code?

The position was so bad in so many sports that Ian thinks it is a necessary step. There are still a lot of badly broken sporting organisations. There does need to be a better BALANCE of those who understand the sport versus those with business experience.

Q. Do you think your outside interests benefited your firm?

On reflection, while at times outside demands can be time-consuming and it is potentially irritating for your colleagues to read about you in the papers on something nothing to do with the firm, generally the firm got more than they bargained for – Ian worked even harder in his day job to compensate and certainly won more business because of it.

The Portfolio Lawyer – Thomas Keevil chats to BCKR

We were delighted to welcome Tom Keevil to our latest BCKR Breakfast. An experienced lawyer, trustee and non executive director, he was full of useful insights and advice. Here is a summary of what he had to say.

Tom was a partner at Simmons & Simmons, before going in-house as GC for three FTSE 100 companies -Gallagher, United Utilities and Barratt. He is now Chairman of City West Properties (Westminster City Council’s public/private housing management operation, with 21,000 properties and he sits on the board of the Land Trust).

Tom stressed there is a whole panoply of options for NED and trustee roles – public, private, not for profit, regulators, charities, private equity etc. But their common factor is the need for solvency and value for money spent. For all categories of board, competition for places fierce. To highlight the real nature of this competition:
• City West was recently recruiting for two unpaid board members. They received 150 applicantions, mostly of pretty credible quality.
• When the Land Trust was recruiting recently for a trustee (also unpaid), 150 people downloaded the ad and again over 50 applications were received.

Do organisations need a lawyer in the board? The answer is ‘no’! But the skill set they can bring is valuable. You won’t be appointed for legal advice, so reinvent yourself and view your own experience as a future board member, not as an ex-lawyer!

Boards have been getting smaller in size in recent years, which doesn’t facilitate greater diversity of experience. Most boards want some NEDs with CEO and CFO experience….’to keep management honest and realistic’ as well as some qualified accountants, so that leaves limited room for other types of experience.

Where is broad legal experience particularly relevant? One area is membership of the Remco. This is now a high profile role, and Remco chairs increasingly often need to meet and explain the issues to analysts and shareholders. Lawyers’ skills are well suited, i.e. dispassionate and not afraid to confront difficult issues.

How does a Lawyer get onto a search longlist?
You need, of course, to meet the right headhunters and you should seek network contacts who may be able to recommend you. You then have to overcome some prejudices and to demonstrate the following qualities:
• tact – ability to deliver outside the boardroom as well as inside
• attention to detail and
• sector knowledge (again, use your network)

You should ideally demonstrate that you are:
• a business person first and foremost, but with legal training
• able to act as a mentor, a conscience, for the board and
• able to act as an ambassador – using your network to widen contacts, open doors for the business

Tom’s journey
Tom concedes that, post law, there’s been a lot of luck in his career. He spent 16 years as a litigator, but as soon as he went in house, his legal skills turned to general management skills, despite the GC job title. He learned to apply his legal skills in a business context, not as an external advisor. The culture at Barratt – in the construction business, quickly taught him how to deal effectively with very practical people and issues!

He is on the SRA board, – he had a massive row with them that was reported right up to the top of the SRA which in turn lead to a call to discuss going on the SRA Board! He also serves on the board of FMI, an American insurance company – he loves it, as it is transparent and the people are good. This makes a real difference.

Over the years, Tom has learnt that:
• you should only apply for things you’ll enjoy.
• don’t take rejection personally.
• the Government appointment processes are very long and extended
• always double the time commitment for any role, compared to the job description – understand the commitment when you take things on.

Tom is cynical about spending your money on joining a pure networking group – they tend just to link you with other people at the same stage. Use the network you already have, go for one to one situations – avoid networking events that involve only people who are all looking for the same thing, or a drinks party of 100 lawyers! Cups of coffee with a handful of senior individual contacts are a much better way. Keep in touch with who you have known and other former professional advisers you have met. If you can get access, however, membership of the Deloitte Academy is very worthwhile (though you generally need to have a listed role to join).

Regulatory boards
These are very different and can be frustrating. You can find up to 20 people around the table – lobbyists, speech makers, journalists etc., all with their own agendas. That makes it all very difficult to get to the key issues and for you to make a difference.

In summary
• you need to invest lots of time to do any NED or Trustee role properly, to be part of it, to drive it, rather than just being a ‘governance tick’
• the role of chair, if you can get one, is far more enjoyable than the mainstream NED role
• lawyers bring an ability to negotiate with difficult people, quietly behind the scenes -use it!
• don’t be afraid of asking the stupid question.
• you learn a great deal by being on board committees, that’s where a lot of key stuff is decided.
• charities boards can be difficult, hard to feel involved as they tend to be large, sometimes don’t meet that often and some have limited opportunities to get involved or meet outside of the board meetings.