bckr | Blog Large Image Whole Post
page-template,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post,page-template-blog-large-image-whole-post-php,page,page-id-18956,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-1.7.1,vertical_menu_enabled,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.4.2,vc_responsive

Blog Large Image Whole Post

Grayshot Concerts in Hindhead seeks new Trustee – legal knowledge sought

Join our Board of Trustees and help us deliver our world-class classical music concerts and the various community outreach and education activities.

What will you be doing?

Due to imminent retirements, and following a strategic review, Grayshott Concerts is looking for new Trustees. We would like to talk to interested candidates who can bring to bear one or more of the following skills and experience:

1. financial reporting and accounting

2. legal requirements for charities

3. fundraising experience

4. community outreach and/or music education.

The Board has oversight over an excellent management team, consisting of a highly engaged group of volunteers, a freelance professional accountant, a PR agency, professional web and IT, bookkeeping and accountancy services.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for Trustees who are committed to using their time and skills to help deliver the core mission of the charity and provide effective governance and control. We are looking for people with

  1. A passion for the Arts and the benefits artistic endeavour brings to isolated communities
  2. Experience and understanding of governance in a small/medium sized charity
  3. Commitment to and passion for the Grayshott Concerts model, approach and ethos
  4. Enthusiasm and a flexible attitude
  5. A creative approach to solving problems

….and skills/experience in one or more of the following areas:

Finance: Knowledge of charity accounting and a understanding of monitoring financial performance preferably in a small organisation (note: we are not looking for a Treasurer, but knowledge of charity accounting and reporting would be desirable in all Trustees)

Fundraising: Knowledge of the UK’s charitable funding landscape. Understanding the importance of contributed income and the need for continuous cultivation of the membership and other networks.

Legal requirements for charities: An understanding of charity law and the requirements of charity reporting and accountability. An understanding of fundraising regulation and its requirements.

Operational: Experience with- or an understanding of organising large scale public events.

Community Outreach: An understanding of the importance of music in the community and of the beneficial social and emotional impact of live music on young people and communities.

Please click here for further information.

Care home charity for those with neurological conditions seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

The Mortimer Society is seeking Trustees from a wide range of backgrounds with compassion and commitment to provide excellence in care for the residents within the two residential homes. We are particularly interested in people with expertise in legal matters or marketing/fundraising or a background in medicine, nursing and healthcare.

The Mortimer Society

The Mortimer Society is a charity which aims to provide quality and safe care for those with a physical and/or a learning disability and in particular those people living with Huntington’s Disease and other neurological conditions. This care is provided in two residential care homes – Frindsbury House in Rochester and Birling House in Snodland.

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of The Mortimer Society and Board members are both charitable trustees and directors of a company limited by guarantee and their activities are governed by both charity and company law. Trustees are jointly and severally responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the charity and must ensure that the charity is solvent, well run and delivers against its charitable objectives.

We are keen to ensure the diversity of our organisation, and the Mortimer Society community is represented by our Board of Trustees. We would encourage applications from candidates from all backgrounds and would welcome the opportunity to hear from disabled people and from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and LGBTQI+ candidates.

What does a Trustee do?

The Board of Trustees (the Board) is the governing body of The Mortimer Society. Board members are both charitable trustees and directors of a company limited by guarantee and their activities are governed by both charity and company law. Trustees are jointly and severally responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the charity and must ensure that the charity is solvent, well run and delivers against its charitable objects.

The Trustees are jointly and severally responsible for the management and success of the charity.

The Trustees are legally responsible for the charity’s money and property held in trust on behalf of the charity’s beneficiaries.

The Trustees shall ensure that the charity achieves best practice in all aspects of the charity’s work and will monitor the charity’s attainment in this area.

The Trustees shall ensure that the charity provides the best possible service to its beneficiaries, members, external stakeholders and the public and will monitor this and put in place a mechanism for the charity to welcome and review comments and/ or complaints about its service in order to improve its future service.

The Trustees shall review the work of the charity by monitoring its performance against agreed objectives and indicators.

The Trustees shall promote and progress equality and diversity within the organisation.

The commitment for a Trustee is to attendance at 4 half day Board meetings every year, a half day annual general meeting, special meetings as required and training of up to one day annually. Attendance at the social functions at the homes is actively encouraged to allow Trustees to meet residents, families and staff.

What are we looking for?

The Mortimer Society Board wishes to recruit new Trustees to widen its skill base and we recognise the benefits and opportunities of having a diverse Board and are actively encouraging applicants from a wide range of backgrounds.

In particular we are looking primarily for trustees with an interest and enthusiasm for the residential care of people with disability.  We would also greatly benefit from someone who could bring expertise in legal matters (although we would still have specialist advice from the existing legal support for specific issues), medical or nursing experience or knowledge of marketing and fundraising.

We are seeking people with a commitment to the Society and showing:

Passion and commitment to improving the care for the residents

Dedication to inclusive working, valuing difference and respecting all people

An ability to challenge and debate with respect and accept constructive discussion

A strategic vision

Pro-active attitude and enthusiasm

Honesty, integrity and reliability

If this is your first time considering the role of Trustee, we will ensure you receive support and guidance so that you can participate effectively. These rewarding and stimulating roles are voluntary, but travel and subsistence expenses will be paid.

What difference will you make?

As a Trustee you will have a direct impact on the governance, strategy and operational compliance of the charity. The Board is essential in providing the effective leadership of the charity, to ensure that we continue to provide excellent care for our residents and their families.

Trustees will be part of a Board that supports a passionate and dedicated team – the Executive Management Team and all care and support staff.

If you would like to have an informal and confidential discussion please contact Paul Studd, CEO at the Mortimer Society – 01634 244689

Here is a link for the Mortimer Society

Testicular cancer charity seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

Come and join our successful charity! It’s in the Bag Cancer Support is a charity based in the South West of England raising awareness of, and supporting men, with testicular cancer. We are looking for a trustee with legal expertise.

What will you be doing?

We are looking for a trustee with legal expertise to play a significant role in strengthening our board of trustees. To ensure It’s in the Bag Cancer Support remains legally compliant, ascertain the challenges entailed in partnership working including the potential of mergers and appraising the implications of contracts, intellectual property and data protection. To help develop and review policies and contractual documents.

This is a voluntary role for a three-year period, with a three-year extension subject to satisfactory performance and the Board currently meet a minimum of four times a year + AGM.

All reasonable expenses are reimbursed.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for a trustee with legal expertise to play a significant role in strengthening our board of trustees. To ensure It’s in the Bag Cancer Support remains legally compliant, ascertain the challenges entailed in partnership working including the potential of mergers and appraising the implications of contracts, intellectual property and data protection. To help develop and review policies and contractual documents.


  • Analytical and evaluation skills, demonstrating good judgement.
  • Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • Good communication and leadership skills.
  • A team-oriented approach to problem solving and to management.
  • Experience in a leadership role.
  • Experience of working within the charity, voluntary and public sector.
  • Commercial and/or governance experience.
  • Excellent networking skills, influencing and communication skills.


  • In possession of a relevant legal qualification
  • Experience of providing legal support and advice (to a charity would be
  • desirable but not essential)
  • Legal experience from either the private or public sector, though experience of the charity sector would also be advantageous.
  • An understanding of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • Understanding of data protection legislation and changing regulations.
  • Understanding of fundraising and charity legislation.

We welcome applications from all sections of the community to enable us to have a diverse trustee board that reflects the work of our charity.

The role provides a great deal of experience and satisfaction, the opportunity to develop your skills and utilise your expertise and knowledge. If you are a people person with enthusiasm for networking alongside making a big difference to a small charity, then we would really like to hear from you.

Please click here for further information.

The Wordsworth Trust seeks new Trustee – law expertise welcomed

The Wordsworth Trust is an educational charity that operates Wordsworth Grasmere, a newly relaunched Lake District visitor attractionWe also care for a world-class collection and historic hamlet in the heart of the Lake District World Heritage Site. Our educational and outreach work enriches the lives of thousands of people each year, and we are an international centre for research. 

In 2020 we completed Reimagining Wordsworth, a £6.5 million investment in our site and activities.  Our aim is to enable more people, from a more diverse range of backgrounds, to discover Wordsworth’s poetry.  We are now seeking new trustees with a range of skills, experience and backgrounds to help us to realise this potential 

Were especially keen to increase the diversity of our board, and  to receive applications from people living in CumbriaWhether you’re an experienced charity trustee or looking for your first opportunity, we’d love to hear from you! 

For more information view the website here or click here for the recruitment pack.

ActionAid seeks new Trustee with legal experience

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.

We are recruiting for two volunteer Trustees to join the Board to help lead us as we deliver on our commitments. We are focusing on finding people with the following skills and experience:

  • Human Resources (with experience of safeguarding and diversity and inclusion work a distinct advantage),
  • Legal.

We are keen to receive applications from those with a proven ability to work at a strategic governance level, with the ability to ask probing questions and to hold management to account. Previous Board experience is not mandatory, but would be an advantage.

We ask that all applicants passionately support our mission to create a world where women live free from violence and poverty. In 2019, we launched our My Feminist Behaviours to implement Feminist Leadership Principles into our workplace, in order to work towards a positive and inclusive use of power, to create an organisation which is capable of changing the world. We are therefore looking for people enthusiastic to see this work taken forward and committed to our approach (though previous experience in feminist leadership is not a requirement).

We are keen to increase the diversity of our Board because people from a BAME background, who have a disability, or who identify as LGBTQI are currently under-represented on our Board and this is something we are committed to changing. Therefore, we particularly welcome applications from candidates from these groups. We also place importance on ensuring that young people are represented on our Board and therefore we would still encourage you to apply if you are between 18 and 29 years of age.

Applicants must be in a position to commit the required amount of time to the role of Trustee. This includes attendance at four board meetings per year; in March, June, September and December, as well as several committee meetings per year plus preparation and advance reading for these.

The role is voluntary and therefore unpaid, but we do pay reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

If you have the passion to work within an organisation committed to working with women and girls living in poverty to enable them to change their lives for good, we are keen to receive your application.


Please click here for further information.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

On behalf of The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust we are delighted to be recruiting four Trustee roles including the key position of Chair of Trustees.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are particularly interested in individuals with could bring skills in any of the following areas:

  • Public advocacy and PR expertise
  • Legal expertise
  • Canals expertise
  • Events expertise

The Trust has come a very long way in the 44 years since its inauguration as an Amenity Group and has grown from strength to strength through the generous input of countless numbers of volunteers working to protect, conserve and improve the route of the waterway for the benefit of local communities and the environment.

Since 2001 the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has been growing and developing into a heritage restoration body, planning and managing the most complex and largest waterway restoration project in the UK. Along the way, we have organised river and canal festivals, purchased both a pub and more land, and continued restoration both through our loyal volunteers and by using major contractors.

Their aim is to create a sustainable, accessible and desirable destination for people and wildlife by restoring the historic Wilts & Berks Canal as a blue and green corridor through the region, adding economic, lifestyle and biodiversity value as the canal winds its way through communities and landscapes. The projects will create a regional treasure to be cherished by all.


Please click here for further information.

Office for Students: Provider Risk Committee seeks 2 Council Members – public law expertise welcomed

The Office for Students regulates higher education providers in England on behalf of all students. We aim to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Our work covers all kinds of students whether undergraduate or postgraduate, home or international, young or mature, full-time or part-time, studying on a campus or by distance learning.

The role

We will make up to two appointments to our Provider Risk Committee in September 2021. The committee has reserved decision-making powers under the OfS’s scheme of delegation to take regulatory decisions in relation to English higher education providers. We are looking for applicants with knowledge and experience of a complex principles-based regulatory environment, for example, a regulator, an advisor, a regulated undertaking, a consumer body, a representative body or similar.


Who they’re looking for


  • Knowledge and experience of a complex principles-based regulatory environment, for example, a regulator, an advisor, a regulated undertaking, a consumer body, a representative body or similar.
  • Experience of working effectively in high-level multi-disciplinary groups and/or non-executive roles.
  • Able to absorb, analyse and draw conclusions from, data and qualitative information and form rigorous evidence-based judgements about risk.
  • Able to work as part of a team, constructively influence the team, and accept collective decisions, respecting the strict confidentiality of the committee’s business.
  • Able to bring professional expertise or experience of working with others to create fair or equitable situations, and to demonstrate an understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion issues.


  • Demonstrable understanding of the higher education experience of students from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Knowledge and experience of approaches to risk identification and management.
  • Understanding of the current and future issues and risks facing higher education in England.
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • delivering for customers using market mechanisms
    • governance, risk management and audit
    • accountancy and financial management
    • public law
    • education.
  • An understanding of the role of the OfS and the policy and regulatory context in which it operates.

We value diversity and the wealth of perspectives, experience and ideas that it brings to our work, and we strive to embed equality of opportunity in everything we do.

We recruit based on fair and open competition and welcome applications from candidates regardless of age, disability, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic background. We particularly welcome applications from disabled candidates and from Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates as these groups are underrepresented in relation to our diversity action plan aspirations for committee appointments.


Please click here for further information.

Home care charity Vincentian Care Plus seeks new Trustee with a background in law

Vincentian Care Plus is seeking new Trustees who have a passion for domiciliary care services and enhancing the lives of retired adults within their homes. Established in 2004 by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, we have been providing our care services to adults in the Westminster area of London. When needs become more complex with age or disability, Vincentian Care Plus offer specialised services to enable on-going independent living.

We are looking to recruit more Trustees to join our Board and provide effective leadership, governance and strategic direction to our charity, in line with the Vincentian values which inspire our work, our charitable objectives, and as required by law. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with backgrounds in finance, law, or adult social care.

Our ideal Trustees will have skills in strategic thinking, excellent communication and leadership, with management skills at senior levels and proven success in improving governance and services. You will have good interpersonal skills and ensure decisions are made for the overall success of the charity. Board meetings are held quarterly.


Please click here for further information.

Islington Play Association seeks new Trustee – welcomes applications from local residents

Do you believe in the power of play? If so we want to hear from you!

We are looking for a resourceful, creative and committed person to join our Board of Trustees.

IPA believes that play is what children do when they are allowed the freedom to explore their world. Our play places are unique, exciting places where no two days are the same.

IPA runs five adventure playgrounds, Paradise Park Children’s Centre and many other play projects across the borough. We welcome parents and carers across our services to support children to access play opportunities.

As we look for new ways to bring in funding and keep expanding our services in a time of reducing budges and increasing needs, we are looking for a resourceful, creative and committed person to strengthen our Board of Trustees. Expect to be amazed and inspired by what the children get up to and help us to make sure that more children get to play.


Please click here for a link to the full candidate pack.

The Caldecott Foundation (residential care/fostering/disadvantaged young people) seeks new Trustee with child/family law expertise

The Caldecott Foundation provides specialist residential care, fostering families and education for disadvantaged, vulnerable and traumatised young people in the UK.

An exciting opportunity to join Trustees and staff helping some of the most vulnerable children in our society to build a future and reach their potential by supporting the board with your knowledge and expertise in family and children law.

Role summary

  • Undertaking a lead role for the Board of Trustees on all matters associated with the legal aspects of the organisation
  • Using knowledge obtained through your career and legal work to help inform the organisation’s strategic plans
  • Working with Senior Management and other trustees to foster a better understanding within the Board of the legal aspects of the organisation
  • Acting as a critical friend to the organisation’s executive team when obtaining and acting on legal advice
  • Working alongside the Managing Director and staff helping them achieve the aims of the organisation and to optimise the relationship between the board of Trustees and senior management team
  • Ensuring that the organisation pursues its objects and responsibilities as defined in its governing document, Charity Law, Company Law and other relevant legislation/regulations

Person description

  • Experience as a solicitor and/or directly working in the field of family and children law
  • Someone with a passion for helping the most vulnerable children build a future and reach their potential
  • Someone with significant experience of operating at a senior level of business, preferably within an organisation which links to children and young people or someone who has worked with children and/or vulnerable adults in the past
  • Willingness to speak your mind but also listen to the views of different people before reaching a decision

What’s in it for the volunteer?

This is an exciting time to get involved with the work of the Caldecott Foundation, providing oversight of the organisation’s legal aspects and adding to the existing skills of fellow Trustees. This is an opportunity to get involved with the Caldecott Foundation at a strategic level, having a direct impact on the decision-making processes which will affect the organisation’s future as well as the quality, impact and thoroughness of its service delivery.

Time commitment

  • Board meetings are held five times a year and usually last 3hrs.
  • The board currently meet remotely and remote attendance can be supported going forward.
  • Most Trustees also sit on a committee which meet 2-3 times a year for about 2hrs.


Please click here for a link to the candidate pack and application information.

Community charity in Ipswich seeks new Trustee with legal experience

Ipswich Community Media (ICM) is a rapidly growing grassroots charity working based in the Westgate Ward in Ipswich, one of the most deprived wards in the country and the most diverse ward in Suffolk. Launched in 2015 by a group of people with a shared vision to serve the local community, we run free weekly sessions in music, media, creative arts and language learning.
Through innovative and engaging methods, we are able to boost self-esteem, interpersonal, social skills, group working and provide pathways to employment and volunteer opportunities.

Our mission is to challenge inequality by empowering people to transform their lives through learning and creativity.

We are particularly keen to hear from those with the following skills and experience:

  • Financial management
  • Fundraising experience
  • Experience working with marginalised communities
  • Setting targets, monitoring and evaluating performance and programmes in commercial and non-profit making Organisations
  • Legal matters
  • Recruitment and personnel management, including knowledge of employment legislation
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • IT systems
  • Campaigning
  • Education and learning
  • Safeguarding
  • Youth Work

Please click here for further information.

Medical innovation charity LifeArc seeks to appoint legal professional to its board

LifeArc is a UK registered and self-funding charity, with a 25-year legacy of collaborating with scientists on diagnostics and therapeutics focused on improving the lives of patients through medical innovation. As a self- funded charity, LifeArc can reinvest any income generated into furthering medical research. LifeArc drives medical innovation through its own translational research and works with a range of partners from industry, charities, universities, research organisations and others involved in improving lives for patients. The charity is undergoing a transformative change following the $1.3bn monetisation of a royalty interest from LifeArc’s work some years ago. The resources generated from this work has given LifeArc a tremendous opportunity to significantly enhance its own research activities aimed at advancing promising science into new health interventions for patients.

LifeArc is now seeking two Trustees to join its Board with experience in the following two areas:

• Biomed or Biotech investment professional with experience in early stage companies, or
• Legal professional with demonstrable experience at senior level in a Biomed, Biotech/pharma or Medical products company.


Please click here for further information.

Youth Concern seeks new Trustee with property / property law expertise

Youth Concern is seeking a Housing Trustee to join its board in order to provide property management guidance at our two sites: the Drop-In Centre and our supported accommodation project, The Next Step.

Role summary

This is a new trustee role that reflects the board’s recognition of the importance of managing our new split site operations.

You will:

  • Support the CEO in maintaining good relationships with both landlords
  • Support the Drop-In Centre and The Next Step Project Managers in all aspects related to their sites, for example ensuring our premises meet legal requirements and follow best practice
  • Advise as necessary on health and safety, repairs and maintenance projects and fire safety
  • Work closely with the CEO to advise the trustees on improvement or relocation opportunities
  • Review and recommend current and future strategic resourcing, annual budgets and plans to the Trustee board
  • Keep the board informed about its duties and responsibilities regarding both sites
  • Be involved in ad hoc projects to support the CEO and/or charity, generally in an area of your existing expertise
  • Advise the Project Managers where necessary to ensure that all interventions at either property are underpinned by Youth Concern’s charitable objectives

Person specification

We are looking for someone with:

  • experience in property management, property development, social housing or specialist accommodation
  • good current knowledge of property law, policy and practice and ability to keep up to date with developments
  • high standards of personal integrity and professionalism
  • the ability to build and develop strong, supporting working relationships with other trustees and the CEO
  • flexibility to respond to emails, occasionally at short notice

Youth Concern is committed to being more representative of the communities we serve at board level. We would therefore particularly welcome applications from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, including lived experience relevant to the work of Youth Concern.

What’s in it for the volunteer?

Coronavirus has increased the gap between the haves and the have nots. Not all young people have the same opportunities. Youth Concern believes that every young person has the right to be fed, to a safe home, to a good education and to employment. In becoming our Company Secretary, you will be helping young people to succeed in life. And because:

  • you believe a few hours a month is a good investment of your time to help turn young people’s lives around;
  • you want to give something back;
  • your skill set will benefit a local charity as it grows and develops;
  • you want to be part of Youth Concern’s success story.

Time commitment

  • 6 trustees’ meetings per year (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Nov)
  • 1 AGM per year (June)
  • Occasional interim meetings
  • Trustees give approximately 3-8 hours monthly

Location: generally, meetings are held in Aylesbury. Some meetings are held online.


Please click here for further information.

Ministry of Justice seeks Non-Executive Director & Non-Executive Director for Audit & Risk Committee

The Ministry of Justice is seeking to recruit two Non-Executive Directors, one of whom will also sit on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.

Non-Executives provide external advice and expertise, from an independent standpoint which informs the Department’s decision-making process.

Key Responsibilities are to:

  • Sit on the Departmental Board, chaired by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice;
  • Sit on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee chaired by a fellow Non-Executive (one role only);
  • Advise on performance, transformation, operational issues and the effective management of the Department;
  • Provide independent scrutiny as part of the Department’s governance;
  • Work with Executives to continue to improve Departmental performance;
  • Constructively challenge the Board and Executives on Departmental strategy and risks to its delivery; and
  • Ensure that Departmental finances are being managed properly.

Person Specification

The successful candidates will be highly effective senior leaders in their own organisations, either already operating at Board level or with clear potential to do so.

Essential criteria:

Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate:

  • Senior leadership experience in large and complex organisations
  • Experience of leading major projects from initiation, through development and to delivery
  • Experience of risk, performance and financial management
  • Sound judgement and a high level of integrity, with a commitment to the seven principles of conduct in public life

We are particularly looking for candidates who have leadership experience and expertise in one or more of the following:

  1. The use of digital technology to drive transformation, innovation or process automation, leading to improved outcomes or efficiencies;
  2. Using data and analysis to drive performance improvement and better decision-making;
  3. Leadership in complex operational environments, such as logistics or large organisations providing services across multiple locations.

One of two roles being recruited to will sit on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. Previous experience of a similar governance role would be desirable.


Please click here for further information.

Homelessness charity based in London seeks new Trustee

Key details

  • This role is not remunerated, though expenses can be claimed.
  • Meetings normally take place in London (Kings Cross).
  • The term of office is three years, which can be renewed up to a maximum of nine years.

Time Commitment

  • The Board meets at least six times a year, plus occasional away days.
  • In addition to Board Meetings, trustees are required to conduct at least two annual visits to SHP’s services, engaging with staff and clients, seeking information and feedback, and reporting back to the Board on any findings.


SHP has a vision that everyone has a place to call home and a chance to live a fulfilling life.

The Board works collectively towards achieving that vision by overseeing implementation of our strategy and ensuring that SHP works professionally and effectively to deliver our services to clients.

Trustees are required to work collectively to:

  • Give strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets.
  • Understand, accept, and respect the difference in roles between trustees and staff ensuring a mutually supportive relationship, with appropriate challenge.
  • Safeguard the good name and values of the organisation, and act as a positive ambassador for SHP, promoting its mission to a wider audience.
  • To actively support and promote SHP’s commitment to diversity and equality; to act fairly and in accordance with good equal opportunities principals and demonstrate commitment to SHP’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
  • Contribute added value, for example through external networks that might assist SHP’s work.
  • Collectively review the performance of the Board on a regular basis to ensure that it is effectively leading the organisation.
  • Bring experience from elsewhere to ensure the organisation is run with good business principles and that risk is managed appropriately.
  • Ensure that SHP complies with its Articles of Association, charity law, company law, and any other relevant legislation or regulations.
  • To be familiar with and ensure that SHP pursues its objects as defined in its Articles of Association and reviews them regularly.
  • Ensure that SHP resources are managed responsibly, and used exclusively in pursuance of its objectives.
  • Act in SHP’s best interests at all times and, make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term.
  • Act with reasonable care, making use of your skills and experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary.

Person Specification


  • Commitment to the SHP’s objects, aims and values and willingness to devote time to carry out responsibilities.
  • Good, independent judgement and the ability to think creatively in the context of the organisation and external environment.
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to respect the confidences of colleagues.
  • Balancing tact and diplomacy with willingness to challenge and constructively criticise.
  • Strategic and forward-looking vision in relation to the charity’s objects and aims.
  • Active commitment to equality and diversity.
  • Experience of working at a strategic level level.



  • Knowledge of homelessness and homeless and prevention services.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the voluntary sector.
  • Experience of committee work.

Please click here for application details.

Youth Concern in Aylesbury seeks new Housing Trustee – property law expertise welcomed

Youth Concern is seeking a Housing Trustee to join its board in order to provide property management guidance at our two sites: the Drop-In Centre and our supported accommodation project, The Next Step.

Role summary

This is a new trustee role that reflects the board’s recognition of the importance of managing our new split site operations.

You will:

  • Support the CEO in maintaining good relationships with both landlords
  • Support the Drop-In Centre and The Next Step Project Managers in all aspects related to their sites, for example ensuring our premises meet legal requirements and follow best practice
  • Advise as necessary on health and safety, repairs and maintenance projects and fire safety
  • Work closely with the CEO to advise the trustees on improvement or relocation opportunities
  • Review and recommend current and future strategic resourcing, annual budgets and plans to the Trustee board
  • Keep the board informed about its duties and responsibilities regarding both sites
  • Be involved in ad hoc projects to support the CEO and/or charity, generally in an area of your existing expertise
  • Advise the Project Managers where necessary to ensure that all interventions at either property are underpinned by Youth Concern’s charitable objectives


Person specification

We are looking for someone with:

  • experience in property management, property development, social housing or specialist accommodation
  • good current knowledge of property law, policy and practice and ability to keep up to date with developments
  • high standards of personal integrity and professionalism
  • the ability to build and develop strong, supporting working relationships with other trustees and the CEO
  • flexibility to respond to emails, occasionally at short notice

Youth Concern is committed to being more representative of the communities we serve at board level. We would therefore particularly welcome applications from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, including lived experience relevant to the work of Youth Concern.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

Coronavirus has increased the gap between the haves and the have nots. Not all young people have the same opportunities. Youth Concern believes that every young person has the right to be fed, to a safe home, to a good education and to employment. In becoming our Company Secretary, you will be helping young people to succeed in life. And because:

  • you believe a few hours a month is a good investment of your time to help turn young people’s lives around;
  • you want to give something back;
  • your skill set will benefit a local charity as it grows and develops;
  • you want to be part of Youth Concern’s success story.


Time commitment

  • 6 trustees’ meetings per year (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Nov)
  • 1 AGM per year (June)
  • Occasional interim meetings
  • Trustees give approximately 3-8 hours monthly


Please click here for application details.

The Magic Circle Foundation (magicians not lawyers!) seeks new Trustee with legal experience

The Magic Circle Foundation is a unique UK charity as our mission is the promotion of the education of the public in the history and practice of the art of magic. We do this by presenting a variety of events at our HQ, The Centre for the Magic Arts, for the public. These include theatre performances, history conferences and magic performances.

We also have responsibility for The Young Magicians’ Club and for maintaining a world class library and the only museum dedicated to magic in the UK.

We wish to recruit three new non-magicians and non-Magic Circle members to join our six strong governing body, the Board of Trustees.

This is an exciting time to be joining us, as you will play a key role in leading the charity to set its future strategy, and assure the quality of services we provide both enhance the art of magic and make a positive contribution to our community.

We need people who can help direct TMCF towards achieving its mission and ensure the organisation is effectively managed. You would need to have strategic vision, independent judgement, and ability to think creatively and a willingness to speak your mind. Ideally, the new trustees will also have skills and experience in one or more of the following areas:

• Charity Governance

• Strategy Development

• Financial Management

• Accounting

• Fundraising

• Corporate Events Management

• Human Resources Management

• Legal Experience

• Business Administration

We are particularly keen to achieve a more diverse board of trustees, and we welcome applications from all sections of the community.

We will provide an induction to TMCF’s work. You will be expected to contribute roughly a day and a half of your time each quarter.


Please click here for contact details to request the application pack or have an informal discussion.

Foundation championing relationships between NZ / UK seeks new Trustee with Law Background

Championing relationships between New Zealand and the UK for over 30 years, the NZUK Link Foundation creates opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, learning and innovation.

The Foundation was originally established in 1990, as The Waitangi Foundation, to mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, under the Patronage of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and The Princess Royal. With the aim of promoting equality, prosperity and cultural vitality, the Link’s collaborations and exchanges have focused on:

  • The past, by celebrating the shared heritage
  • The present, through exchanges that share and build on world-leading practices
  • The future, by fostering ideas, research and innovations for new generations

By enabling outstanding individuals to travel, train, research and promote their areas of interest, the Link has facilitated new benefits for arts, industries and professions, as well as wider positive implications for society.


The NZUK Link Foundation awards grants which demonstrate its goals of cross-cultural exchange, innovation, relevance and rigour within the fields of education, technology, the arts and business. The Foundation’s annual operating income has been made possible through the generosity of private funding from donations, corporate sponsorships, trusts, foundations and individuals. The Link has supported more than 250 individuals and groups with over £1.5m of funding, creating life-changing experiences for participants, while also generating wider exchange and deepening relations between the two countries.

Future Strategic Priorities

The Link is fortunate to have received two generous legacies, which enable it to embark on a new phase in 2021 to build on the significant achievements of the last three decades. It will seek to promote diverse modes of sharing and cultural vibrancy across both countries, and beyond. The impetus to increase exchanges and open up new avenues of support will help shape a fundraising campaign to increase the current financial base and build on the Foundation’s previous successes.

Going forward, the Foundation’s strategic priorities are to celebrate shared UK and NZ heritage, support exchanges which share and build on world-leading practices in both countries, and foster tomorrow’s shared ideas and innovations.

Role specification

Following a recent post-COVID realignment of the Trustee Boards, the Link will continue with a single, scaled-down UK-registered board, with members based in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This will facilitate more efficient negotiations and transactions, ensuring that the projects are mutually beneficial, and enabling supporters of its work in both countries to benefit from tax relief.

Trustees work with the Chair and other members of the Board to determine the Foundation’s strategy and ensure that it delivers on its charitable objectives and long-term mission. While providing particular insight in their areas of expertise, they act as a sounding board on matters which come before the Board, providing both challenge and support as appropriate.

Because the Foundation has no Executive team, Trustees will be expected to undertake a considerable degree of Executive action between Board meetings, though there is the potential for some administrative support to facilitate this.


Person specification

To complement the current skill set of the Board, the NZUK Link Foundation is looking for Trustees from a variety of backgrounds, including investment management, law, environmental sciences, academia or the arts.

As well as looking for those who can contribute to the effective financial management and good governance of the charity, applications are also welcome from those whose backgrounds align with its fellowship programmes. These include the Elman Poole Fellowship funds for music students to come to the UK and Europe to work and train with the South Bank Sinfonia, as well as the new Elman Poole Educational and Vocational Travelling Fellowships to the UK for study in the area of environmental science.

Above all, candidates will have a demonstrated passion for building closer NZ-UK relationships and, given the support of the two governments, an appreciation of the charitable and political context of the Foundation. They will be able to work effectively and collaboratively, and will be willing to act as external ambassadors for the Foundation.

The Foundation is interested in hearing from individuals who are based in either the UK or New Zealand.


Board composition

Eric Tracey, Chair
His Excellency Bede Corry
Paul Gough
Andrew Barkle
Iain Christie
Anthony Hoete
Her Excellency Laura Clarke
Greg Olsen
Janet Wilson

Terms of appointment

This role is unremunerated, but reasonable, pre-agreed travel expenses will be reimbursed. The Board meets four times per year at New Zealand House in London; given the international composition of the Board, virtual attendance will be permitted. The appointment is for a five-year term, which can be renewed once at the discretion of the Board.


For further information, please contact nurole directly enquiries@nurole.com


The Performing Right Society seeks independent Non-Executive Director with intellectual property/copyright expertise (£42k pa)

The Performing Right Society Limited (PRS) is a leading UK collective rights management organisation (CMO) whose members comprise around 155,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and their successors. We license our members’ music for use by businesses, online, in broadcasts and film, for live performance and in recorded products, and collect royalties on their behalf.

Through our wholly-owned operating company, PRS for Music (PRSfM), as well as partnerships with ICE, PPL and MCPS, we oversee one of the most successful repertoires in the world. The scale of our operations is astonishing. Last year, we processed more transactions (over 22trn) than there are global credit card purchases or Google searches; and though the pandemic has seriously affected our industry, we nevertheless managed to increase our distribution during 2020.

We are now inviting applications to become an Independent Non-executive Director (iNED), sitting on both our Council and our Board. One of four iNEDs, you will bring an invaluable combination of professional experience (ideally in a field in which you have gained a nuanced understanding of intellectual property and / or copyright), together with sound non-executive experience and an independent cast of mind. An understanding of how strategic partnerships can amplify our impact will be an asset, as will a strategic understanding of the continuing move to digital across the spectrum.

Our iNEDs are full, active participants in the strategic governance and leadership of PRS, and yours will be a strong, influential voice as we debate fundamental issues. Just as important, however, will be your part in forging strong collegiate bonds across the extended governance group: building consensus, supporting a thriving culture of accountability, and ensuring informed decision-making. The role is a complex one, and you will need to be certain that you have the capacity to bring your full value to the organisation; but for the right candidate, its very complexity will form part of its attraction.

A key objective of our new governance arrangements is to improve diversity on the Board, and a focus on greater diversity in all aspects – including( but not limited to) ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender, or cognitive style – is a priority of this recruitment process. We warmly encourage interest from candidates whose insights and perspectives wouldn’t otherwise have been present around the table.


Please click here for further information.

The Criminal Justice Alliance seeks new Trustee with legal skills

As we prepare to embark on a new phase of expansion and growth, we are seeking to recruit three Trustees to join us at this exciting time to help us achieve our ambitious goals for a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) is a network of 160 organisations working towards a fair and effective criminal justice system. Our members include charities, social enterprises, think tanks, research institutions and staff associations. They work across the criminal justice system, in areas such as crime prevention, sentencing, policing, prisons, probation, victim services, mental health, drug policy and treatment, and more. The CJA is based in London but our work and membership extend across England and Wales.

We are looking for individuals who are motivated and committed to the work and mission of the CJA. We are particularly keen to hear from applicants with one or more of the following skills and knowledge:-

  • Finance – charity finance and fundraising
  • Legal – knowledge of charity governance and data protection
  • Organisational development– human resources, information/digital technology, learning and development

The CJA value having a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and insights on the Board.  We welcome and encourage applications from:

  • Black, Asian and minority ethic individuals
  • Individuals with lived experience of the criminal justice system, and/or bring an empathy, knowledge or understanding of the criminal justice system
  • Individuals based in/working on criminal justice and related areas in Wales and outside of London and the South-East
  • First-time trustees

This is a voluntary role without remuneration. However, travel expenses as well as other reasonable and necessary costs incurred (including childcare), as part of official Trustee business, will be reimbursed. We will also provide suitable training and mentorship for first-time Trustees.


Please click here for further information.

Financial redress organisation in Scotland for survivors of child abuse in care seeks new Panel Member with law expertise

NOTE: this role is not suitable for those currently in full time employment.

Are you looking for a rewarding role in which you can make a real difference to people’s lives?

Scottish Ministers are now looking to appoint at least 12 Panel Members for Redress Scotland who will be responsible for making evidence-based decisions in relation to financial redress, awarded to survivors of historical child abuse in care. Decision making meetings are expected to take place virtually and in person. At this stage, we expect a good proportion of meetings to be virtual, to ensure inclusivity.

This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to a national collective endeavour, aiming to acknowledge and provide tangible recognition of harm to survivors.

For decades, some children in residential care in Scotland were failed by those entrusted to look after them. Scotland is taking steps to face up to these failings of the past by establishing a financial redress scheme for survivors of historical child abuse in care.

While nothing can ever make up for the suffering survivors have endured, the national redress scheme will offer a non-adversarial alternative route to justice, as well as access to support and apology.

To deliver this, the Scottish Government is supporting the creation of a new independent ‘non-departmental public body’ (NDPB) called Redress Scotland.


The role

Redress Scotland is primarily a decision-making body. The NDPB will not, itself, offer application support to survivors, receive applications directly or arrange financial payments. Instead, to make best use of public resources, all administrative aspects of the scheme and support arrangements will be carried out by the Scottish Government which will then transmit completed applications to Redress Scotland for determination.

Panel Members will make day-to-day decisions in relation to applications for redress payments. Their responsibilities will include determining eligibility and the level of financial redress awarded to survivors, as well as conducting reviews, where appropriate. Members will be expected to uphold the highest standard of impartiality and objectivity in making determinations.

Panel Members will need to develop a good understanding of, and be closely guided by, statutory guidance and decision-making frameworks in order to ensure assessments of survivors’ experiences are made in a fair, transparent and consistent way. They will be expected to examine applications in a holistic way, taking into consideration individual circumstances and forming a balanced judgement. Panel Members will work constructively with one another and be able to clearly articulate, verbally and in writing, the reasoning behind their decisions.

Redress Scotland will carry out sensitive, challenging and often emotionally-charged work that will involve detailed consideration of supporting information and survivors’ own accounts of the abuse they suffered while in care. Panel Members should therefore have an understanding and personal commitment to embodying trauma informed principles. They should also be committed to acknowledging and being informed by the human rights approach.

The successful candidates will bring empathy and professional expertise from a range of areas, for example, in the fields of emotional and psychological trauma, law, social work, human rights and health. Individuals with an understanding of the Scottish care system and child development, or specialist knowledge of complex trauma, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Have a good understanding of the assessment framework and use it to guide your decision making, in order to ensure consistency and fairness across determinations.
  • Work collaboratively with the rest of the Panel to access applications in a balanced and objective way, in order to reach evidence-based decisions in relation to redress.
  • Call on relevant experience and professional knowledge in examining the available evidence and providing constructive challenge, in order to help the Panel reach a reasoned conclusion.
  • Ensure applicants are treated with respect, dignity and compassion, showing consideration for their needs. Always take care to minimise potential risk of causing further harm or distress to survivors.
  • Support the Chair in ensuring proceedings are transparent and effectively managed. Contribute to drafting the written determinations, clearly summarising the reasons for decisions taken.
  • Uphold the principles of public life as set out by the Ethical Standards Commissioner at all times.


Who they’re looking for


1. A track record of delivering evidence-based decision making
2. Working effectively with others
3. Excellent communication skills
4. Expertise working in emotional and psychological trauma, law, social work, health or other relevant fields.


5. Resilience and self-awareness
6. Experience working on a decision-making panel, tribunal or committee setting

Valuing diversity

Scottish Ministers are committed to diversity and equality and value very highly the benefits of having different points of view and experiences represented on the Redress Scotland Panel. Accordingly, we hope to receive applications from a wide range of talented people irrespective of their religion or belief, gender, age, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, political belief, relationship status or caring responsibilities. The Scottish Ministers particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented in publicly appointed roles, such as women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and people aged under 50.

The Scottish Government is committed to appointment on merit.


Please click here for a link to the candidate information pack and application details.

Veterinary care charity seeks new Trustee with charity legal expertise

Imagine a world where every working animal lives a life free from suffering and is treated with compassion. Do you share this vision?

Established in 1923, SPANA’s goal is simple: to improve the welfare of working animals in the world’s poorest communities.

SPANA works in developing countries worldwide, providing free veterinary care for horses, donkeys, mules, camel and elephants, and operates emergency programmes to respond to desperate need at times of conflict or natural disaster. Community training and education for children aims to change attitudes and behaviours to promote humane treatment and reduce preventable problems.

SPANA recognises that the fortunes of working animals and people go hand in hand: in the developing world, just one working animal can support an extended family of up to 30 people. SPANA’s work improves the lives of working animals while supporting the communities that depend on them.

In partnership with SPANA we are delighted to be recruiting up to three Trustee roles.  This is a wonderful opportunity to join a highly experienced, passionate, and dedicated board of trustees as the charity is planning its Centenary celebrations.

SPANA’s trustees are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the charity is pursuing its long-term goals, effectively managing its finances, and successfully fulfilling its charitable obligations, while operating in line with all legal requirements.
  • Attending 5 board meetings and a strategy day every year,
  • Sitting on one of the committees, which meet 2 or 3 times annually.
  • Devoting time and energy to scrutinise papers in preparation for meetings.

All trustees are expected to use their specific knowledge and experience to help reach sound decisions and provide advice and guidance, SPANA are therefore particularly interested in individuals that could bring skills in any of the following areas:

  • Marketing, Communications, Fundraising, Events
  • Veterinary medicine or knowledge
  • Education – specifically with community groups
  • Charity Legal expertise
  • HR expertise

As a Trustee for SPANA you may have the opportunity to visit their centres overseas and see first-hand the amazing work that they do.

Reasonable expenses are covered, and meetings will mainly take place in London.


Please click here for further information.

Adult learning disability organisation in Bromley seek legal help for the Board of Trustees

The Club runs social activities for adults with learning disabilities and hopes to reopen on 23rd July.

We are seeking people willing to apply their back office skills to support the Trustees and the Leader in the Club’s rebirth.

What will you be doing?


Every Friday, for over fifty years before lockdown, about 60 members, their helpers and unrelated volunteers would gather in St George’s Church Hall in Bickley for a couple of hours of activities. Historically the Trustees have provided most of the back office support that the Club Leader has needed. The current Trustees are a mixture of new members, most of whom joined in the months immediately before Covid and others of much longer standing who are looking to reduce their involvement, meaning that the Club is in a process of inter-generational transfer which is involving significant change, especially in its policies and procedures.  As part of this and recognising the increased range of technical skills required, the Trustees have decided to create “Technical Supporter (TS)” roles  for those with appropriate skills but not the time or desire to act as Trustees.

However, given the breadth of skills needed, our emphasis is on finding people who are looking for an opportunity to develop their technical skills against a background of institutional and societal change, especially those with experience in the field of serving those with learning difficulties and experience of maintaining good relationships with a mainly middle-aged member group.

Other information

Friday’s club meetings are managed by the Club Leader (who is also being recruited) with a team of Member Supporters and Assistants.  TS are encouraged to attend the sessions, especially when their skill set would facilitate the activities taking place, but this is not obligatory.

TS are expected to support the Club Leader in the performance of their duties while maintaining their own relationships with volunteers, members, their helpers or parents.

TS require a full DBS enhanced certificate.  TS must also be sensitive to members seeing them as authority figures and so appropriate recipients of confidential and possibly personal information.

We estimate the role will require 10 hours per month including 2 or 3 Committee meetings a year.   TS are not paid but may be reimbursed any reasonable expenses except travel to and from club and committee meetings.


What are we looking for?

At present we particularly need skills in the following areas:

  • Legal

However, given the breadth of skills needed, our emphasis is on finding people who are looking for an opportunity to develop their technical skills against a background of institutional and societal change, especially those with experience of serving those with learning difficulties and experience of maintaining good relationships with a mainly middle-aged member group.

Our expectation is that roles will be crafted to reflect the skills and abilities of the successful applicants.

What difference will you make?

The Trustees are currently a mixture of new members, most of whom joined in the months immediately before Covid and others of much longer standing who are looking to reduce their involvement.  This means that the Club is in a process of inter-generational transfer which is involving significant change, especially in its policies and procedures.  Some Trustees have left during lockdown and so the Committee is looking to appoint some new people to help manage the Club’s post-Covid re-establishment over the coming months and allow those who wish to stand down to do so guilt-free.

Back Office – Technical Supporters

Historically the Trustees have also provided the bulk of the back office support that the Club Leader has needed.  However the broadening range of technical skills required, especially in the fields of fundraising and IT means that this model is no longer considered appropriate since finding those with the appropriate skills is difficult enough let alone those with the additional time to properly perform the duties of a Trustee.

The Trustees are therefore looking for people with relevant skills to join the Club to support both the Leader and the Trustees by applying those skills to provide and maintain efficient systems for communication, fundraising and administration.

Click here for further information.

Citizens Advice Oxford seeks new Trustees – legal expertise welcomed

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice Oxford we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.Thousands of people each year come to us for advice on employment, housing and benefits. Could you help us ensure we are delivering this much-need service to the people of Oxford?

Citizens Advice Oxford is an independent local charity that is part of the well-known national network of local advice services. As a local charity, our Trustee Board is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the organisation, ensuring it has the right resources to fulfil its charitable objectives.

As the city emerges from the impact of the pandemic, we are thinking about our future advice framework and to learn from our experiences of the past year. We are looking for new Trustees to strengthen our Board so that we can respond appropriately to the changing landscape for our services.


We are looking for trustees who have general relevant experience but particularly with skills and experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Community engagement
  • Campaigning on social issues
  • Finance and risk
  • Customer service
  • IT and data analysis
  • HR and legal matters
  • Funding and commissioning

The Trustee Board also wishes to ensure it has representation in keeping with our equality and diversity values and so would particularly welcome applications from all backgrounds.

Please click here for further information.

Chisenhale Dance Space in Bow seeks new Trustees – property law expertise sought

Chisenhale Dance Space is looking for up to five new Trustees, including a new Chair, to join us in enabling the next stage in CDS’s journey.

The role of the Board of Trustees is to support the strategic vision and leadership of the Company. The Board also ensures Chisenhale Dance Space remains true to its values, relevant to our artistic and local communities, and is both well managed and financially sustainable.

We are open to hearing from anyone who is passionate about what Chisenhale Dance Space does, but are especially keen to hear from people with a broad range of skills and experience. This includes, but is not limited to, expertise in:

  • Performing Arts Practice
  • Community-embedded Arts Practice
  • Property Law or Capital Project Experience
  • Finance
  • Budget Management
  • Governance
  • Board Management

CDS is committed to continuing to have artists on our Board.

We encourage applications from those who are under-represented in our organisation and marginalised in our sector and society, especially those from the global majority, including those of African diaspora heritage, South Asian, East Asian, South-East Asian heritage, mixed heritage, and those who have faced other socio-economic barriers, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and disabled people. We regret that CDS is currently located in a historic building which currently has no step-free access. We have long-term plans to remedy this, as part of changes to enable more people to take part in our activities. We are happy to discuss access arrangements with anyone looking to join the board.

Trusteeships for charities are voluntary roles. Travel expenses or access support expenses can be provided. We estimate that the time commitment to CDS will amount to a day per month spread out in short meetings and email interactions.

You’ll join a proactive and generous Board of Trustees who are focussed on supporting CDS through this exciting time of transformation and growth.


For further information, please click here.

Arts charity People United seeks new Trustees

People United is recruiting up to four new Trustees to help steer the charity’s strategic direction and provide guidance, challenge and support as we move into the next ambitious stage of our journey.

We’re interested in hearing from people who will bring energy, new perspectives and different lived experiences to the organisation, people who share our values and our passion for arts and creativity, and most importantly, people who have an active determination to harness kindness as a powerful agent for change.

You might have previous experience of being a trustee or you might not – either way you’ll be well supported by both the team and a group of friendly, highly engaged trustees who have a strong and positive relationship with each other and with the People United officer team.

While we are based in Kent, we are keen to hear from individuals who are interested in becoming a Trustee from across the UK. Our Board meetings take place either virtually or in central London, with the occasional meeting/away day taking place in Canterbury.

If you think this might be you, please have a read of our recruitment pack which contains more information – including how to apply – and then get in touch. The deadline for application is Monday 9th August at 5pm. We can’t wait to meet you!

Please click here for the full candidate pack and application details.

Social justice charity Koestler Arts seeks new Trustee

Koestler Arts’ vision is to inspire participation in the arts in the criminal justice system and to increase public awareness of the potential of people in prison and other secure settings, through awards and feedback, mentoring, sales, exhibitions, events and publications.

Our trustees share a passion for social justice and for improving the lives of people with experience of the criminal justice system, as well as a strong belief in the power of the arts to transform lives.

A trustee is responsible for ensuring the charity delivers its mission within its resources by setting strategy, agreeing business plans and guiding the staff team. You do not need experience as a trustee to apply; we will provide support and training. A list of our current board members can be found on our website: https://www.koestlerarts.org.uk/about-us/board-of-trustees/

Click here for more information.

Royal Museums Greenwich seeks new Trustees

The Prime Minister is seeking three new Trustees to join the Board of Royal Museums Greenwich.  By virtue of its sites and subjects, Royal Museums Greenwich enjoys a unique conjunction of subjects – History, Science (in particular, astronomy), Arts – and works with its audiences at local, regional, national and global levels to provide a greater understanding of Humanity’s connection with the sea, space and time. We are particularly seeking candidates with a public profile or expertise and experience that can enhance the Museum’s reputation and reach.  We would also especially welcome applications from candidates with an interest or background in Astrophysics.

The Prime Minister is also looking to appoint at least one Trustee who has the potential to become Chair of the Board. The Chair is elected by the Trustees from amongst the Trustees, and the current Board has decided to look outside its current membership for a new Chair, and are therefore seeking a potential candidate from amongst the new appointees.

DCMS is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity in its public appointments. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, those based outside London and the South-East and applicants who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes. This ensures that boards of public bodies benefit from a full range of diverse perspectives and are representative of the people they serve.


The National Maritime Museum was opened by King George VI in 1937. The Queen’s House was part of the Museum from the outset whilst the Royal Observatory, Greenwich was an addition of 1953.  The Cutty Sark was donated to the National Maritime Museum collection in 2015, and in 2011 Her Majesty The Queen formally approved ‘Royal Museums Greenwich’ as the new group brand. The Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre, completed in September 2017, then consolidated and upgraded the collections storage and conservation functions on the Museum’s Kidbrooke site.

The Museum’s collection comprises more than 1.5 million items including ship models, scientific and navigational instruments, oil paintings, prints and drawings, manuscripts, rare books, ships plans, sea charts and historic photographic negatives.  Looking forward, we are thinking about how we serve our communities and where our priorities lie, reshaping how we work with each other and with our stakeholders, prioritising outputs that are relevant and meaningful to them and using our collections and expertise to their fullest potential.

Person Specification

The Board of Trustees is now seeking three new trustees amongst which at least one candidate with the capability to chair the Board.

All candidates will need to demonstrate in their application that they meet the majority of following essential criteria to a high standard:

  • Good communication skills and the willingness and the ability to, individually and as part of a team, act as an advocate for the Museum and a supporter of staff in areas such as research, media and funding
  • The ability to lead change at a large, public-facing organisation;
  • A strong interest in and commitment to the mission and values of the Museum, as well as its future development.
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history.
  • A strong commitment to engaging communities outside of London, and factoring UK-wide perspectives into all decision making.

Please click here for further information.

Charity for children with additional needs seeks new Trustee with law experience

Jigsaw Thornbury: We are a charity supporting children and young people with additional needs and disabilities and their families through a variety of support services. Our vision is to empower our families to connect, fit in, and thrive as themselves.

We provide regular activities such as our lending library and support groups. We also run bookable events in the holidays and after school. These activities include forest schools, horse riding, therapeutic music sessions and dance classes. We also run training sessions for parents and carers and run a scheme for our young volunteers.

Our values run through everything we do, from the services we offer, to the way we work together as a team.

Community – We are a family, working together, and connecting and collaborating with others to create change. We are a respected community base, providing a welcoming space to have fun and create shared experiences.

Empowerment – We are nurturing and supportive, prioritising wellbeing and empowering people to thrive as themselves. We build skills and confidence in individuals and the community so that they can grow and develop beyond the services we provide.

Compassion – We act with kindness and integrity, caring for and supporting each other in an empathetic way. We create relationships based on trust so that everyone can feel valued and respected.

Uniqueness – We respect and celebrate difference, creating an environment where everyone fits in. We listen to and respond to individual needs, providing the tools needed to find strength in uniqueness.

Innovation – We respond to challenges and opportunities in a creative way, harnessing the passion we have for our cause. We are not afraid to try new things and be leaders for change to ensure we remain relevant to people’s lives.

A JIGSAW Thornbury trustee acts as a critical friend, offering a balance of support and challenge to enable us to deliver our charitable purpose with as much impact as possible.

The role sits as part of a board of trustees who have accountability for achieving the charitable purpose and ensuring all funds are spent appropriately.

Each trustee brings unique skills and experience to the board, and together we ensure good governance and strategic focus. We are particularly interested in hearing from people with experience in finance, law, HR and recruitment, and marketing and communications, although please do still get in touch if your experience is in other areas.

Role duties

  • Ensure compliance with the charity’s governing document, Charity Commission guidance, and the law.
  • Ensure accountability and maintain proper financial oversight.
  • Attend quarterly trustee meetings and contribute to decision-making at meetings and outside of meetings when needed.
  • Contribute to reviews and updates to our strategy and provide strategic focus.
  • Contribute to reviewing and updating JIGSAW policies & procedures.
  • Liaise with appropriate members of the team & share relevant skills and knowledge that may be beneficial to the organisation, including contributing to specific projects and staff training if relevant.
  • Provide guidance and support to the staff and have oversight of the charity.
  • Champion JIGSAW and exemplify our values in everything done on behalf of the charity.
  • Occasionally attend and support JIGSAW events and activities.

Being a JIGSAW trustee is very rewarding. You will be joining a fun, dynamic and committed team of trustees, staff and volunteers, who work together to achieve our charitable purpose. There will be opportunities to use your unique skills to benefit the charity and to get involved in areas that you want to grow your experience in.


Please click here for further information.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home seeks new Trustee – lawyer at partner level sought

For 160 years Battersea has been here for every dog and cat, and in 2021 the need for our services, expertise and impact for animals has never been greater. We are a globally renowned and highly impactful charity, and we would not be where we are without the passion, determination and expertise of our people who strive to create a world where dogs and cats are treated with care, compassion and respect. Our Board of Trustees (known as Council) are a vital part of Battersea, bringing their considerable experience, skills, insights and commitment to this important governance role.

We’re looking for two new trustees to bring further breadth and diversity to our Council:

  •  A current senior leader in a substantial £50m+ charity, preferably within the international
    development sector, with strong fundraising experience
  • A legal/governance expert, currently operating at minimum of partner level

Beyond a passion for animal welfare, we are looking for real enthusiasm and commitment to our goals. Our new Trustees will help make a difference for our impactful, welcoming, open and inclusive organisation.

We strive to create lasting change for animals and the people that care for them and believe that creating a truly divers and inclusive Battersea, which is proudly open to all, is essential in our mission to deliver greater impact for dogs and cats everywhere. This is a focus areas of work for us at Battersea, and we are committed to ensuring our Council of Trustees have the depth and breath of both professional and personal experience to help us to achieve our plans. We welcome applicants of all backgrounds for these roles, and in particular we would like to increase female, black and minority ethnic, disabled and a wider breadth of age participation in our organisational governance.


Please click here for further details.

Conservatoire arts education charity seeks new Trustee with law experience

Academy of Live and Recorded Arts : Join our board of Trustees and help us give our students the exceptional training their talent deserves. The Trustees are directors of ALRA for the purposes of company law and are legally responsible for corporate governance and for the overall management and control of the charity, and they meet on average three times a year.

Visit the website for information about ALRA and click here for the candidate brief. 


Wessex Cancer Trust seeks new Trustee with legal experience

At Wessex Cancer Trust, our ambition is a future where everyone affected by cancer receives person-centred care that empowers them to live well with and beyond cancer.

Through supportive care and information, we seek to improve the emotional and physical well-being of people affected by cancer, within their locality.

We are looking for 3-4 committed and passionate people to become Trustees for Wessex Cancer Trust.

It’s an exciting time to join us: the past year has seen plenty of change as we’ve adapted our services to continue to support people with cancer and their loved ones. We’ve also got a new team both at Board and Exec level, with a fresh and exciting perspective to develop the charity.

We’re keen to hear from motivated individuals who want to use their skills, knowledge and experience to help us reach more people with our vital services. Applications are particularly welcome from anyone who has experience in the following areas: fundraising, charity governance, property (leases), IT, retail, finance or legal.

This is a great opportunity for you to make a real difference to people affected by cancer in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Dorset.


Please click here for the full recruitment pack.



Counselling charity based in Cardiff seeks new Trustee with legal experience

Y Cwmni Siarad (YCS) Counselling: We are looking for someone who is interested in becoming a trustee with our small counselling Charity. We need expertise on the Board on contracts and Charity trading. We lease a building and would like the Trustee to have an understanding of lease and contracts.


What difference will you make?

We offer a low-cost counselling service for people who cannot afford or access counselling. We are just completing our business plan with the intention of doubling this provision over the next few years and looking for someone who wants to come on this journey of development.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

We are a small Charity that offers a close knit board and staff. We welcome new ideas and visionaries.

Please click here for further information.

Headway Luton seeks new Trustee – law expertise welcomed

We support people with acquired brain injury in Luton and surrounding areas. We are looking for trustees to help guide our successful and growing charity.

What will you be doing?

We are looking for people who have:

• Good communication skills.
• A creative mind and have good independent judgment.
• The ability to work effectively within the team.
• The ability to evaluate and interpret information and think creatively.
• The necessary skills to understand and accept legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.

We are particularly keen to hear from people who have expertise in HR, law or social care, but all knowledge and skills are welcomed and valued.

What are we looking for?

We want our trustees, staff and volunteers to represent the diversity of the people we support. We encourage disabled and non-disabled people from all ages, ethnicities, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds to consider taking on this leadership role. If you think you have something to offer, please do get in touch. Support and training will be provided for those with no prior trustee or committee experience.

What difference will you make?

Trustees play an important role in our charity. We would like trustees to use their existing skills and expertise to help us in areas where we have skills gaps.

What’s in it for the volunteer?

We also want trustees to have the opportunities to grow and develop in the role and learn more about working with and for the benefit of those with brain injury.

Please click here for further information.

Homelessness charity Emmaus Oxford seeks new Trustee – legal background sought

Emmaus Oxford is looking for new trustees to broaden the skill set and diversity of their dedicated Board.

You will be joining an active and dedicated Board and will play a pivotal role in shaping Emmaus Oxford and supporting our work. This is a great opportunity to be part of a passionate team and to share your skills as well as learn new ones.

This is an opportunity to play a vital role in supporting Emmaus Oxford to achieve its mission to overcome homelessness and effect social change.

Role summary

Charity trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run.

The responsibilities of trustees are:

  • Ensuring that the charity has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving these.
  • Being responsible, with the chief executive and other trustees, for the charity’s performance and culture.
  • Ensuring the charity complies with all legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Acting as guardians of the charity’s assets by taking due care of their security and proper use.
  • Ensuring that the charity’s governance is of the highest possible standard.

In addition to your statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions. This may involves scrutinising board papers, leading discussions, focusing on key issues, providing advice and guidance on new initiatives, or other issues in which the trustee has special expertise.

What we are looking for

We are committed to increasing the diversity of our Board and we would especially welcome applicants who have lived experience of homelessness, are female, are younger are from minority communities and are from lower-income backgrounds. These characteristics are all currently under-represented on our board.

  • Commitment to the work of Emmaus Oxford and the role of trustee.
  • A willingness to contribute fully to all the meetings and dedicate the time required.
  • Strategic vision
  • Good, independent judgement
  • An ability to think creatively
  • A willingness to speak your mind
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
  • A commitment to Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

As well as the above, we are particularly interested in applications from people with the following skills/experience:

  • Legal (employment law would be helpful but general a legal background is fine)
  • Digital and IT
  • Finance and accounting

Please click here for further information.

Support Through Court seeks new business board member

Passionate about access to justice? We’re looking for dynamic, well-connected, experienced senior leaders who can help us by sharing their networks and give us advice to help raise funds and awareness.

What will you be doing?

Business Board Members will raise funds by 

  • Engaging corporate support for fundraising products (such as our Partnership schemes) through your company or personal network
  •  Gift in kind support – offer rooms for meetings and events, or offer marketing expertise
  •  Introducing speakers, help shape high level events, promote and sell tickets for events
  •  Promoting Support Through Court to personal and professional networks, to engage supporters and sponsors
  •  Make a personal contribution of at least £50 per month, which over a year equates to supporting 24 people through our service.

What are we looking for?

– Passionate about improving access to justice

– Experienced and well connected within the legal sector

– Willing to promote fundraising products and introduce people to Support Through Court

– Able to give advice/ steers and feedback on corporate fundraising products such as events and appeals

– Experience in developing a corporate fundraising strategy

What difference will you make?

Impact of being part of the board:

  • Make a positive impact on your community, empower people alone in court
  • Contribute to creating a sustainable, actionable corporate fundraising strategy
  • Increase awareness of the issues faced by thousands of people, going through the Family and Civil courts without legal representation

What’s in it for the volunteer?

Benefits from joining the Business Board:

  • Acquire further skills in fundraising, leadership and volunteering; all desirable for future trustee positions
  • Be part of a successful volunteer fundraising board and help take their fundraising to the next level
  • Highlight your philanthropy within a business environment
  • Become part of the Support Through Court family, receive regular updates, visit your local service office and come to our networking events


Please click here for further information.

English Touring Theatre seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

English Touring Theatre is a registered charity in England and Wales, creating theatre of outstanding quality, imagination and ambition; work which interrogates and celebrates contemporary England and reflects the diversity of our nation. Our work enables people to ask challenging questions of them and others.

We stage a balance of new and classic work, to make theatre that is imaginative, responsive, and alive: sparking dialogue and fostering connectivity. Each year we work with around 10 venue partners, tour to 25 towns and cities and reach an average audience of 75,000 people.

English Touring Theatre is a limited company and a registered charity and receives significant funding from Arts Council England and is a National Portfolio Organisation.

We believe that touring is a democratic and imaginative way to invite audiences to engage with the world through storytelling. At the heart of our practice is a drive to entertain, engage, challenge and inspire. We celebrate diversity by placing an examination of contemporary English identity at the heart of everything we do and lead an inclusive and respectful culture.

This is an exciting time to join ETT. Our board is an active body; engaged and committed to English Touring Theatre’s ongoing strategic development. This is reflected in our newly re-shaped business plan, which focuses on being a touring company that is flexible, responsive and looking towards an increasingly democratic and open future. We have ambitions to be a leading touring company for the digital age, producing new work and collaboration models which can deepen and widen relationships with our audiences, communities, participants and artists.

We are committed to represent, celebrate and share the full complexity of the nation within our organisational ethos and our practice. This will be shown in the people we employ, the work we create and the audiences and communities we inspire.

About the role

We are now looking to recruit new Trustees to drive our organisation to achieve these new strategic goals and diversify and strengthen the board. We seek candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, and as per our commitment to equality and diversity, applications from Black, Asian and global majority candidates and candidates with disabilities are particularly encouraged.

Our new Trustees will possess substantial experience and knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • Strategic HR
  • Commercial/Legal
  • Digital Innovation
  • Audience Engagement

Applicants who can bring in new ideas and stimulus from sectors other than the culture sector would be welcome. We are particularly interested in encouraging applications from across the country to ensure we have broad geographical representation on our board.

Our ideal candidates will be individuals who can bring a fresh perspective on theatre as well as be technology-savvy, innovative and action-orientated. We are open to candidates form a variety of professional backgrounds and first time trustees. A can-do attitude coupled with a forward-looking outlook is essential. We are open to candidates from a variety of professional backgrounds. Understanding and appreciating the multi-dimensional nature of ETT and its values are key.

As well as serving on the Board and overseeing the strategic direction and good governance of the organisation, the Trustees will play a specific role in oversight of the company’s activities and strategy.

As a volunteer, the Trustees will attend quarterly Trustee meetings as well as offer their time to work closely with the ETT staff team throughout the year.

Strategic HR

An interest in business development and strategy

A background in a contemporary HR environment and passion for good practice.

A commitment to progressive and inclusive employment practices.


You might have some experience in a legal background within any sector for example employment, entertainment, contract, business, finance.

You could have some knowledge of development practices; fundraising & corporate sponsorships.

You may have experience of commercial best practice and a passion to share that with a charitable organisations.

Digital Innovation

You could have experience of working in cutting-edge Digital Projects, organisations & industries.

You may have Experience in Social Media, TV, Film, Immersive Technologies, VR, AI, AR & Digital Storytelling or across a range of digital industries.

Audience Engagement

A wide area of experience is applicable: Marketing, Participation, Data Analysis, PR.

A strong passion for developing new audiences and widening access to the arts.

You could come from a background in communicating with large and diverse groups of people through a range of mediums including print, social media, online etc.


Please click here for application details.



More Partnership (fundraising consultancy) seeks Non-Executive Director – law experience welcomed (paid role)

More Partnership is a remarkable group of fundraising and development professionals, who have chosen to work together in order to advance the great ambitions of our client organisations. Our consulting partners bring a rich and complementary mix of experience, perspectives, and passions, but our single-minded commitment to being the best at what we do is shared by all. We’re an employee-owned company, with an inclusive, respectful, and high-trust culture, and we are proud of our part in changing the world – and making it better.

We are much more than simply a fundraising consultancy. The rare combination of experience, insight, and practical advice that we bring allows us to support organisations of every size, on five continents, and across a wide range of sectors. We help organisations to understand their opportunity, fundraise more effectively, and make change happen. In practice, this can mean working to a range of outcomes: from helping clients to set direction, to training teams, making progress with projects, or evaluating performance.


The role

Having recently moved to being employee-owned, we want to appoint a Non-Executive Director to work with our Board and partners, helping us to ensure we’re always making strong decisions and developing a complete understanding of our operating environment as we draft our new strategy (scheduled for April 2022). A skilled communicator and facilitator, you’ll ensure that we hear all views in complex discussions, and that we make considered and collective judgements as a result. We’ll value your deft ‘sense-checking’ lines of questioning: discursive rather than prescriptive, you’ll ensure that the quality of our governance always attains the high level to which we aspire. An early and important contribution will be supporting us as we respond to the emerging opportunities of employee ownership.


Who they’re looking for

It’s likely that you will have an extensive professional track record in one or more of finance, HR/OD, law, or diversity & inclusion, and a nuanced grasp of leadership coaching would also be an asset. You’ll find us to be optimistic people, with high levels of tenacity, intellectual curiosity, rigour, and humility; we’re always learning, and always able to bring our full selves to the work we do. In return we can guarantee you’ll be stretched in ways you won’t expect, shape outcomes that will be deeply rewarding, and will have a sizeable amount of fun along the way. Most important of all, you will make a decisive contribution to advancing great ambitions as we support our clients to make the world a better place.

We are consciously engaging with improving our diversity, and we want to integrate a range of world-views, life experience, and habits of thought and action that enrich and strengthen our team. Applications are strongly encouraged from women and those who are Black, Asian, or from a minority ethnic community, as well as people with a range of socio-economic backgrounds or experience of disability.

You’ll find us to be optimistic people, with high levels of tenacity, intellectual curiosity, rigour and humility; we’re always learning, and always able to bring our full selves to the work we do. In return we can guarantee you’ll be stretched in ways you won’t expect, shape outcomes that will be deeply rewarding, and will have a sizable amount of fun along the way. Most importantly of all, you will make a decisive contribution to advancing the great ambitions of our wonderful clients as they make the world a better place.


Please click here for further information.

Charity to help vulnerable children and families seeks new Trustee – law expertise sought

Daybreak helps vulnerable children and their families. We’re looking for new trustees who will extend the range of expertise of our Board, for example in the fields of fundraising, public relations, marketing, law or social media.

What will you be doing?

Currently Daybreak has five trustees, all of whom have been on the board for a good number of years. We are now aiming to recruit additional trustees who can bring a fresh perspective and new expertise. We’d be particularly keen if you have skills and experience in fundraising, public relations, marketing, law or social media. But, above all, we need people who will bring enthusiasm and energy.

The minimum requirement is that you fulfil your duties as a trustee and participate in our quarterly Board meetings. These are normally held at our head office in Eastleigh, Hampshire, but occasionally in our London office or online. Given the need to study Board papers in advance and to complete any follow-up actions, this entails a minimum time commitment of about 30 hours per year.

However, most of our trustees choose to take a more active role in the charity, working closely with other trustees and our Senior Management Team in areas where they have relevant expertise, and perhaps launching new initiatives. If you choose to do the same and become more deeply involved in some aspect of the charity’s operations, such as fundraising or public relations, then you might well put in far more hours over the year than the 30 minimum. But that is a matter of your personal choice and desire to help our charity.

What are we looking for?

Our Board and Senior Management Team work closely together as one unit. So it’s vital that you’re a team player who can work well with other people. And you need to display maturity and a sense of responsibility.

Previous Board-level experience is desirable but not essential. It’s more important that you  have specific expertise that will be of value to our charity. Skills that we know will be of use include fundraising, public relations, marketing, lobbying, law and social media. But you may have other expertise that would prove equally valuable.

Above all, we need people who will bring energy and enthusiasm.


What difference will you make?

As a new trustee, you will bring a new perspective, new energy and new expertise. You will help our Board to ensure that our charity remains effective in serving our many clients, who are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society. And you will help ensure continuity of governance over the coming years.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

As a trustee, you will be given induction and ongoing support. You will gain Board-level experience in a friendly environment, with the opportunity to exercise your existing skills and develop new ones. And you will play an important part in navigating our charity through the choppy waters that we inevitably sometimes encounter.

But, above all, you will have the opportunity to help make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and their families – to bring the smiles back.


Please click here for further information.

Health and Care Professions Council seeks new lay member

We are seeking to appoint three new members of our Council

The roles include two registrant members, who must belong to one of the fifteen professions which HCPC regulates, and one lay member, who must not be or have been a registrant with HCPC.

The three new members will be joining HCPC at a critical moment for health and care professionals. The roles will provide the successful applicants with an opportunity to play a pivotal role in the current and future regulation of the sector, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In summary, the role of a Council member is to:

• contribute their knowledge and expertise to Council, to ensure robust governance and effective, strategic decision-making;

• contribute to the delivery of the Council’s objectives and strategy;

• ensure that they have a good working knowledge of HCPC’s role, key processes and other information that may help their role;

• carry out their work for the Council in accordance with the Council members’ code of conduct and the HCPC’s values; and

• act as an ambassador for the HCPC, representing the Council to stakeholders.

Please click here for a link to candidate pack.

Tower Hamlets Friends & Neighbours seeks new Trustee

Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours (THFN), is a small charity working with older people experiencing loneliness and social isolation. We have been supporting Older People people in the borough of Tower Hamlets since 1947, through befriending working with over 250 people a year through a small staff team. Whilst normally, the befriending would take place in peoples homes, since the pandemic, we have been switched to distance befriending.

We are now looking to refresh our Board of trustees, and are particularly looking for people who have the time to add value to the Board, and make a significant difference to the organisation.   The Board meets four or five times a year at our offices in Bethnal Green, (currently meeting virtually) and the time required from you amounts to around 4 hours a month.

We are particularly interested in recruiting people who have experience on social care, the not for profit sector, or those that are now approaching the end of their working life and want to make a difference to others.

All Trustees: Main tasks:

To work with fellow Trustees in:

  1. formulating THFN’s strategic aims and reviewing them regularly to ensure that they remain relevant
  2. developing realistic plans, with milestones, to achieve these aims and monitoring progress in implementing them
  3. keeping the performance of THFN and its financial position under review and ensuring that corrective action is taken if necessary
  4. appointing the chief executive and holding him/her to account
  5. ensuring that the governance and working of the organisation conform with best practice and statutory requirements

1.Formulating and reviewing strategic aims

Keep sight of the organisation’s purpose and its beneficiaries as a whole. Critically review any option to ensure that it reflects that purpose, and will achieve the desired results for beneficiaries. Ensure that discussions reflect the organisation’s vision and values.

2.Developing realistic strategic and annual plans, with milestones, to achieve these aims and monitoring progress in implementing them

Contribute to the construction of plans based on objectives achievable within resources, and directly related to THFN’s overall aims. Ensure that accountability for delivering objectives within the plan are clearly stated and understood. Regularly review progress in achieving objectives, ensuring that measures to recover lost progress are in place.

3.Keeping the performance of THFN and its financial position under review, and ensuring that corrective action is taken if necessary.

Contribute to the review of THFN’s performance and financial position, including performance against budget and future cash flow projections. Ensure that remedial action is taken to deal with emerging concerns.

4.Ensuring that the governance and working of the organisation conform with best practice and statutory requirements

  • Be familiar with THFN’s formal responsibilities and its legal obligations.
  • Oversee the use of THFN’s funds, ensuring that they are restricted to pursuit of its charitable aims.
  • Ensure that the organisation’s structure and processes are consistent with these, are transparent and reflect best practice.
  • Draw on personal skills and experience of other bodies, and engage in training sessions, in order to contribute constructively to Board discussions.

In addition, each Trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience he/she has to help the Board of Trustees reach sound decisions.


Please click here for further information.

Equine / Elderly charitable trust seeks new Trustee – legal skills welcomed

The Elise Pilkington Trust, although relatively small, in the last 10 years EPT has distributed over £1.5 million of grant funding to charities, particularly supporting smaller charities.

As a trustee, you have overall control of the charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. You will lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee of EPT means making decisions that will impact on the lives of both elderly people and equines. You will be able to make a real difference to the lives of the elderly and of equines.

There are usually two trustee meetings each year which either take place in central London or more recently due to restrictions by Video Conference.


In the last 10 years EPT has distributed over £1.5 million of grant funding to charities, particularly supporting smaller elderly and equine charities. You have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the elderly and to the lives of equines.

If you have a passion for horses or for wish to improve the lives of the elderly this trustee opportunity could be for you.

You will be joining a small team, who offer one another respect and empathy. There is a good support network for a new trustee, from an administrator covering the day to day work, to supportive fellow trustees and also the knowledge and experience of our investment managers.

You will be able to keep up to date with the latest developments is the elderly and equine world.


What are we looking for?

We are looking for someone who is open minded, welcoming new approaches and ideas, while drawing on the best supporting evidence available to inform decision making. There is a good support network for you as a new trustee, from an administrator covering the day to day work, to supportive fellow trustees and also the knowledge and experience of our investment managers.

The successful applicant will have:

  • An awareness or interest in ageing or equine experience
  • Integrity
  • A commitment to the organisation and its objectives
  • An understanding (and acceptance) of the legal duties of trusteeship
  • Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duty as a trustee
  • A strategic vision
  • Good, independent judgment
  • An ability to think creatively
  • A willingness to speak their mind
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • Be passionate about the EPT cause


What difference will you make?

Although a relatively small charitable trust, in the last 10 years EPT has distributed over £1.5 million of grant funding to charities, particularly supporting smaller elderly and equine charities. You have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the elderly and to the lives of equines.


What’s in it for the volunteer?

If you have a passion for horses or for wish to improve the lives of the elderly this trustee opportunity could be for you.

You will be joining a small team, who offer one another respect and empathy.There is a good support network for a new trustee, from an administrator covering the day to day work, to supportive fellow trustees and also the knowledge and experience of our investment managers.

You will be able to keep up to date with the latest developments is the elderly and equine world.

Please click here for further information.

Disability Rights UK seeks new Chair

Disability Rights UK (DR UK) are disabled people leading change, working for equal participation for all.

Since its foundation in 2012 DR UK has significantly grown in profile, influence and reputation. In 2022 DR UK will celebrate 10 years of working together with Disabled People leading change. The organisation is rooted in the Social Model of Disability and takes a rights-based approach. It is made up of individual Disabled members and member organisations led by and for Disabled People.

DR UK’s vision is to create a society where Disabled people have equal power, rights and equality of opportunity, and where all Disabled people are included in every aspect of life. To achieve this ambition, DR UK are building a movement which strengthens the collective and individual voices of Disabled people’s organisations and Disabled people to achieve change.

The role is for someone passionate about equality and human rights, someone who understands the importance of the Social Model of Disability as a driving force for change. The role is rewarding and you will be supported by a committed and skilful Board, CEO and staff team. DR UK brings the lived experiences of Disabled People to everything it does, by challenging policymakers, institutions and individuals to remove the barriers that exist for Disabled People. As Chair, you will be a Disabled Person and at the heart of this aim and will be willing to support and promote the role of DR UK with skill and enthusiasm.

Disability Rights UK is committed to achieve greater diversity in its board, and welcomes applications regardless of sex, gender, race, age, sexuality, belief or disability.

Please click here for further information.

Black Cultural Archives seeks new Chair and Trustees – legal expertise sought

We are working in partnership with Black Cultural Archives, which is the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving, and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in the UK. Through its learning resources, collections and research – such as, online and gallery exhibitions, educational programmes, public engagement events and, of course, its extensive and unique set of archives, museum objects and reference library at 1 Windrush Square, it inspires and give strength to individuals, communities and society. Its resources have been used by people from Filmmaker Steve McQueen to Historian Professor David Olusoga.

Black Cultural Archives has become the leading non-governmental and heritage institutional voice for the Windrush Generation and are leaders in the heritage sector for their work on workforce diversity, and interrogating decolonial archival practices. Its network includes current collaborations with the Universities of Roehampton and King’s College London.

The charity is now seeking to appoint a Chair and three Trustees to join the Board to help deliver its ambitious BCA 2030 Strategy and provide direction and support to the management team. The successful Chair will need to have experience at a senior level with strong management and olitically astute and willing to be a vocal advocate for the charity.The Chair will also demonstrate strong networking capabilities and the ability to build authentic and solid relationships across the heritage sector, business, and political arenas.

Trustees need to ideally have charity experience and knowledge of the arts and heritage sector. They will need to demonstrate experience of external representation and developing successful partnerships, fundraising skills, and senior strategic leadership experience within an organisation, business, or public body, preferably at board level. Trustees should have a background / expertise in one of the following areas:

  • Governance and policy
  • Legal, especially charity law
  • History (e.g. historian, academic, author, broadcaster, or teacher)
  • Fundraising (trusts and foundations)
  • Communications (e.g. marketing, PR, or political communications)
  • HR
  • Arts or creative (e.g. influencer, graphic designer, artist, or digital creative)

The Chair should be able to commit themselves to the work of the Board for up to 4 days per month, and trustees around 2 days per month. Board members will serve on a voluntary basis, though reasonable expenses will be paid.

Please click here for further information.

The Board: A General Counsel’s Perspective with Dan Fitz

We were joined by Dan Fitz, GC of the Crick Institute. Dan has served as General Counsel and Company Secretary of BT Group, Cable & Wireless and Misys. He has chaired the Association of Corporate Counsel and been Vice Chair of the GC 100. He has been named in the FT’s list of the top 30 Global General Counsel and in 2014 the FT named him one of the top 100 LGBT executives.  Watch back to see how Dan planned, or didn’t plan, his career path leading him to his current post.


Citizens Advice in Stroud, Gloucestershire seeks new Trustee

Do you want to help the community where you live, work or study and gain valuable skills?

Do you want to make sure your family and neighbours get the advice they need now and in the future?

Time commitment

6 x Board meetings a year and approximately one other meeting a month with associated paperwork.


Click here for application details.

Former lawyer turned psychotherapist Gavin Sharpe – workaholism, life, law and stress

We were joined by former Allen & Overy lawyer, Gavin Sharpe who, in 2012, made the decision to retrain as a coach and psychotherapist. He encouraged us all to take a step back and take a look at work and life as a whole. Anyone who takes work calls whilst on ‘holiday’ or pulled all-nighters, will benefit from spending a few minutes listening and reflecting upon what Gavin had to say. Gavin himself now has a diversified portfolio career alongside his main career, and seems to have achieved a balance that many current lawyers are now looking for.

Homelessness charity ‘Ashford Place’ seeks Governance Trustee

Ashford Place provides support services to single homeless people as well as vulnerable people in our local community. We provide our services from our wholly owned Community Resource Centre. We are spearheading a significant change in the way support services are designed and delivered with an emphasis on personal responsibility, community cohesion and long term positive impact on individuals/communities.

We are looking for someone with a Governance and Compliance background who could as a Trustee help us be the best we can in supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our local community.

Role summary

We need a Trustee to work with our brilliant bunch of Trustees to keep us on the straight and narrow, legally speaking. We would be delighted to recruit someone who could help us with the following;

  • Lead on policy review, amendment, and implementation, as well as ensuring we are compliant will all policies.
  • Set out processes and work with senior staff and Trustees to ensure policies are implemented and embedded throughout our charity.
  • Use your experience and expertise to ensure that we are complying with our governing document and other regulatory requirements.
  • Provide technical governance knowledge and leadership and to keep abreast of any developments in the charity sector that are relevant to our charity.
  • Assist in setting our long-term strategy, ensuring the charity meets its objects and purpose.

Person description

It would be great to welcome someone with senior experience in the Charity world and with governance and compliance experience. We are a well-regarded charity and work hard to improve the situation for many of our clients who are disadvantaged by health inequalities. We have proved our resilience as a charity during Covid-19 and looking forward we want to strengthen an already excellent Board of Trustees to help front-line staff continue their good work.

What’s in it for the volunteer?

You would be part of a progressive successful mid-sized local charity that is well recognized and well regarded. We are an honest charity, emerging from  Covid-19 quite well, have stayed in contact with over 1000 clients in the last year, and so you might like to be part of that?


Please click here for further information.

Gambling charity ‘Betknowmore UK’ seeks new Trustee

Gambling harm is increasingly recognised as an emerging public health issue. Betknowmore is a leading provider of award-winning support & training services, led by experts by experience and working across multiple sectors.

Role summary

The duties of our Trustees are:

  • Ensuring that the organisation pursues its stated objects (purposes), as defined in its governing document, by developing and agreeing a long-term strategy
  • Ensuring that the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • Ensuring that the organisation applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its charitable objects  for the benefit of the public
  • Ensuring that the organisation defines its goals and evaluates performance against agreed targets
  • Safeguarding the reputation and values of the organisation
  • Ensuring the effective and efficient administration of the organisation, including having appropriate policies and procedures in place
  • Ensuring the financial stability of the organisation
  • Protecting and managing the property of the charity and ensuring the proper investment of the charity’s funds
  • Following proper and formal arrangements for the appointment, supervision, support, appraisal and remuneration of the chief executive

In addition to the above statutory duties, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions. This may involve scrutinising board papers, leading discussions, focusing on key issues, providing advice and guidance on new initiatives, or other issues in which the trustee has special expertise.

Person description

Betknowmore UK is recruiting trustees to join our dedicated management board. We are keen to speak to candidates who offer the following:

  • A commitment to the organisation
  • A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort
  • Strategic vision
  • Good, independent judgement
  • An ability to think creatively
  • A willingness to speak their mind
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • A commitment to Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Candidates should not have an existing or previous connection to the gambling industry or derive an income through gambling services and activities.

What’s in it for the volunteer?

Betknowmore UK is an ambitious, young charity. We seek sustainable growth, achieved through evolving strategic planning and learning, diversity of income streams and strong partnerships with organisations with shared values.

Today the Betknowmore UK ‘family’ continues to grow, full of highly committed, knowledgeable, hard- working individuals, working towards our shared vision, mission and values. Together, with our many partner organisations, we provide support and training services to address personal and societal issues triggered by gambling harms.

In late 2020, Betknowmore UK became a registered charity, and this is an open invitation to join us and support our mission.

Time commitment

Up to five Board meetings per year, plus at least one Committee membership with three to four additional meetings per year.

A few more details

Lived experience provides personal insight, knowledge and empathic understanding.

From the outset, experts by experience have played a key role in co-producing, delivering and evaluating our services. We seek to combine the donation of lived experience, with evidence-based approaches.


Please click here for further information.

RSPCA Dartford seeks new branch Trustee with governance / compliance experience

This is an exciting opportunity to share your Governance and Compliance expertise whilst helping to promote kindness and prevent animal cruelty. You will be able to influence how we do things, and with your support, we will achieve so much more!

You would be joining a friendly team of 10 Trustees who oversee all aspects of the work of the Branch. We also have a newly appointed Branch Manager who deals with the day to day running of the Branch and carries out the instructions of the Trustees.

Overview of the Branch Trustee – Governance and Compliance opportunity

We are looking for someone with a Governance and Compliance background that could spare some time to volunteer with us as one of our trustees at our Kent North West Branch.

This role will give you the chance to influence how we care for and prevent cruelty to animals and drive the implementation of key initiatives.

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 depending on whether the trustee takes on additional duties.

About the RSPCA

Founded in 1824 we have been saving animals for almost 200 years and are proud to be the oldest welfare charity around. It has always been our vision to live in a world where all animals are respected and treated with compassion, so our volunteers and employees work tirelessly to ensure that all animals can live free from pain and suffering.

Through our numerous campaigns, we seek to raise standards of care, and awareness of issues, affecting animals today. We rely heavily on our volunteers who play a significant role in enabling us to carry out this important animal welfare work every day!

The RSPCA Kent North West Branch

The Kent North West Branch is one of the branches of RSPCA, but we are also a separately registered charity looking after animals in our local area. Much of the animal welfare work of RSPCA is carried out through local branches, which is run by volunteers who have the support of the National Society of RSPCA.

We work with RSPCA Inspectors, Vets and owners in DA postcodes and BR8 postcodes each year to help hundreds of animals.

Primary responsibilities of the Branch Trustee – Governance and Compliance

  • Take the lead on policy review, amendment and implementation and create a timetable to ensure Branch policies are reviewed at appropriate intervals.
  • Set out processes and work with senior staff and trustees to ensure policies are implemented and embedded throughout the Branch.
  • Use your experience and expertise to ensure the Branch is complying with its governing document and other regulatory requirements.
  • Provide technical governance knowledge and leadership and to keep abreast of any developments in the charity sector that are relevant to the Branch operations.
  • Assist in setting the long-term strategy of the Branch, ensuring the charity meets its objects and purpose.

Core Branch Trustee responsibilities

  • Appreciate and support the aims and policies of the RSPCA.
  • Work in conjunction with fellow trustees and branch officers and jointly act in making decisions for the best interest of the branch and the RSPCA.
  • Work with national RSPCA staff to ensure that the branch meets all minimum animal welfare standards (MAWS).
  • In conjunction with your fellow trustees and Branch Support Specialist write, adopt, monitor, and review a development plan setting out the short and long term aims of your branch.
  • Actively participate in branch committee meetings and to attend the branch annual general meeting and regional conference.
  • Be aware of the outcome of regional board meetings and support regional initiatives.
  • Actively promote and advertise the society in an ongoing programme to recruit new branch trustees and volunteers and welcome new members.
  • In conjunction with your fellow trustees, ensure the proper management and control of all activities and decisions relating to any premises held or staff employed by the branch if applicable.

What we are looking for in a volunteer:

We are committed to creating a Board which is representative of our society and in particular, our community and surrounding areas so encourage people from any background to apply for any of our opportunities.

Above all, we are looking for someone who is committed to the RSPCA’s charitable objectives and shares our passion for animal welfare. You would have a background in Governance and Compliance and can put ideas into action.

You will need to be able to work with people and have good interpersonal skills. You do not need to be an expert although commitment, common sense, and the ability to be objective are vital.

What we can offer you as a volunteer Branch Trustee – Governance and Compliance

  • We will provide you with a comprehensive trustee training course which will provide you will everything you need to carry out the role.
  • Ongoing support is also provided by regional and national RSPCA staff in addition to any additional training provided by the relevant branch.
  • The platform to utilise your skills and experience to oversee the charity and make decisions that have a direct impact on local animal welfare.
  • The opportunity to gain new skills and develop existing ones, whilst making a real difference to the lives of animals.
  • A way to expand your professional and personal network through working with like-minded people.

Please click here for further information.

Holywell Housing Trust (Devon) seeks new Trustee with housing law expertise

We are looking for three new Trustees to join our Board. Hollywell is a brave and fast growing organisation, providing sustainable homes for some of the most vulnerable people in society and supporting them to thrive within diverse communities.

Hollywell Housing Trust is an award winning charity in the South West of England, set up on 2014 providing housing and housing support to people with learning disabilities and autism. We work with tenants to identify goals and empower them to fulfill these, hold a sustainable tenancy and thrive within the community. We passionately believe that EVERYONE should have a safe home, regardless of disability and that this is the cornerstone to being able to live a full life.

Hollywell does not provide care, we are a niche charity providing housing related support to enable sustainable tenancies. The service we provide is bespoke to the individual and harnesses the private rented sector to secure accommodation for people.

We are in the process of going through a period of growth and change and need to grow and strengthen our Board. We are ideally looking for people who have experience of housing, the voluntary sector, local authority, social care, housing benefit, finance and housing law but we are very open to looking at more diverse experience, backgrounds and skill sets.


Please click here for further information.

The Portfolio Lawyer with Andrew Peck: Plan ahead, get committee experience and fill your address book!

We were joined by former Linklaters lawyer, Andrew Peck, who shared with us his experience of planning for and achieving a fulfilling portfolio career. This should resonate with any lawyer currently thinking about how the next few years will look.

Click the link below and watch the webinar back to hear Andrew’s top tips for planning ahead, achieving his aims, and looking forward with no regrets.

Mental health & local community charity The 401 Foundation seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

We are looking to grow our passionate and dedicated board of trustees to support the growth of The 401 Foundation and the development of the strategy and plans for the future.

Our vision  is a world where everyone feels included, valued and confident and we look to help local communities empower individuals to build confidence, self-esteem and positively contribute to people’s mental wellbeing.  This support is currently through grants for grassroots projects and building a network of support throughout the UK.

We are looking for voluntary trustees who are willing to bring their experiences and skills to enhance the board and ensure the work of the Foundation continues into the future.

We are particularly hopeful to find some trustees with a level of expertise in either

  • Charity and fundraising
  • Legal
  • Business and commercial

There are four online board meetings per year that are generally held in the evening and last for a couple of hours each.  There may also be some smaller project meeting requirements depending upon what is going on at the time.

We will also expect you to take a little time to prepare for meetings and follow up on any actions.

More specific outlines of the responsibilities are available upon request or if you would like to find out more or for an application form, please contact Shaun here.

We welcome applications from everyone with the necessary skills and values. To reflect our ambition and commitment to be more representative on our board we particularly welcome and encourage applications from candidates from an ethnically diverse background and/or with a disability.


Please click here for further information.

Care Home Volunteers charity seeks board secretary and Trustee – legal background helpful

Help us grow this small Wiltshire-based charity into a national organisation, reducing loneliness amongst older residents in care homes.

We are looking for a trustee with governance, compliance and administration experience to help us build a solid foundation for expansion over the years to come.

We work to reduce loneliness and isolation amongst older residents in care homes, by matching them with volunteers who (normally) visit on a one-to-one basis.  During the pandemic, our wonderful volunteers have been providing virtual visits online, writing letters and cards, and making phone calls.

We are growing fast and have aims to achieve some national presence by 2025.  So we are keen to recruit a trustee who can help us ensure that our governance, policies and procedures are robust enough to support our growth.  Ideally, you will live in or near Wiltshire, though this may not be essential.

We currently have ten trustees and board meetings are held six times per year, normally in Swindon on a weekday morning.  But we could be flexible with remote attendance for the right person.

This trustee will have the main duties of all trustees, together with additional responsibilities for leading on governance and compliance, and for the effective administration of board meetings.

Governance and compliance

Responsible for the efficient administration of the charity, particularly compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements:

  • Being familiar with our governing document, the responsibilities of charities under the Charities Act 2009 and our internal governance rules
  • Filing statutory returns and information with the Charities Regulator
  • Ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct for Charity Trustees and the Charities Governance Code
  • Maintaining updated records of our policies and procedures and following a rolling programme for review by the board
  • Tracking progress with our risk register/ business plan/ strategic plan
  • Maintaining the register of trustees and of trustees’ interests

Board meetings

Responsible for assisting the Chair (and Chief Executive when we have one in the future) to ensure effective board meetings:

  • Planning and agreeing agendas, checking matters arising, bring forward items and action points
  • Agreeing the timetable of board meetings for the year ahead
  • Circulating board papers in advance
  • Taking the minutes at board meetings

What are we looking for?

We are looking for someone with experience of governance, compliance, setting up and maintaining policies and procedures, and board administration, ideally in a charity. You will have a tidy and organised approach, with careful attention to detail, to keep us on the straight and narrow. A legal or company secretary background could be helpful but is not essential.

Please click here for further information.

CareTrade Answers for Autism seeks new Trustee with law experience

We passionately belief “employment is the biggest single factor that will transform the life of an autistic person” and seek to create a world that embraces neurodiversity, especially in the workforce.

Looking forward we are seeking to broaden the expertise and experience of our Board, to help to support and grow our staff team and to help CareTrade better meet the challenges and take up the opportunities of the future, so we continue to meet the needs of our beneficiaries and create tangible and long lasting change. Neurodiversity is going to become a priority for all employers.

There is an opportunity to be part of something that not only makes a dramatic difference to individuals we support and their families but to help the charity reach beyond and help effect a wave of change across employers bringing greater equity and diversity.

CareTrade Trustees are a valued resource and crucial part of the CareTrade journey.

If you share our vision get in touch.

For further information and a link to a full candidate brief, please click here.

Tim Wainwright CE WaterAid UK: What to look for in a good board member

Tim has worked with two Chairs who have also been lawyers so you’ll be pleased to hear that he doesn’t feel lawyers should be pigeon-holed into one single category. He wants to see what that individual can offer as a whole. Indeed, Tim has found a legal background to be a valued asset on a board, often bringing with it wisdom, a breadth of experience, “lawyers see an awful lot of things!” and, in his experience, a “precise and forensic'” approach.

Watch Tim Clark (BCKR) and Tim Wainwright in discussion below.

Bristol-based charity Incredible Kids seeks new Trustee – law expertise welcomed

Incredible Kids is a charity providing inclusive play and support sessions to children and young people with disabilities or additional needs, and their families in and around the Bristol area. We have over 6000 visits per year from families. Incredible Kids aims to help families have fun, become more resilient and less isolated.

The charity is a response to a gap in support services for families with disabled children to spend quality time together. It aims to reduce the social isolation and loneliness that so often features in the lives of those affected by disability and additional needs. It aims to increase wellbeing and a sense of belonging for the families that visit the charity whilst increasing skills and knowledge of parent carers, young people with additional needs and their siblings.

There are at least 4,500 children and young people in Bristol with a level of special educational needs and 5728 in South Gloucestershire alone. Incredible Kids attracts families from at least 7 local authorities surrounding Bristol City, so the need is great.

The charity is motivated by Christian compassion

We are currently seeking four new trustees to strengthen our current board and take us forward towards our plan to have a permanent dedicated space open 6 days a week. To complement the skills we already have on the board we are seeking individuals with experience, skills, and expertise in safeguarding, law, business, marketing, corporate governance, strategic planning or financial management at a senior level. However, in addition, individuals will need a personal commitment and empathy with our vision and values and a willingness to work with other trustees, and senior team to act as ambassadors and build partnerships and networks to further our collaboration with a wide range of partners and raise funds to deliver our programme of work.

Incredible Kids is a charity providing inclusive play and support sessions to children and young people with disabilities or additional needs, and their families in and around the Bristol area. We have over 6000 visits per year from families. Incredible Kids aims to help families have fun, become more resilient and less isolated.The charity is a response to a gap in support services for families with disabled children to spend quality time together. It aims to reduce the social isolation and loneliness that so often features in the lives of those affected by disability and additional needs. It aims to increase wellbeing and a sense of belonging for the families that visit the charity whilst increasing skills and knowledge of parent carers, young people with additional needs and their siblings.There are at least 4,500 children and young people in Bristol with a level of special educational needs and 5728 in South Gloucestershire alone. Incredible Kids attracts families from at least 7 local authorities surrounding Bristol City, so the need is great.The charity is motivated by Christian compassion and expects that new trustees will share this ethos.


Please click here for further information and a link to a full candidate pack.

Headhunter Susanne André: the benefits Lawyers can bring to development agencies and non-profits

Starting out as a lawyer, and now in search for the development and NGO sector, Susanne’s session looked at a number of aspects of the NED roles in the development sector and the opportunities for lawyers who are considering these roles. These aspects included:

  • the inter-linkages between the public and private sectors in the light of the UN SDGs
  • the differences between the private and development sectors including cultural and senior relationship matters
  • the attributes which are required for appointments in the development sector including a growth mindset, motivation for the cause, diplomacy and networking
  • the expertise and experience of lawyers which support successful applications including understanding business organisations and partnership dynamics (in particular, consensus decision-making), attention to detail and the advisory mindset

Overall, it was Susanne’s view that the development sector held out a range of interesting opportunities for lawyers given their experience and expertise. This was particularly the case following the pandemic given that attendance at meetings (which, for many agencies, were held outside the UK) would not continue to involve such an extensive travel requirement.

Watch the webinar below to hear more.


The Complete Works (independent school in London) seeks new Trustee with law experience

The Complete Works Charity is an arts education company who are looking to appoint new trustees to make a contribution to the governance of this prominent charity, which offers an alternative educational provision and is a registered independent school. The trustees of The Complete Works Charity support and monitor the school’s effective operation. They possess a wide range of qualifications and experience gained in both education, good governance and the arts.

The newly appointed trustees will support and offer their expertise and guidance in leading the charity. You will need to share a passion for our charity work and our commitment to being a diverse, inclusive and creative educational provision. An understanding of and a willingness to train in the principles of good governance in the charity sector is essential. Trusteeship offers occasional challenges but many substantial rewards.

We are particularly interested to hear from potential trustees from diverse and ethnic backgrounds who have experience in one of the following areas: education, social care, creative arts, safeguarding, human resources or independent school law. Previous Board experience is not necessary.

The role of a TCW trustee is voluntary and involves attending a minimum of 4 board meetings a year. Currently these meetings are virtual. The position is unpaid, but reasonable expenses may be claimed.

If you would like further information about the charity, please visit our website.


For application details, please click here.

Organisation to help sufferers of Long COVID seeks new Trustee – legal skills sought

140,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with Long-COVID. This condition makes everyday activity, such as washing or dressing, impossible. COVID RESEARCH is there for Long COVID suffers, in the short, medium and long term. We fund and publish research into the nature, causes, diagnosis, treatment, possible cures and the possible prevention of Long COVID. We campaign for Long COVID to be recognised as a disability. We co-ordinate mental health services.

Trustees must have:

  • a commitment to the mission of COVID Research
  • a willingness to meet the minimum time requirement – one meeting a month
  • integrity
  • strategic vision
  • good, independent judgement
  • an ability to think creatively
  • a willingness to speak their mind
  • an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
  • an ability to work effectively as a member of a team and to take decisions for the good of COVID Research

Trustees must have experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Campaigning
  • Financial Management
  • Fundraising
  • IT / Web Development
  • Legal
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Mental Health
  • Organisational Development
  • Public Policy

Please click here for further information.

The Portfolio Lawyer – Jonathan Scott: how to have a successful plural life after law

On retiring from his roles as Senior Partner and Executive Chair of Herbert Smith Freehills, Jonathan Scott wanted to take on number of external appointments.  He has sought roles which would be an interesting challenge,  take him out of his comfort zone, enable him to ‘put something back’ and ultimately, have fun in the process.

With some help along the way Jonathan now enjoys a successful plural life. Do watch our conversation with Jonathan who gave us a first hand insight into how he went about realising his plans and just what benefits he feels lawyers can bring to boards.

Andrea Coomber Director of Justice: how law, and lawyers, can be a vehicle for change

Andrea Coomber, the Director of Justice, gave an excellent overview of the role of Justice in addressing societal concerns and of the value of the justice system as a public good. She also looked at how lawyers might themselves practically contribute to the challenge of ensuring that the justice system is effective, particularly at a time when public confidence has been shaken in areas such as racial inequality and gender based violence.
She concluded with some valuable insights into remote working based on her experience of working as Director of Justice from Australia in recent months.
Watch Andrea in discussion with one of BCKR’s directors, Guy Beringer, below.

Headhunter Jan Hall: Be your own best advocate

Jan was until recently one of the leading headhunters for Chair, Board and senior executive roles at major corporates and is now running a consultancy for senior NEDs and management. Jan’s session gave many insights (based on her executive and NED career – which started at the age of 27) into:

  • how headhunters work and how to make them your messenger,
  • how to keep in touch with them,
  • avoiding being desperate, grumpy or arrogant, and
  • why we should not take rejection personally.

She has also recently published Changing Gear, on how best to approach life after a full-on career.

One point was of particular note – when researching this book, Jan realised that, when compared to others, we lawyers spend too little time treating ourselves and our next career stage as a project and, therefore, invest too little in ourselves when working out our next steps and securing the next stage of our careers. BCKR and its various offerings offer you a good way to make this key investment.

Do watch the webinar below to hear Jan’s take on the transition to portfolio life.

New School Canterbury seeks new Trustee with legal expertise

We are looking for trustees at our pioneering new school founded in 2018. It is located on an idyllic site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by a bio-dynamic farm, 10 minutes south of Canterbury.

​We are looking for new Trustees to join our Board. We are a new school supported by a wide range of educational experts aiming be at the forefront of education whilst be rooted in community.

To complement the skills of our existing Board would ideally like to attract Trustees with knowledge of one or more of the following:

  • ​​Business Development / Strategy
  • Financial Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Legal Expertise
  • Human Resources
  • Waldorf Education

The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets regularly on a voluntary basis to shape, discuss and consider the vision, progress and welfare of the school. Their main roles of responsibility are to:

  • Ensure clarity of Vision and Ethos and that our Values Framework underpins policy and practice within the school
  • Lead on Budget approval
  • Create robust accountability for the Teachers, Management Team and Working Group
  • Ensure that the school is compliant with all its legal and contractual requirements.

​Trustees meet formally twice a term on zoom, so location is not a barrier, but we sometimes meet informally more often during this early stage of the school’s life.

Please click here for further information.

Rebecca Gudgeon on ESG and Corporate Reputation

Rebecca Gudgeon, a partner in the communications firm Hudson Sandler, has extensive experience as an adviser on organisation risk and reputation issues. She leads HS Sustain (the ESG practice of Hudson Sandler) and is one of the leading advisers in the ESG sector.

Rebecca’s talk (and the subsequent conversation) covered the impact of the rapidly developing ESG sector, the broad scope of ESG requirements and the knowledge which non-executive board members of an organisation (including not for profit boards) now need to have to operate effectively as NEDs.  The areas covered by the discussion included:
  • ESG and the development of strategy (including the role of the UN SDGs)
  • the stakeholders affected by ESG strategy and operations
  • the cross disciplinary impact of ESG
  • measurement and the role of ESG rating agencies
  • the role of the Board in looking at ESG requirements
  • the interplay between long-term strategy and shorter term decision-making (including executive remuneration) and reporting
  • becoming familiar with ESG requirements
  • how to deal with ESG ‘dinosaurs’ on a board.

Click below to watch back the webinar.

Hilary Wild: How the Audit Committee can be a perfect fit for a lawyer

We were joined by highly experienced audit committee chair, Hilary Wild, who takes us through just how beneficial the presence of a lawyer on a board can be. The prerequisites of an audit committee member – the ability to think independently and objectively, integrity, the ability to manage confidential and sensitive information, are all characteristics often found not just in accountants but in lawyers too.

Whilst not all lawyers are not finance professionals, many lawyers are hugely financially literate and their place on an Audit Committee will be an asset. Indeed, as Hilary suggested herself, an Audit Committee made up solely of accountants would not be at all healthy! Lawyers have the potential to bring far more to the table.

Hilary has provided some useful background material from The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors which provides us with a high level view of the context for audit committees, and a sample audit committee charter. Please do watch the webinar below to find out more.


Miranda Wayland from the BBC: Boardroom issues of the day – BLM and the diversity agenda

We were delighted to be joined by Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative Diversity at the BBC who talked us through how they go about analysing the gap between diversity/equality and equity and the practical steps which can be taken to address that gap as well as looking at diversity in its widest context. Miranda articulates well one of the key issues of understanding other people’s perceptions and perspectives.

The BBC – although different from other organisations – is a great comparator and the (internal) work which they were doing is really impressive and an example if we are to address these fundamental problems.

Click the video below to watch our webinar.

David Paterson: top tips for current lawyers – plan early and take the initiative

We were joined by former lawyer, David Paterson, who spoke candidly about the need to preserve self esteem and be realistic when starting out on a portfolio life. His words will resonate with many of us. David guides our members through his own journey in transitioning from being an M&A and board advisory partner at HSF to holding a variety of non-executive and trustee roles in the charitable and sporting arena just two years later.

David recommends doing research to find out what it is you want from a portfolio life, be realistic, network, and use the services that BCKR has to offer.

Watch the recording below to hear more from David.


RACC-UK (Rare auto-inflammatory support organisation) seeks new Trustee with law expertise

TrusteeRACC – UK is the UK’s only patient charity for patients and families suffering from #Rare Autoinflammatory conditions.

We are looking for applications from people from all social and cultural backgrounds, which are passionate about Rare Diseases, enthusiastic and reliable, with a variety of skills and experience they could use to help with the running of Rare Auto-inflammatory Conditions Community – UK (RACC-UK), such as:

  • Charity governance
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Fundraising
  • Project management
  • Business management
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Human Resources
  • Event planning


We are looking for skilled, enthusiastic and reliable people to manage the affairs of Rare Auto-inflammatory Conditions Community – UK (RACC-UK) as trustees, ensuring that the Branch is governed and managed effectively, whilst continually having Rare Diseases at the forefront of their minds. Trustees serve on the governing body of the charity and have the responsibility for the running of the charity.

Please click here for further information.

Guy Henderson: Six steps to take when looking at life after law

This week we were joined by Guy Henderson, former lawyer at Allen & Overy, who performed a complete career change and is now Chief Executive of Ascot Racecourse, amongst other things.

Guy takes us through the six steps he would recommend taking when sitting down to consider a life after law, planning for a life that makes you ‘leap out of bed in the morning!’


Christopher Rodrigues CBE: judgement, insight, worldly experience and a passion for the cause

Christopher Rodrigues, chair past and present of a diverse range of boards from the arts and sport to finance and education, provided our members with an invaluable insight into what he looks for in a useful board member, often counting lawyers among those who can best help the board make better decisions. He takes the refreshing approach of always trying to recruit members to his boards for whom the role will be their first.

Additionally, Christopher details how the nature and form of board meetings are changing over the course of 2020 while we try and cope with the limitations imposed by the pandemic – some changes are for the better, and some will be retained even after the threat of covid has subsided.

Lisa Mulley: taking control of your personal and professional life with consulting

We were recently joined by Lisa Mulley who leads Peerpoint, the consulting panel for Allen & Overy, who considers how lawyers, in her experience, can take their first brave steps into the world of legal consultancy, thereby allowing them greater control and the freedom to explore different avenues.

‘Knowing your skillset’, and ‘good listening skills’ are just a couple of areas crucial for lawyers to consider if they wish to successfully pursue a career in consultancy. These are equally crucial areas for lawyers to review in preparation for securing their board roles.  Being a good lawyer is almost a ‘given’. Do watch the webinar to find out more about this potentially exciting and enriching area.

If you email us here, we will be happy to put any of our members in touch with Peerpoint if they wish to consider consultancy.

Susie Cummings from Nurole: Simplifying the headhunting process

We were joined by Susie Cummings from Nurole who talked us through the process they adopt when charged with finding candidates to fill board roles, citing many lawyers along the way who have successfully attained their board roles this way. Nurole actively encourages boards to hire ‘first timers’, indeed around half their appointees are taking on their first role. Do watch the webinar to see Susie’s enthusiasm for this successful, thriving business model.

If you would like to get in touch with Nurole, Susie and her team will be pleased to hear from BCKR members. Please email them enquiries@nurole.com to find out more.



Malcolm Sparkes and Cyber-Security: “it is the business of the board to manage risk”

This week we were very fortunate to welcome Malcolm Sparkes and his colleague Dr Susanna Berry from security consultancy firm Blacksmiths, to discuss how the Non-Executive Director can be best placed to help minimise risk and ensure their firm is secure.

Given the increasing number of cyber-attacks on firms large and small, the webinar is worth watching. We consider subjects ranging from security within large institutions to whether there is risk working from home on your own laptop! Malcolm also let us have a list of the top 10 security questions non-executive directors may like to raise, as during the webinar he reminded us that ‘it is the business of the board to manage risk’.


Webinar with Nigel Boardman: taking on external roles ‘makes you a better advisor’

BCKR welcomed portfolio lawyer Nigel Boardman to talk us through his journey from partner at Slaughter & May to where he is now, holding an interesting and diverse portfolio of non-executive roles.

If you are starting to consider taking on roles, it’s worth listening to what Nigel has to say about lawyers sitting on boards and just how much taking on roles can benefit your clients, benefit your employer, and ultimately, you. As Nigel himself says, taking on roles “adds humanity to your life and work… anyone who’s qualified as a lawyer has a lot to offer.”


Webinar with John Schonert: Headhunting is not a dark art! A different approach to finding the right NED

We were delighted to welcome John Schonert from executive search firm Williams Schone this week. He put BCKR director, Elizabeth Holden, on one of her boards, so is ideally placed to guide our members when looking for their first portfolio role. We hope you will find John’s approach to placing Non-Executive Directors both engaging and refreshing.

If you wish to take up John’s offer of an initial discussion please let us know here and we’ll put you in touch.



Webinar with Nick Alcock from G3: The World Post Covid

We recently welcomed Nick Alcock, former investment banker and intelligence officer, now CEO of the G3, one of the leading international business intelligence firms advising a range of companies, investors and law firms on issues across the business world.

Click the video link below to hear Nick’s take on how the world may look in the future.





Webinar with Nick Aitchison: One-to-One guidance during the Pandemic

BCKR’s Nick Aitchison talked us through the tailored service we are offering during the pandemic and beyond. Elizabeth Holden, Guy Beringer and Tim Clark gave us their useful insight too in how they were able to go about securing their their first NED roles. Click the on the webinar below to find out more.




Martin Jones: The Parole Board and Lawyers make a perfect fit

BCKR recently welcomed Martin Jones to host a Breakfast Event. Martin has been Chief Executive of The Parole Board for nearly five years and has worked in the justice system for 27 years. His current role has been  the most challenging and also the most rewarding. Members can access the presentation Martin gave here.


What does the Parole Board do?

It is similar to a court – a body that, independent of the Government, makes decisions regarding  whether to order the release of prisoners; it also conditions under which such a release should be made.

There are around 270 members of the Parole Board, making these decisions. Last year the Parole Board released 3,600 people but also decided a further 10,000 needed to remain in prison for the protection of the public. The Board has a 99% success rate; success is defined as the number of people released who go on to commit a serious offence thereafter ( they don’t, for example,  count someone who has spent 30 years in prison, who is then released but is caught shoplifting. Their sole focus in law is the risk to public.

Looking back to when the Parole Board was created in 1967, it had just 17 members and was purely an advisory body – advising the Home Secretary who made the final decision. Leaving the final release decision to politicians, who might be influenced by other factors than solely risk, was not ideal. That is why the Home Secretary’s powers over release have been gradually taken away and now the decisions rest solely within the justice system.

Fifty years ago, there were no parole hearings at all and decisions were made based on a paper-based review. About 25 years ago the courts decided that in the interest of fairness, the prisoners should be entitled to a court hearing to decide their suitability for release. The number of hearings this year is at an all-time high – 8400 hearings, a 590% increase to 15 years ago.


Why does the Parole Board matter?

These are independent decisions based on risk and on evidence.  The Board considers  the evidence and makes the decision based on fairness and the evidence; decisions are not influenced by whether or not someone is going to like/dislike the decision.

It is also about ensuring that we only lawfully keep in prison those that pose significant risk to the public. If necessary, that means some will be in prison for the rest of their lives, and the Board doesn’t  shirk from that. But it is also about providing hope for those who reform and change, and who can show there is a low risk of reoffending.

Ultimately it is about understanding and reducing risk, as well as managing  risk when someone is released back into their community. That is where licensing can be very powerful.  At any one time there are about 1000 people currently on license in the community – with tags on their ankles to track their location.  This acts as a deterrent, but also is a reassurance to victims.  Exclusion zones can be set and there can also be residence and other conditions, setting limits around where they can live, who they can’t  contact i.e. victims or people you originally committed the offence with.


What the Parole Board does

Last year 64,000 people were released from prison. Of these, under 3,000 were released by the Parole Board.  95% are automatically released by virtue of the law with only the more serious offenders being referred to the parole board.  Contrary to popular belief, the Parole Board are not there just to’ let people out’…. the parole system provides a lawful way of keeping people in prison if they are considered to be a continued risk to the public.


Who joins the Parole Board?

As a public body it is important that it reflects the community it serves – diversity is ever more important.  However, the types of people that generally sit on the boards are from the following backgrounds:

  • Judges or magistrates
  • People from a legal background
  • Psychologists and Psychiatrists
  • Justice system background
  • Probation experience or
  • Retired prison governors

There is usually a panel of 3 people, sitting in the prison, with the prisoner on the other side of the table, hearing from the probation officers, prison staff, psychologists and others about what has happened to that prisoner since they’ve been in prison.  Getting an understanding of the way their risk has changed and what their behaviour is like since being in custody.

One major issue is keeping up with the case load. When Martin arrived at the Parole Board in 2015 there was typically a 15 months wait for a hearing, so many of these prisoners would be considered safe to be released but were  being kept in prison merely because of the inability of the system to cope. – and as a result the Parole Board was paying out about £1million per year in prisoner compensation claims.

Increasing transparency has been a major issue since 2018.  Until the law was changed in 2018, a victim could be refused release  without any explanation as to why.  The law then changed to allow the Parole Board to provide summaries of the decision-making process to the victims. The prisoner also gets a separate report detailing why a decision has been made. If it is felt that the decision is unfair the new system allows for the decision to be reconsidered. So far there have been 130 applications and 17 have those have been successful.  In the majority of cases it is the prisoner asking for reconsideration – not the victims.  All these decisions are now being published.


Victims – What are they entitled to?

  • Updates on prisoners progress in custody
  • Can summit a victim personal statement about the impact the offence has had on their life and can read it at the parole hearing if they wish.  Very important that the board is not influenced at all by representations made by the victims.  The decision is made based on the evidence.
  • To be made aware of license decisions, where the prisoner will reside
  • They can write to the Secretary of State for reconsideration
  • Notification of a prisoner’s release

The healing process of the victim is very difficult, and the  Parole Board is sensitive to that.  They do take into account non-contact and inclusion zones.  They have been working with the charity Why Me about the value of restorative justice.  Sometimes this kind of intervention can be the thing that triggers a prisoner to reform.

The Board also deals with about 20-30 terrorism cases each year. For these cases there are is a small group of members cleared at the high security levels to deal with those cases including those high in the judiciary.  There is specialised training to members regarding the specific aspects of risk which are rather different for radicalised prisoners .  Psychological evidence becomes much more important and you need to ask a different set of questions around that.




What insights does it give you into the prison system generally?

Prison conditions are very difficult at times. The levels of prison staffing has directly impacted on the levels of violence in prisons.  Being in prison is also damaging to your health.


What is the criteria for risk?

There is a statutory risk test.  They have to be satisfied that the prisoner is no longer going to be a risk to the public.  You have to go with weighted evidence.  Closer to the civil burden than the reasonable doubt.


What is the process and timescale?

A case will be referred to the Parole Board automatically by the Secretary of State for Justice when the minimum term expires, and the prisoner becomes eligible for parole.  He will disclose a body of papers including all relevant reports to a single member of the board who will do a triage assessment of the case.  They are essentially looking for 3 things:

  1. Is it possible to release the prisoner based on the papers?  That’s quite unusual.
  2. Have you got all the information you need – are there any gaps?
  3. Do you turn down the prisoner based on the papers?  For example did they assault a prisoner officer three  weeks ago … thereby rendering  a parole hearing pointless?

Once the Members are satisfied  they have enough background, the case can be directed to a parole hearing.  Normally it takes about six months from initial referral to the oral hearing.

After the hearing the Chairman will write a report and 14 days later a decision will be given.

There will be anywhere between 1 and 3 members sitting on a panel, depending on the seriousness of the case.


What makes a good member?

It is essentially  the ability to assess information (which can be up to 1000 pages of evidence) and taking on board that evidence to conduct an effective independent assessment and being quite laser-like to reach the  ten or so questions that need to be asked to make a sound decision. Ultimately we need people who can make decisions.  In the past criminal justice experience was generally required but that is not the case anymore.  A lot of the panel chairs are senior people from varied backgrounds –including numerous  Lawyers– who have the ability to assimilate the evidence and have a commitment to fairness, putting aside any personal prejudices (for instance, regarding sex offenders – indeed about 40% of the work relates to sex offenders).


Do you fit members to the attributes of a particular case?

  • Yes – if there are mental health issues they would look to appoint a psychologist to the review. Typically a psychiatrist would be deployed in terrorism cases, etc.
  • In some instances the complexity of the case might require having a judge or lawyer to be on the panel.


What is the selection process?

It is quite a popular job.  The Board recently had 1200 applications for 100 jobs. There are regular 12 week rolling recruitment campaigns.  You can write to the Parole Board and express an interest so that when the next competition opens you can ‘throw your hat into the ring’.

Candidates, via their CVs, need to be able to demonstrate, against a set of examples, that they have gained the requisite set of skills.

The CVs are sifted and then the process goes straight to interview.  During the last process, they conducted about 150 interviews and there was a 70% success rate in securing  the required number of appointments.  The time commitment is about 100 days per year.  Members are paid on a daily rate and can earn around £40,000-£50,000 p.a.

A residential training course and process is provided, which includes:

  • Legal training
  • The identification of a mentor
  • Training on effective questioning – for example how do you question vulnerable prisoners who  feel unable to speak for themselves?
  • Sitting as a co-panellist
  • After 3 months experience, sitting  on your own.  Then after a year it is possible to progress to becoming  a panel Chair.


Is there a postcode lottery with regards to availability of services in the community upon release?

Ultimately the burden falls to the local authority. The Parole Board’s role is solely to make a decision based on risk, which is not based on the availability of services.


Is there an appraisal process?

Yes, members are subject to appraisal.  This covers the decisions made, it entails practical observations, reviews any complaints made etc.


Sir Mike Rake: having a legal mind on the board can mean the right questions are asked

We recently welcomed Sir Mike Rake to come and share with us his experience of heading boards and the positive role lawyers can play on them.

Mike Rake has very wide Board and leadership experience, as the former head of KPMG and since as a Chairman and NED of many organisations, including public companies (including BT plc) in the UK and US, the NHS (Gt Ormond Street Hospital), the CBI etc.

Mike sees the key challenges for boards as follows: constructively addressing the key issues facing the organisation;  defining and adhering to the organisation’s culture and values; understanding and mentoring  the key senior executives;  succession planning; and ensuring good governance and compliance.

It is vital for the Board to stand back and look at the bigger picture.  A clear strategic framework is important, not least as there are CEOs who are strategic but not operational and those who are operationally strong but can’t see the big picture.  Meanwhile, Boards must know enough about what is coming through on the operational point of view.

The role of the board is one of huge responsibility but also very interesting and challenging. Ultimately, it is all about people. For example, sometimes boards have to work with a strong, aggressively confident  CEO with little or no financial background who may be trying to push things forward; in such situations, the Board must be alert. Board members must bring a complex balance of professional experience, constructive challenge, advice and encouragement. Obviously, integrity of reporting is essential. Boards must also have close constructive dialogue with their auditors, and the role of the big accounting firm is very important.

The role of the Chair is to ensure there is a balance of tone and constant, constructive challenge. The UK’s board system is generally a good one compared to the US system, where the combination of CEO and Chair roles can be problematic and lacking in challenge.

The composition of the board is important, bringing different perspectives but with the ability to work constructively together. Too big a board is as bad as no board – and the same goes for the information provided to the board –  i.e. too much data flowing is as bad as no information! It really is unreasonable to expect a non-exec to understand an enormous level of detail when, realistically they maybe only involved (in the NFP sector particularly) with an organisation 4 – 6 times a year.

It is important that the board is diverse in terms of age, gender, social and educational background and professional and international experience, in order to achieve the board’s objectives.  The UK has made a start in the right direction, for example with the 30% Club but headhunters can be a big problem here. They tend to introduce Chairs to people they already know of, to make you feel comfortable. Boards would be improved by widening the net and board diversity has the capacity to have a real impact on success. With a smaller board you do need to work quite hard to find the right people, who can bring the experience and skills you need.

The NEDs’ role is often to ‘ask the stupid question’  –  incidentally there is no such thing as a stupid question! The Chair needs to create the right environment where that is acceptable. The UK approach to boards has been effective, particularly with more private sessions with the Chair outside the boardroom.  It allows the Chair to get feedback and often to become aware of what is going on behind the scenes.

Compared to the accountants, who often successfully move from accountancy to business roles, lawyers tend not to do as well in making a similar transition. Often, doubts exist about lawyers’ financial literacy.  HR directors can also find it difficult to get onto boards for similar reasons. Lawyers are seen more as ‘compliance officers’ and so, unfortunately, lawyers on boards are not common nor are they much in demand. Is it because the legal profession is not seen as being commercial enough, too specialised?

How do you go about building a profile outside the legal profession? The Not for Profit world is more fertile ground for lawyers.  Ironically, though many Chairs think they don’t need a lawyer on their boards because they already have in-house advice, or they can buy it in – many of the biggest mistakes have been by my in-house legal departments not reporting issues to the top management. And if there was a senior legal person on the board then the right questions might be asked.


Q & A

At what point does a Chair’s opinion ‘enter the room’?  

You have to be disciplined. In large organisations, the Chair tends to be there frequently, and so gets more in-depth exposure to the major issues of the organisation.  But NEDs won’t have access to the same degree of information. You need to manage by example.  These are complex issues and not everyone has the same level of understanding.

In Board discussions, for the Chair it is a question of drawing out the pros and cons during the discussion, and though it can be tempting to push to a conclusion, it is important to encourage those NEDs who may not feel they have much to say on the topic in question to give their views. And many non-executives will add value outside the board room, given the opportunity.


If head hunters are prone to putting forward well-known, conventional candidates as NEDs, how does one get through the impenetrable headhunter wall? 

Ideally, Chairs need to get together as a group and lobby the head hunters to broaden the backgrounds of their network of people.


Miranda Leung: Former lawyer with a portfolio of satisfying roles

We recently welcomed Portfolio Lawyer, Miranda Leung, to BCKR.

Miranda left Slaughter and May three years ago after 26 years with the firm.  She had spent four years in Hong Kong in that time but the rest in London as a finance lawyer.

Miranda decided to leave Slaughters when her mother became unwell and she returned to Hong Kong to be closer to her family.  She had no other plans.  She just knew she didn’t want to do part time law and ultimately wanted to remain in London.  She did have an interest in interior design and signed up for a course in London but as it turned out, she soon realised that she didn’t have the patience to deal with interior design clients and learning all the relevant software programmes etc, so decided to keep this interest as a hobby.

Her portfolio career developed by chance.   Her first trustee role with China Literature Ltd (a subsidiary of Tencent whom she used to act for) came about when the Chair, who she also knew through a transaction, heard she was retiring invited her to a drink and the process went on from there.  China Literature only started up 7 years ago but is now the largest e-book seller with a revenue of $11 billion, with 11 million books, accounting for 84% of the best-selling literature in China.  Miranda sits on their Audit and Risk and RemCo Committees.  Her main role is as an Independent Non-Executive Director.  The Independents’ role is to police transactions between the parent company and the listed company and frame policies and procedures that allow day to day transactions to take place according to known terms.  As a lawyer, she was probably better placed to think about the details than many and she probably goes about it with rather more rigour than some. The role has allowed her to understand better the ins and outs of running a business in China and has given her a lot of board experience on the regulatory side.

Miranda then got a role in London with the Commodities Trading Company, an investment arm of China Construction Bank, a large trader on the London Metal Exchange.   They were specifically looking for a lawyer to be a member of their board as it is a joint venture and following the r=governance rules matters.  She was chosen because of her experience as a Financial Services lawyer and it probably helped that she also speaks pretty good Mandarin.    CTC offers a very different role from her e-publishing one, as they were in the early stages of building their clientele, along with all their financially regulated systems.  They needed policies and procedures to be designed for board and regulator approval.  This role gave Miranda good hand on exposure to boards within the London financial services arena.  It requires her to have an understanding of the management team’s frustrations in having to deal with GDPR, the FRA, PRA etc.  They all come to life in this business.

These roles illustrate quite how much lawyers need to understand within a business to be good non-execs – how to get operational systems right, and how to evidence proper controls and checks across all departments of the business on a day to day basis.  Being in tune as to how changes in personnel can affect the business is also critical, as well as how they have to integrate group policies dictated from China that may not fit squarely with the business at all.

Miranda’s third role is with the Cambodian children’s charity Starfish.  Although the economic situation in Cambodia is improving, 40% still earn less than $2 a day.  The charity picks up kids from the slums who have no education.

  • They run catch-up programmes until state school will take them.
  • They provide them with extra curricula lessons to help them get better jobs, including English lessons, IT skills and soft skills as most of these children have no adults who have ever had a job to help them.
  • They also help with vocational training.
  • They also operate a large football outreach programme, involving about 3500 kids receiving weekly coaching, 40% of whom are girls

The role came about knowing someone on the board.  Miranda felt that the organisation was small enough to feel like a family but had a board with trustees with lots of different skills. Having teamed up with a large Hong Kong school – they are large enough to be able to make a real difference.

So, in conclusion, each role is satisfying in different ways.

Her Linked-In profile has been important in making connections.  A new role with Aviva has emerged this way on their With Profits committee.  Previous clients are a good source and people who know you in different industries.

Tim Ingram: Lawyers can be the very best Non-Executives

Contrary to what Chairs may think, people who have been lawyers are very well suited to being non-executives.

Tim was a banker for many years, then ran an investment company, but he’s also been on the board of 15 listed companies over the last 30 years, as an exec, non-exec, chairman and SID.  The very best non-exec he’s ever observed was a lawyer, from Linklaters, Charles Allen-Jones.

It is important for potential non-executives to understand what a board does.  To be clear they don’t originate strategy or run the company.  This is management’s role.  Big decisions always come from management.  Boards have to approve them, and it is extremely unusual for a board to reject them, and if they do, it is normally the route to the exit door for the executive.  This is not because boards have no real role.  Instead it is because plenty of discussions will have been held on a particular topic inside and outside the boardroom before important decisions are finally taken.  So, it is not problematic when a board simply agrees a proposal or modifies it only very slightly.

Non-execs are there to keep company and management out of trouble.  They oversee it and make sure it doesn’t do the wrong things.

When boards are being composed, generally you need one director with suitable finance experience and someone else with deep industry experience in the same area as the company.  But there is room for more industry experience than this.  It is important that non-execs can act constructively and cohesively.  No one wants to encourage dysfunction.

The role of the chairman is to work very closely with the CEO so that the chair is sufficiently briefed about any major decisions that have to be taken and is confident that the other non-execs will approve the CEO’s proposals.  If a decision were to be turned down at the board, then that would also be seen as the chair’s failure.

If you don’t like the idea of being a NED then don’t do it.  But if you do like the idea then you should absolutely go for it as Tim reiterated that he thinks lawyers make very good NEDs for the following reasons (Tim’s 7 points):

  1. Every legal firm is a capitalist business – not a political or government entity. You understand what business is about and operate daily in the commercial world.
  2. How a board works is through constructive challenge of management in a non-confrontational way. That’s exactly how you challenge and advise your clients.  It is in lawyers’ DNA.

One example – a major FTSE 250 company with 2 new non-execs.  One lawyer and one former CEO.  The CEO could not adapt to the constructive, rather than dictatorial, style of the board.  The lawyer succeeded Tim Ingram as SID as she was really good. Keeping management on the straight and narrow is an art, and she knew how to do it.

  1. Lawyers are there to see the company avoids mistakes. Lawyers spend their time clearing up mistakes and organising things to avoid mistakes.  People from an executive world do not see their job as avoiding mistakes, but rather as making things happen.  Very different.
  2. Board papers. They can run to 1000 pages.  A lawyer can grasp key points quickly.  Management often don’t have this skill.  Often a non-exec has to rely on management telling him what’s important but useful.
  3. Industry knowledge. The chair will want sector knowledge and many lawyers have a legal specialism with detailed knowledge of the company’s arena.  Though legal knowledge itself isn’t so often useful, there are times when it is.  For instance, at UK Wind,  Tim frequently does new share issues.  It is not unhelpful to have a lawyer on the board who can assure the others that what the bankers etc are offering is ‘quite normal’ and ‘okay’.
  4. Corporate governance is increasingly important. It’s all about keeping companies out of trouble. It’s second nature to someone with a legal background.  It’s much harder to grasp for other first time non-execs.
  5. If you follow a NED career you might be on several boards in completely different arenas.  It can be quite strange for someone who’s only ever worked in one area, but this doesn’t faze a lawyer who most likely will have dealt with lots of different businesses at the same time in their day job.

Diversity in the board room can be aided by having a lawyer there, a legal mind and background.  Diversity is much more than gender.


How do non-execs get appointed?


Not simply by knowing people anymore.  When a new non-exec is being recruited [for a listed company] it MUST be done through a headhunter.  You need to proactively go to headhunters – don’t be reticent – they need the raw material and they don’t generally go on desktop research, just from their own lists.  Get on those lists.  The chair gives the headhunter a list of the type of things he/she wants.  The headhunter produces a longlist, which may include a lawyer, and will then chat through each potential candidate with the chair and what they can bring to the role.  So, if you can get the “Tim’s 7 points” across to the headhunter when you meet them, the headhunter is more able to relay to those competencies to the chair.  You need to keep going back to the headhunters and repeating that process.  That’s the same for every individual, not just lawyers.  You have to put yourself in the headhunter’s mind.

The younger a headhunter, the more likely they are to be more worldly and able to see the lawyer’s strengths.  It helps if you can get an introduction.

The longlist has to be people that the headhunter believes will want to be put forward – so if they don’t know you are currently looking they won’t put you on a longlist.

As a charity non-exec, remember that the people you are overseeing have very different motivations from the people you see on the corporate side.  E.g. a charity CEO has been known to ask for a salary cut.  But apart from that, there are remarkably few differences in the way they operate.  The 7 features are equally applicable.  They still need your expertise and they still need a strategy.  A charity is a form of business,  it can’t go on making deficits if it is to serve its purpose.  There has to be a certain commerciality to how it is run, which may be lost on former civil servants or politicians.

The average life of a former CE on a board can be short.  Lawyers are rarely tapped on the shoulder, once on the board.


The CV

It is important to get Tim’s 7 points across.  You need to underplay and hardly mention the pure legal experience – it’s hardly worth anything.  It’s the ability to get the point across in a constructive manner that will count.

It is important as a chairman to have SOMEONE on the board who scan reads all the 1000 pages of the board papers.  It is a useful skill.  Especially for regulated businesses.

One success of Tim’s was getting the PRA to change their views on whether all non-execs should have satisfactory knowledge of the banking and financial environment – he pointed out the need for diverse views to avoid group think.

An audit chair is unlikely to be a lawyer.  A specific need for business experience is unlikely to be met by a lawyer.  The downside could be that lawyers don’t understand the business at all – services businesses are easier for lawyers than e.g. a car business.  But you can overcome this by your own experiences.

Chair of Rem Com – lawyers well suited to that role.  The key role of that committee is to ensure there is fair division of spoils between owners and management, with lots of advice from Rem consultants.  Quite a lot results in changes to the employment contracts.  Chair of Rem has to do that work.  There is now a lot more scrutiny of executive pay in the charity sector too.

The SID has one duty.  To make sure the relationship between the chairman and chief executive works well.  If another non-exec has a concern, then they should have a word with the SID to raise the issue.

If you do decide to pursue a NED career,  don’t expect it to happen straightway.  Keep at it.  Every six months or so, do the rounds of headhunters again.  Keep yourself in their minds.  Educate them on everything lawyers can bring to a board which business executives cannot.


Moni Mannings: Portfolio Life During and After Law – a BCKR Success Story

Moni sees her career has having two halves.  The first half being a traditional legal career, starting in the banking department at Clifford Chance, followed by 6 years as a partner at Simmonds and Simmonds and then to Dewy Ballantine where she was their first UK partner hire.  In 2000 she left to set up the banking department of Olswang and within a year was asked to head up their main corporate department, which delivered half the firm’s revenue and came with a seat on the board.  The financial crisis followed swiftly thereafter, and she had to restructure her department which meant a 15% cost reduction i.e. people.  Over the next 13 years of her management career, as a law firm board member, she was part of a team that implemented 3 changes of CEO, 4 acquisitions and 2 further rounds of redundancy.  It was all about running things and being involved in a business.

Finally, in 2016, after 30 years Moni decided to leave law altogether.  She was lucky to be invited to become COO of Aistemos, a data analytics start-up for which she had zero experience.  She stayed there for two year and then launched fully into the second half of her career in the non-executive arena.

The transition

The transition came about with a lot networking. A bit of luck too, and a bit of planning, but mostly networking!  The most important decision Moni made was to start her plural non-exec life while still at Olswang.  It genuinely benefits both the firm and the individual.

In 2011 she took on two not for profit roles, one as a non-exec at the SRA and one as a trustee on a small charity board.  The SRA role was particularly helpful going forward, since the SRA and her committee had a strong executive team so she had to learn to be non-executive.  After that, she could demonstrate that she had non-executive experience when it came to her board CV.  Smaller charities, with no executives, do not offer that evidence.

In 2014 Moni took on her first commercial non-exec role with Polypipe at time of its IPO and was asked to chair the RemCo, having no experience of industry or Rem.


How Moni built her portfolio in those 3 years

  • Motivation: she spent time thinking about why she wanted this new career and for Moni, after 30 years as a lawyer, she just wanted to work differently, to get closer to business, not further away. Think hard as you will be asked, and you need to be able to answer with authenticity.  How you come across matters so spend time working it out.  She was still a partner at Olswang, and she believes that worked in her favour as there tends to be bias/prejudice against you if you are not in role.
  • Networking: she joined a number of different networks; they will not necessarily give you a job, but they do expand your circle of contacts. Reach out further; FT NED Club; Winmark, WoB and the Professional Boards Forum; and genuinely and relentlessly follow up every contact and opportunity.  Ask for advice and when you do so, often comes an opportunity. People are open with their time and it is important to let them know who you are, what you’re good at, and that you are looking and available; the process works such that headhunters etc regularly contact people they’ve met for recommendations of who to approach for roles.  This keeps you live with the headhunters.
  • Getting help writing her board CV: it is very different from writing an executive CV. Moni attended a Board CV masterclass from WoB (BCKR also runs CV workshops). The value is that it teaches you the whole way of viewing your executive career using language that resonates with boards.  It is not just the bit of paper at the end.  You need to look at your career through the NED lens  (e.g. partnership promotion panel = nominations committee; in-role impact = oversaw 3 CEO changes).   (Moni has provided her original CV template which BCKR can forward on request.)
  • Headhunters: it is really important that they know who you are, which is easier said than done. The best way is to be introduced by one of their clients.  But be aware – they are not career advisers.  Treat any ‘chat’ as a pre-interview – so prepare well and be able to answer the following questions:
    • Why do you want to be a NED?
    • What did you deliver?
    • What were the challenges you were asked to deliver on?
    • Why do you think you’d be a good non-exec?

You have to do all of the above consistently – always keeping your network warm.  It is very hard to get airtime with the headhunters.  You need to feed them with nuggets they can use to sell you.  Think about how you present yourself – in the same way you think about a pitch for business.


What do boards and chairs look for in NEDs (apart from sector experience)?

Commercial acumen; financial literacy; being able to articulate thoughts in business language; an ability to view things through a wider lens.

Lawyers thrive on complexity and ambiguity; they have a knowledge and understanding of risk; they have the personality trait of courage to challenge constructively; they have intellectual flexibility to think laterally beyond their own expertise.  It is your broader business experience that will help you thrive.  Articulating your understanding/experience of dramatic changes in market conditions; internal changes; your responsibility for P&L etc can be useful in speaking the language of the board room.

Unfortunately, headhunters want to put people in boxes.  You have to give them a box to put you in, but then be broader than that in what you show them you can offer.  Boards do not like single skills.

But things are improving. There are not enough people in the board room who think like lawyers, absorbing complexity and finding a route through it.


How did you get your first roles?

SRA: Moni was approached by a headhunter and on this occasion, she was ready to say yes.

Polypipe: She had joined the Professional Boards Forum and had followed up with various coffess with those she met.  This meant she had been chatting to one of the chairs.  She went on a long list as a result this conversation – a year later.  A headhunter phoned her to enquire about the role and Moni later learned that that chair, Alan Thompson, had asked for her to go on the list.  Despite having no experience at all she got the role.  Alan, by now Chair of Polypipe, later said that he wanted someone unfamiliar and smart who knew the rules and would be good for their RemCom.  He already had plenty of people who knew the business.

It was easier to get the next role once she had Polypipe.  Moni had been telling people she was looking for a charity role in children, social care, social mobility and that is when the role at Barnardo’s came along.  There was much more complexity in this institution than in Polypipe, a £350 million charity with 8,000 staff and 22,000 volunteers.  Despite it being a volunteer role, Moni sees this as akin to a corporate non-executive role in terms of responsibility, challenge and fulfilment.

Other roles have come about through assiduous contact with headhunters – continuously updating them on changes in her career.

Cranfield: Her role here came through BCKR! BCKR’s first direct approach for a non-exec role.  It is an unusual university which has helped in other roles – being able to talk about relationships with other industries.


How do you characterise the bias against lawyers?

The stereotype is that lawyers are uncommercial; essentially narrow; pedantic; can be hired by the hour so not needed.  This part is changing with the focus now on diversity which includes backgrounds and mindset so there’s more opportunity to push the ‘think differently’ concept as part of the diversity debate.


Are not for profit roles important in the non-exec journey?

Yes, especially when there is an executive team, so you are learning the non-executive way – ‘nose is in, fingers out’ .  People are buying you as a non-executive person. They want to know what you are interested in, why type of person you are.  All roles you take on demonstrate this.


Is there value on the FT Non-exec course?

It shows commitment to the path you want to take and may fill in knowledge gaps.  Moni has not done the course, but nonetheless sought to fill-in the gaps in the areas she felt she lacked knowledge by other means, e.g. the PWC course on Accounting principles for non-execs.  Doing the FT course doesn’t in itself help you achieve the role, but may be good for your confidence.


How do you respond to headhunter’s sigh as you tell them you are a lawyer? 

Inhabit your own board CV so you can defend your approach to the non-exec world; the emphasis needs to be within yourself; review what you’ve done through a different lens.  Do not lead with your legal attributes.


Did you have a coach?

Not one person, but she genuinely sought advice and still asks for outside input for many.


How did you get the role with the data analytics company?

An ex colleague and former partner said “Come and join me”, and she was leaving the law anyway. Moni said yes in part out of insecurity and because of seeing it as the furthest thing from being a lawyer.  It turns out that being COO is doing everything that the CEO and CFO don’t want to do.  You fail all the time and take regular decisions on what’s ‘good enough’.  It certainly  gets rid of the idea that you have to have the absolutely right answer.  Those two years were much more valuable than doing any of the courses.  She left because she got the Barnardo’s role.


Now that you are looking to refresh your board roles – what matters to you? 

The people who are on the board, culture and values; keeping her portfolio broad.  It is important now that there is a career path in what she is doing so opportunities to be SID or chairing a committee will play a part in her choices.  Women predominantly get their chairs from within, so she’s aware of that.  Social purpose matters more now than it did before; will she make a valuable contribution to society?



Richard Meddings: Network, broaden your business knowledge and get up to speed on issues facing businesses today

We recently welcomed hugely experienced Chairman Richard Meddings to BCKR.


Board dynamics

Richard began by stressing that anyone hoping to join a board (particularly in the commercial sector) should realise the amount of the work that’s done outside the boardroom. One of Richard’s early boardroom mistakes was to underestimate the importance of the informal interaction, both between the board members themselves and also between the executive team and members of the board. It is easy to assume that you just turn up for the meetings, when actually it is an area of significant communication and ‘social dynamic’.


How are boards built?

As a Chair, you obviously have to tick certain boxes when appointing NEDs, such as appointing the chairs of Audit, Remuneration and (particularly in Financial Services) Risk. And you need to have some back-up in place, do some succession planning. In addition to the formal board committees, some boards now have new sub-committees, for example for Strategy and for Tech.  Tech is fast becoming a new type of board sub-committee; however the challenge is that the current available experience and focus tends to be on Cyber risk – but the board’s focus on technical issues needs to be broader than that. The Senior Independent Director (SID) is also a very important role, a form ‘consiglieri’ or trusted adviser to the Chair and other board members.

For lawyers, this is a difficult area to break into, as the Chair generally feels that legal advice can be bought in as and when needed and that the CEO has his/her General Counsel anyway. So, to overcome that hurdle you need to demonstrate different, broader skills. Boards are not composed of people because of their specific executive skills, they need to be able to advise the business as a whole. So when making your case, DON’T lead with your Legal experience!

And remember that an effective Chair is always looking at the dynamics of the board and is in constant contact with the board-level head hunters, so, looking ahead, make yourself known to the head hunters.


Do you really want to do this?

The regulatory pressures are very demanding these days, particularly in Financial Services. Being on a FS board can be a very intense regime; you have to expect difficult days ahead.  Financial Services is a highly complex area and produces large quantities of very detailed reports; boards are expected by the Regulator to understand the micro detail.

So why would you do it?  After all you don’t get paid very much.

One of the main reasons that people are motivated to join a board is a wish to remain ‘relevant’ after completing an executive career which will have had momentum and intellectual stimulation. Being able to continue to learn new things is also a very important motivation.

In many ways, being on the boards of smaller companies is more interesting and is often an easier place for NEDs to contribute in terms of actually running a business, rather than focusing more on regulatory and compliance issues.

Richard feels he was lucky in that his first external board role was at 3i plc, at a time when he was Finance Director at Standard Chartered plc.  The bank felt it was very important for their main board executives to get non-executive experience, partly in order to gain an understanding of what it is like for the NEDs ‘on the other side of the table’ and 3i provided that very well.

You learn pretty quickly that there is limited opportunity in the boardroom for asking questions.  You might have the chance to make around six comments during a meeting. What is important is that the NEDs don’t try to use the board meeting to ‘to crowd’ the executives on the board. NEDs should bring a current general commercial perspective, not just rely on their particular past functional executive experience.


Networking and visibility

Your first board appointment gets you into the general NEDs network. Head hunters host frequent lunches and receptions for board members. The earlier you start the better; cultivate senior external contacts and learn from them. This is just as important if you are targeting non-commercial roles (Not-for Profit, Government boards etc) – by the way Government NED roles are really interesting!

For all would-be NEDs, you need to be known and seen – and you need to be able to display broad commercial knowledge and judgement. Law firms tend to lack this kind of profile so you need to think hard about how you can get into these networks.

As a profession you lag behind in the self-promotion stakes – particularly compared to Investment Bankers. They have greater success that Lawyers in getting onto boards but probably less to contribute once they are there. But they are more adept at showing they understand the dynamics of companies and sectors, which is very important.


Other points

What do you think of Not for Profit board experience when building your own boards?

They tend to be less managed but potentially provide good experience and often there are NEDs/Trustees from the commercial sector on these boards. For example Teach First has a very interesting mix of different skill sets on their board. Government boards seem open to  lawyers coming onto their boards, and the work is very interesting.


Head hunters

Go to meet head hunters (unfortunately they are very powerful and some are incredibly lazy, particularly about thinking out of the box)).  You need to stay at the top of their pile.  Don’t present yourself as a lawyer but as someone who runs an international business.

You need to provide other reference points. Provide some ‘soft referees’, people who can talk about your judgement and range of experience and how you manage people issues. Though board diversity is a big topic with the head hunters, there doesn’t seem to be much  real desire for diversity of career background.


What do you think Private Equity companies seek from their NEDs?

They are deep into the financials – NEDs have to be right up to speed. Relevant sector knowledge is important and so is an ongoing focus on the actual performance of the company..



Network….and broaden your business knowledge and be up to date on issues such as diversity, environment and climate change.

Generally, as a profession, lawyers and law firms generally really need to raise their profiles. ’Have a view’ and be able to engage on non-legal business issues  Bankers always have an issue they can talk to companies and directors about.

Your first role is important – but don’t think you have to get a role on a FTSE listed company board. You get many more interesting roles as NEDs at the smaller cap end and in non-listed companies, where you can get closer to the actual running of the business, as well as in the Not for Profit sector.

Simon Page: NEDs – Can you become a sparring partner, trusted advisor and a good listener?

After 10 years in the Foreign Office, Simon moved to Egon Zehnder to become one of the five lead consultants – private partnership, lockstep, to allow them to cover a very broad range of work at the firm, and in the board practice.  Works across PLC type non-execs, government related roles and charities.

What types of roles are out there?

The broad landscape falls into 3 sectors:

  • Private sector: FTSE, 250, 350, AIM etc, private companies and start-ups, and private equity boards (a consumer of decent talent in the private sector board space)
  • Public sector:
    • central government departments (not the same as plc boards, as for many years NEDs historically felt like spare parts – but were more recently revamped by Lord Brown of BP who was appointed to be head NED at the Cabinet Office to increase their profile. This has made a huge difference to the use and effectiveness of government NEDs and greatly increased interest in the roles.
    • Non-departmental public bodies – there is a huge range. Managed in the same way as public appointments.
    • NHS operates separately from central government, but on broadly similar rules to public sector
  • Third sector: Charities, think tanks, academic works (schools to universities), housing associations

How appointments are made in practice

Private sector: FTSE 100 appointments used to be friends of the chair – but there has been a sea-change in last 15 years.  Now, 80% of major appointments ‘go through’ the headhunter process, at least to some extent.  Further down the FTSE it’s more likely to be through word of mouth and personal connection though Harvey Nash does an awful lot of smaller listed companies.  They have in common that they are rarely advertised in the media.

Public sector:  MUST be advertised to maintain the perception of fairness, and increasing diversity.  That’s the official government line.  The Public Appointments website is well run and lists all roles available at any one time.

Third sector: will often advertise via The Guardian online or on their own website.  There is partial transparency in the process but these roles are rarely advertised in paper.

Process is then the same for all, with the nominations committee narrowing down to four or five candidates for interviews and then one or two, who will meet the chief executive.

The nature of the involvement of CEO is interesting.  They should not have the final say as it is not meant to be their appointment, but as a chair has to work together with the CEO, when appointing a Chair, candidates will often meet the CEO and the CEO can be very influential.  In charities it is even more important to be independent.  The process often finishes with a confirmatory meeting with a larger group of executives and non-execs to allow candidates to meet broader base of the board.

There is an increasing tendency for appointments to be made by panel interview process, which Simon disagrees with.  The behaviour of panel members becomes very formal, with lists of questions, each allocated to individual panel members, but presented to candidates as unconnected sets of questions asked by separate people.  This favours a candidate who has fluent, shallows answers to a lot of questions rather than deep answers to a few.

The typical approach of a PLC is to meet candidates individually or two on one, which works out better with more interview time, different views, an ability to follow up and compare notes afterwards which Simon believes allows a fair comparison.  But despite his urging, he doesn’t believe the government process will change.

What are they looking for?

Fundamentally NEDs are there to be a good sparring partner for the CEO and the executive team, so most of the interview should be about how the candidates will react with other board members and bring their knowledge and experience in a good way.  They are looking for members who behave like a trusted adviser, not a content expert.  More often qualitative than a skills based interview.  Listening skills are strongly sought after.

Massively and rightly, boards in all these sectors are looking for diversity.  Egon Zehnder clients and others are treating this as a fundamental aim.  The UK has made a pretty good improvement in gender balance of some boards, by coercion and encouragement, without need for quotas, but is still very strongly looking to improve diversity which places white males at a disadvantage.  In UK the focus is still mostly about gender, in the US ethnicity is now equally important but LGBT and other elements don’t get a look in.

Lawyers and board roles:

We don’t have the appointment of lawyers as the norm – unlike US and European companies.  It’s not been the practice.  Partly because of UK board’s unitary structure.  The pattern for the executives is to match the career of the executives with the non-execs – man-marking.  Some UK lawyers have moved onto UK boards very successfully.  The skills that need to be deployed are; risk, which adds a lot of value; lawyers (and bankers) make a really strong contribution on strategy; the perception of what other stakeholders will think of decisions; and their network.

Base case reduces the number of lawyers – the existing board members can understand better the career of a finance director.  Lawyers risk being seen as too narrow.

How to go about getting a role?

It is important to go through a process of self-reflection before embarking on the search for a portfolio career.

  • What is your real level of interest? Lots of board roles are admin and not particularly interesting, ‘governancy’ heavy. Think about whether it’s really something you’d enjoy.
  • What time commitment can you offer? 50 days pa for FTSE companies, more for the big banks, and generally 15 days a year for any small role and not all can be done in the evenings.

The Shrek group of headhunters (Spencer Stuart, Heidricks, Russell Reynolds, Egon Zehnder and Korn Ferry) consist of the main players in the board practice area.

For the FTSE 250 – Hanson Green and a few others

For charities – Saxton Bampfylde, Odgers and Perret Laver

Other ways to enhance you personal brand are through networking, thought pieces or speaking at conferences. All go to raising your profile.  Getting a board mentor can be useful.

Developing a portfolio takes two or three years at least, as even the processes themselves can take a long time in the public sector.  So be patient.  And remember it is much easier to get on a board than to get off one.


How does one get on Egon Zehnder’s radar when looking for a role?

The London office has 50 consultants, 8 of whom form the board practice.  They have a central group of researchers who assist.  The practice meetings work as a clearinghouse for ideas but the rigour comes from the researchers.

As a minimum, upload your CV etc onto their portal.  It is always useful to be able to meet one of the consultants directly and personal introductions work very well.

NuRole and WoB are effective in advancing the cause of diversity.  However the big firms have had to develop lists of quality senior female candidates.

The PE recruitment process:

PE does like to run it their way, with their own views.   Formal arrangements exist with people who can become their chairs of acquired companies. They are not unsophisticated in this, with a reasonably sized stable of candidates; but at the lower level they are using headhunters, as they don’t have enough candidates known to the PE houses. EBRD has its own network for potential NED candidates.

How to you prepare your CV?

Fine tuning of the wording of a CV probably won’t move the dial very much.  Key facts speak for themselves in a digestible form. Don’t bother with the introductory paragraph.  What headhunters need to see are the numbers of people you’ve managed, scale of budget, revenue etc.  It is hard for lawyers but look for ways to make some statements that give an idea of scale, types of people you influence.

You have to overcome the prejudices and negative perceptions that lawyers are too technical, detailed or challenging.  Early type board positions, which are not easy to do but fairly accessible to obtain, help humanise the candidate, such as chair of school governors, charity board experience etc.

Sandeep Katwala: Top tips from a lawyer with a varied, fulfilling portfolio

Sandeep lives the BCKR mission.  He even introduced Tim to the Water Aid board (in fact interviewed him!) when WA was so enlightened that there were 3 lawyers on their board.

Sandeep headed the EMEA practice at Linklaters but retired 4 years ago after 25 years at the firm.  He took on WaterAid while still at Linklaters, and on leaving, built his portfolio.  He now Chairs Octavia (a West London housing association) and BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees),  and the Mowgli Foundation mentoring people from the middle east and he is also a Trustee of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s’ Charity.

Sandeep started with a Law degree, intending to be a barrister but soon realised that wasn’t for him.  He instead wanted to travel internationally so joined NatWest’s international team as a banker – in six years he got as far as Leeds – but while there did an MBA, then knew he wanted to get back to law.  He became a trainee at Linklaters, qualifying into capital markets, where he spent the next 25 years. He sees his career at Linklaters in 3 buckets – the client side – doing the work; growing businesses – he built Indian and African businesses for Linklaters;  and management – he was on the Executive Committee for 5 years and looked after the EMEA region for firm.  However, most just see the first bit.  For a non-executive life, the other two bits are even more useful.  He decided to stop at 55 and prior to that, spent time working out what to do next.  He chose the not for profit sector out of a sense of wanting to put something back (to make up for taking a lot out!).    There are two types of roles in the not for profit sector,  hands on operational or governance.  He knew that the operational side wouldn’t allow him to fit in all the other things he wanted to do, so the non-executive piece was for him.

He had been introduced to WaterAid by a colleague while still at Links. Once on the WaterAid board he was quickly introduced to two other roles, which came through an introduction from WaterAid’s former chief executive, to BID and Octavia (a quasi-commercial as well as charity role), having been approached for all sorts or roles from fin tech start-ups to investing in Iran.

The impression of the charity world as woolly sweaters and sandals is not right – his experience is that the governance is very strong and often of a higher quality than his former clients.  The other common perspective is that his board members would be of poorer quality than on commercial boards.  However, Sandeep has found that, particularly in the larger organisations, the calibre of the people has been high and their systems better due to great resources.

Octavia is a West London Housing Association with a £2.5bn housing value which includes care schemes and social housing, property management and development.  They have been put through their paces by S&P for fund raising.  The role is a mix of social enterprise and commercial.  As chair he has to be careful what he says, because what he says happens.  They have recently had to deal with crisis management in relation to the Grenfell reaction.  It’s something new to apply his old skills to, with a variety that includes walkabouts where he gets to meet residents; to large scale property development; to deciding if they should be putting the rents up (at 40% of market).  There is a lot of challenge and it is broader than a more traditional charity role.

BID is a tiny law firm which provides pro bono legal advice to immigrants stuck in the legal system.


Lawyers on Boards

The larger not for profits are increasingly seeing the value of having lawyers on their boards.  You will see some posts advertised as wanting legal skills.  It is more challenging when looking for a chair role or applying for a role that doesn’t specify a need for legal expertise.  There is still a perception among executive teams that lawyers are negative; this carries over to the headhunters.  Lawyers don’t sell themselves very well.  He still sees lawyers’ CVs for board roles which are simply a deal list – use the other buckets of your experience, promote the other sides. On LinkedIn ‘retired lawyer’ is not good for the algorithms. Lawyers can help themselves by highlighting how you manage and build teams and reference your commercial side.

Developing the relationship with the headhunters can be very helpful.  The more people they have in their pool the better their long lists can look like.  Headhunters tend to call people in their pool to get recommendations for alternative candidates and this builds relationships. Word of mouth works well too.   Other resources for roles are Guardian adverts; Charity Jobs; LinkedIn; Nurole.


The Interview process:

It’s very competitive! You’d be amazed – some candidates will analyse every statement made by the company or the interviewing panel ahead of the interview.  Don’t underestimate the competition just because it is not for profit.


The Portfolio piece:

It is worth being selective and focused on what you are after.  Perhaps focus on a particular sector – but not exclusively.  Keep an open mind. Housing for instance is a £60bn sector.  Be bold.  Don’t just look at what instantly appeals.

Be clear about your purpose.  It is important to hone in on what you’re after.  Sandeep distilled it down to simply wanting to do something that makes a difference to people’s lives.


Time commitment:

People are generally respective of your diary, so you can book and go to the theatre.  But dates can be fixed 12 months+ in advance.  Roles he’s had have been challenging and varied – he’s listened to an 80 year old on the Portobello Road asking why their ceiling had not been properly repaired, been involved in the Charlie Guard situation at GoSH and appointed new chief execs.  It’s kept him alive and buzzing!

Chair vs trustee.  The role of a chair is lots more time intensive; you are more involved in strategy and there is a chance to make a real difference.  For instance, he persuaded Octavia to build 1,000 more homes as part of their strategy.



How were you first approached for the role at WaterAid?

Sandeep wanted to do something different outside the firm.  He started asking round.  Wanted something international and in development, and the advert was pointed out by the company secretary at Linklaters.  He applied and got the role.

How can you be sure you’re not being seen as a cheap source of legal advice?

The smaller charities will see you as ‘the lawyer on the board’ and you will be asked to do a bit; but generally make it clear that you are not there to give legal advice, you are there to participate fully on the board; but your legal mindset will be useful and you’d be daft not to use that skill sometimes.

Finding some sense of purpose is quite difficult.

Sandeep was once asked to think about what he’d want written on his tombstone.  What would you be proud of? You need a big idea and work off that.  Sandeep’s central theme was making a difference.  Work on the basis that you will have another career.  Plan and create the opportunities; and make a difference for people’s lives.  For instance, for the first time last year Sandeep spent 6 days volunteering at Crisis at Christmas, serving breakfast, washing dishes and meeting and talking to people from very different backgrounds.

How do you gauge the time commitment?

Work out what percentage of your time you want to be allocated to the  ‘family’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘work’ buckets.  When applying for a role double the amount of time they are asking for.

Should you worry about your liability as a board member?

You’re not held to a higher standard simply because you are a lawyer.  All directors have the same liability and the board members you will come across are generally very professional.  Do your due diligence.  Talk to ex board members.  You need to get on with the board members and you will need to trust them so it can be useful to think about how they would work in a crisis.

There’s a steep learning curve for everybody joining a board, and it’s probably about a year before you’re up and running to make a real commitment, but don’t worry about that either since it is the same for everyone.  Sandeep feels that 6 years is the maximum length of time to stay on a board.  Selfishly he enjoys the fun of learning a new area and he wants to keep doing that.  It keeps you fresh.  But also, particularly in the role of Chair, you can harm an organisation if you hang around for too long.





Anita Hoffmann: Creating your Second Career

Anita is Swedish, and a chemical engineer by training – she had to be an engineer to get into industry at all in Sweden.  But how is she now a headhunter and coach in London? She took opportunities that were offered – and planned where she wanted to go.

After 18 years in the chemical industry, she was stuck. If she was going to get on in that industry, she would be doing more of the same – but she asked herself “How good am I really? Let me change into something else and I’ll find out”.  Without the support of the company and network she’d been in for years, could she re-invent herself?

She had been in the chemical practice at Accenture just pre the Andersen’s split, she’d been in the Deloitte consulting arm for the oil industry just pre the world oil crisis – she had big ticket names and big industry moments under her belt but now she wanted suddenly to be a professional services person.

Anita took a year off – she had done how things work as an engineer, then how business works at Deloittes, but realised that she cared more about how people work.  She was talking to leading headhunter Heidrick & Struggles while looking for her next move, when they offered her partnership at their own firm – she took it, and suddenly she was a people person.  She then combined her current interests with her past experience by starting their renewable energy practice.  This was not at all popular at H&S until it started making a lot of money for them!

Anita left H&S at the end of 2010 and had a further year off through illness.  But then had to decide what to do next.  Did she need one more good company t-shirt? Decided no.  Could she do it on her own – how tricky could it be to bring in 5 searches to earn the same as doing 35 for H&S?

Since then, Anita has combined her headhunting practice, and other activities with research conducted through Cranfield on the intersection of longevity and careers.  She also works with the Institute of Business Ethics and coaches refugee academics to find work.

But to her research and new book: Purpose & Impact: How Executives are Creating Meaningful Second Careers.  This looks at a key point of change in professional careers – the mid 50s – people often don’t want to do the same thing for the next for 25/30 years, but don’t want to do nothing either.  This is universal and a huge topic.  Anita found and interviewed 92 executives from around the world, who had already changed careers successfully – 46 of these agreed to be named in the book and have their stories told.

So what’s the meaning of this human journey? She discovered it is the same everywhere around the world – pupil, householder, forest dweller (learn wisdom), then wisdom sharer.

Once there was a business with a purpose, which happened to create profit – then gradually the profit motive came to the top.  People want to go back to finding and living their purpose.  Don’t feel a failure if you don’t feel you have it right, if you don’t know your purpose – don’t feel pressured – it will come.

Can you have impact – yes, but not alone – don’t take that responsibility on by yourself – that’s too much pressure.  In the last couple of years there have been good examples where different sectors have worked together to a common goal – businesses, NGOs and governments and social enterprises.  They have come together to tackle areas such as the social economy around fast fashion – eg new areas at the intersection of all the sectors where at the outset, there are no answers and no specialists. THAT’s where you can position yourself – but they have to know you exist – and you have to keep track of what is happening out there, and who do you need to know to get in on the act.  It can take time to figure it out.

Do you need to adopt the approach in stages? The stages of a human being do come in stages, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat each stage as a different type of life – you can keep the breadth and development all the way through – job crafting!

The Start up of You – by Reid Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, and author Ben Casnocha – says that every stage of your career should be data tested regularly.  You use this data to adapt what you are doing to develop your career in the way you choose.

All her successful transitioned executives found something they were really passionate about, found a benefit from taking it on to the company they were already working for, as well as the community as well as themselves, and then went about changing their existing work-place to accommodate their passion. The real pattern to emerge from all the studies was that they nearly all started Career 2 during Career 1.

First case: Deputy CEO at Schlumberger, wanted a 5 year exit plan for himself.  In the meantime he was president of Africa at Schlumberger – he wanted to make an impact for the company, building its network and brand so he started the Schlumberger Foundation.  He was president of that Foundation, investigating problems and giving women scholarships to succeed, then became  president of sustainability and gave the women small loans – what was good for the company, was good for the community and ultimately for himself as he built his knowledge and reputation in the development arena.

Second case: Richard Gillies was high up in M&S procurement.  He ended up signing payment authorisations for thousands of pounds worth of power.  He asked himself why are we doing it this way? Why not get green electricity? He went and did some work on it, and M&S went 100% renewable energy which changed M&S first and others followed.  Richard himself had moved from procurement into sustainability.  A transformed career.  The move will always need a business case for the firm as well as for himself – and in this particular case, the change took just 5% of Richard’s time and made plenty of money for the company, great PR and changed his personal profile.

So ask yourself “What has my career today given me to prepare me for my next role?”.  Don’t think you need to jump off a cliff – it is a continuum.

Career and identity is one part.  A good financial runway is another part.  Money lasts a lot longer than you think if you prepare for it.  If you pace yourself, and practice living on a significantly smaller sum, you will have a better idea of what you need to have financially before you take a significant pay cut, if that’s what is to follow.  This gives you the confidence to take the cut in the first place, and gives you more of a cushion if things go wrong.

Working at career transformation requires:

  • Self-knowledge
  • A new network – dynamic and diverse – you can’t change things radically only talking to your existing circle
  • Openness

Networking is meeting and contacting other people who are interested in solving the same things as you are – it then becomes pleasurable and not intimidating.  All are happy to share common interests over a cup of coffee – ask for advice, it is within everybody’s gift to give – don’t ask for a job.

Don’t be shy – start with old colleagues, what’s the worst that can happen? Old colleagues, peers at university etc will be willing to act as the network starter, even if you haven’t seen them for years.

Process: ending the current role is an unknown zone.  It can be uncomfortable if you don’t know what you’re looking for but it’s a lot easier if you’ve already tried some of it while in your current job – whether as part of or alongside that job.

Anita believes there are several questions to cover in considering career change.
What are you good at?
What are you interested in?

Take time, it’s not always obvious – start to narrow it down by meeting people to help you gradually learn about what’s out there and about yourself.  Networking is an adventure which is so much fun – it’s part of giving – the people you meet will introduce you to others and it becomes much more comfortable.  Networking allows you to meet confident kind people who do genuinely want to help you.

Think too about what you really do not want to do.

Headhunters – these are not career coaches.  They are working on behalf of clients to fill roles in accordance with a spec.  Headhunters are not there to figure out what you should do next.  They can be helpful in understanding the process and explain the role but they can’t help you change career – you have to produce the evidence of that yourself.

Headhunters hire based on the last 5 years on a CV – it is all about perception of risk – the headhunters can push the boundary only so far – but that explains the tricky task of getting the first role.  In talking to the big ones, you have to know what you want, and give them three good reasons for why you should have it.  Headhunters speak to 2000 senior people a year so they forget you.  Research assistants speak to even more.  The assessment written at first meeting will go into a system and cannot be changed – it’s the start of your record.  Learning and practicing matters.

Headhunters ask themselves who do we know who can do this job – who’s in the database who can do this job.  The assessment from the database has to be recognisable as you to remind people who have met you who you are – it needs to be a human thing when they present to a client.  Your very first contact with the headhunter should say, in the preview, in the very opening of the email, the one good reason why they should talk to you.

Be kind to yourself – be open to the ideas for your own future that are bubbling away and put steps in place to follow through with them.  Start now!

Steve Williams: lists the reasons why having a lawyer on the board is an “irresistible argument to pursue”

We recently welcomed Steve Williams (ex-Slaughter and May and former GC at Unilever) to talk to BCKR members.

Steve was sitting at his desk at ICI when the call came through from Spencer Stuart about a possible move to Unilever.  He got the job, and then began a long run in making Spencer Stuart money.

Search firms make money out of us; by moving us they generate a fee; the more they move and place you, the better for them; the more they can bug you for knowledge, the better for them; he became their creature.  He was used by them, regularly asked about rising stars in Unilever and always gave helpful replies … X would be a shoe-in for the right kind of place etc.  Steve became a trusted source for them to call on.  Finally, one day he was asked what he thought about being a NED himself.  He said to himself ‘How hard can that be? Yes! I would like to try it.’ A few weeks later Spencer Stuart came back with the possibility of the NED role at Bunzl.

Tony Habgood was the Bunzl CEO at the time, then chairman – he said to Steve, ‘I don’t know you so that’s a good start’.  Tony was not into the old boy network thing.  This helped.  Secondly the company was very largely a US corporation with a US chairman, an open-minded chairman open to having a lawyer on the board.  This was not seen as weird to them (unlike for UK companies. Then… and too often now).  This helped too.  Steve had started his non-executive career.

Michael Perry was chairman of Unilever at the time and epitomised the alternative view – he said ‘Why on earth would they want you?’.  This is the question we all have to face since chairmen believe they can buy what we offer by the hour.  We have to make it clear that we have a broader reality, a certain cynicism that avoids group think, an ability to order facts, a mindset that’s almost unique to our profession.  Why should the accountants have turned the board room into their own private garden? We need to fight back with a great crusade.

A number of things makes the lawyer in the board room an irresistible argument to pursue.

Key to this is diversity of THOUGHT – too often diversity is only considered in a binary numerical fashion – How many women? How many ethnic minorities?  It is more than due time that the order, analysis and logic that lawyers can bring is valued as adding to that diversity piece.

Moral compass – we all know that companies have often rightly lost the trust of the public – there is a great challenge ahead to rebuild that trust.  The better lawyers will provide this compass – the seemliness of things can be better identified by the better lawyers.

Moral relativity – decisions get harder, issues are no longer black and white – the colours have run somewhat – who would you rather have holding your hand as a chairman – the person who has spent their time balancing these things all through their career or the accountant or HR director or marketing director?  The lawyer should win through on this debate.

If the lawyer comes with the right kind of spirit, understanding and commitment – it is time for that lawyer.

Admittedly not all lawyers will be suited, so this is the case for the defence.

Lawyers have an unfair reputation for being uncommercial. For many years, lawyers have been exporting a wonderful legal profession; we do have business acumen; there is no need to learn anything more on this front; BUT we do need to work on the lawyers’ reputation in this area.

Risk aversion/negativity – probably true to some extent, BUT boost this up, it avoids lawyers succumbing to the risk of group-think, of being swept along by collective enthusiasm.  Actually taking on that role of being the challenger is important on the board and it’s a role that boards need.  Do not, however, be held back by a lawyer’s fear that everything you say is weighed like a legal opinion, and with the benefit of hindsight you’ll be found wanting.  That’s simply not the case – it’s just business decisions.  People can disagree and both be right.


Tips to Avoid the Prejudices

Skill up! To break this glass ceiling, we have to persuade people that we are three dimensional.  Some measure of evidence that we understand how things work and how boards operate is key.  Why not cut our teeth on some boards pro bono – make yourself noticed and known, to assuage one obvious line of concern.

Downplay the lawyering – up-play the enthusiasm.  Those skills and strengths already identified are real but don’t major on them – first and foremost you need to believe you can be a good NED and you must actually want to do it.  You need to show an interest in the actual business process of the company – be willing to put on their uniform not the uniform of a lawyer.

Give emotional commitment.


How to Get to Talk to the Chairman

This is where the real issue lies for appointments to corporate boards.  How are you going to get on lists with a sense of credibility – with a star by your name before you start?  This has to involve a good intervention of the headhunter.

Headhunters don’t make much money out of placing a NED (they get £35/40k for placing a FTSE NED), yet without the headhunters’ blessing and insurance policy the appointment won’t happen as the company will get worried that they won’t pass the ‘proper process’ tests.  Old boy network not enough.  So you need to get close to one or more headhunters, but remember that you are not their client – so help them.

Start the process early – don’t wait till you’ve stopped practising law – it’s not going to be top of your list, nor a key priority for much of your time in law – but make it happen, push push push, think about how to skill up and push it higher up the priority list.

Moving from private practice into industry was half a step towards Steve achieving a NED career – he thinks it changed the definition of how companies saw him, completely regardless of whether he did in fact change.  He also saw more of the board room first hand, through simply observing the Unilever board in action.

Being a GC of a large corporation helped him get over the issue of credibility a lot, without the risk of being seen to have too narrow a focus.

We can all broaden our focus – this is critical – companies want a general breadth of corporate knowledge and intensity – a very narrow field will make you unattractive unless that expertise happens to be wanted.

Steve believes in the gifted amateur in the board room.  He is not in favour of upskilling the gaps in the executive by using non-executive experience.

You want to really enjoy making your opinion felt, getting noticed by taking the odd risk, don’t let two minutes pass without saying something – but believe what you say!

Make a decision as to whether you really want to be a NED.  Is it simply a soft option for you, an ego trip, a gentle end to a career, or do you really want to do it, and why?  You need to have an intellectual commitment to that case, don’t do it otherwise – you’ll be seen through and won’t enjoy it.  Lawyers all start with one foot behind the line, and we’re not automatically wanted – so instead prove them wrong, make the charge and make a difference.



Should we pick a sector?

Tony Hapgood told Steve that consumers were what Steve would feel in his gut as a result of his Unilever experience, so consumer businesses would work for him.  But too simplistic.   He thinks you should broadly go by whether you feel an affinity for the business.

His own experience – speciality chemicals, consumer, paper mills, transport – consisted of very different sectors.  As he gets older, his willingness to speak his mind is more indulged and that’s not sector specific.

The emotional commitment you have to the business process is more important than understanding the business process itself – do you have a belief in what the company does?  If not, don’t take the role.


Dos and don’ts in interviews for lawyers?

He’s never insisted that a lawyer be on a list, he’s never interviewed a lawyer, no practising lawyer had made it onto the long shot list – so sadly he’s little to offer on that front.  He knows that’s disappointing.


Do boards really welcome a challenger?

Steve doesn’t like the idea of disputes and disagreements being held outside the boardroom – but this is a deeply unfashionable view and he believes the warts-and-all should be in the minutes and dealt with openly in the board room.  The tendency to group think is troubling and more likely to occur if disputes are dealt with outside the boardroom.   Better to have people more honest and open, with more directors resigning without great hoo haa.  But despite Steve believing this is the right way to go, he acknowledges that this would require a significant change in the style of most board rooms and chairmen.

Is the ‘challenger’ the right pitch for day one? Be true to yourself, don’t pretend you’re a lapdog.  If the chairman doesn’t want you on this basis, don’t take the job.


Where do you see the values piece at the moment?

There is a strong possibility that lawyers can pursue promotion of the values piece, which is definitely outside the accountants’ space, and which should permeate through all companies top to bottom, genuinely.  This should become a strong addition to the board room and one that we lawyers can easily contribute to.  Bringing the companies back to putting this at the heart of what they do, right in the board room and changing the culture of an organisation top to bottom will be hugely valuable and lawyer can play a big part.



Need to push for more diversity of thought – lawyers can definitely do that.


Sandrine Roseberg: Find out how you, as a lawyer, can “add value” to a board

Starting out as a lawyer, Sandrine Roseberg moved to Asia for her husband’s work but didn’t want to be a lawyer there.  So, just after the Asian financial crisis she became a headhunter, replacing expats with locals.

The statistics on lawyers on boards are not great.  There are just 26 lawyers on the FTSE 350 boards.  Most of these trained as lawyers and then shifted into different roles.  Only 8 practiced law to a significant extent before getting a board seat.  In investigating these lawyers further, there seems to be a clear link between the geographic presence or sector of the company concerned and the lawyer’s experience.

Speaking to chairmen about lawyers their approach seems pragmatic.  With boards being pretty small (6 to 10 members) the chair will look for breadth of expertise.  They want a full contribution from their members.  They do want specialists BUT ones who can contribute more generally on M&A, strategy, HR development etc.  Lawyers are not seen that way – negotiators, risk assessors, yes, but not business leaders.  44% of the company secretaries to the FTSE 100 are also their GCs.  The proportion is 40% for the FTSE 250.  All these companies therefore have legal knowledge at their board meetings.  The perception remains that lawyers are too much into the detail.

In the US the position is different, but even there the percentage of directors who do not have CEO experience is going down.


What makes a good board today?

  • A good chair
  • Diversity of views, to some extent (Chairs are regularly reminded that ‘group think’ is not good)
  • Gender and ethnic diversity currently more important as easier to measure
  • Chairs are just starting to say that they want their board to come from anywhere, but often this approach simply doesn’t work since board members have to speak the same language
  • International expertise still valued
  • Technology and digital understanding highly sought after

There will be change in the FTSE 100/250 Chair population, as the vast majority are 65+ at the moment and many will need to rotate off the board within 3 years – 9 years is now the maximum for Chairs.

There is a big push by shareholders to ensure that Chairs aren’t over-boarded.  5 points max.  One for a NED role, 2 for a chair.  You can’t chair more than 2 boards.

The chairs of tomorrow will be current executive board members, often group CEOs who’ve left their executive career in their late 50s e.g. Patrick Thomas of Johnson Matthey.

Since the Volkswagen problems, risk management has to be part of the board strategy.  It used to be just a list to update at the Audit Committee, with Financial Services businesses giving it greatest focus, but now industrial businesses are at risk and might look towards lawyers to help in that area.


The process

Generally, a Chair will come and tell Sandrine what they need.  What is important is how the headhunter approaches their search.  JCA never put a candidate on a list without having a recommendation from people who have worked with them first.  Headhunters need to learn about a candidate’s working style, are they broad in their experience and will they adjust.  JCA, and now Heidricks, will always try to speak to 2 or 3 individuals before a candidate gets on a list.

Networking is very important as there is a lot of sourcing in the initial process.  You may be on a longlist without realising it.

Then the headhunter will discuss the long list with the Chair to see whom he wants to approach.  Then selected candidates will meet the headhunter and then the client and after that formal referencing takes place, with individual referees identified by the candidate.


How do you get on the list?

It depends on the brief.

  • Is the chair is looking for sector experience?
  • Is he willing to include advisers or only operators?

If the list can include ‘advisers’, the headhunter will approach firms which are known specialists in that area, then they will talk to their sources.  Sources are typically those with plenty of board experience themselves.

When a chair comes to the headhunter asking for candidates they discover whether they are more open to diversity.  A chair generally wants a list of people they don’t know and who might have a different approach.  Heidricks have pledged to promote diversity by having a 50/50 longlist (i.e. 50% white male and 50% everything else!).  80% of their non-exec work this year was requested to be women only.


Is any distinction made between lawyers and GCs?

A chair looks for a candidate who he/she will appoint for a minimum of 6 years – the concern is that they can always buy in legal advice if needed, so if you have no managerial or sector specific experience as a lawyer you have a hard battle to prove that you can offer the requisite breadth.  A GC coming from a corporate environment is perceived to have better corporate experience, simply a better understanding of how a company works.

If you are coming from professional services and aren’t ticking any diversity box, you will need to do a good sales job of your skills to get on that list.  The kind of skills they will be looking for are:

  • Change agents
  • Strong cultural agenda
  • Technology
  • Transformation – IPO or lots of big acquisition integration – important for the future of a business
  • Other board experience
  • People management is important

Being the highly intellectual lawyer who is living in a bubble doesn’t play well and can be intimidating.


Can you validate your credentials through working on a not for profit board?

Not for profit boards can be very time consuming.  Some are well run and organised and have great boards.  However, stay away from the ones that look to you to transform their boards.  You will end up being their lawyer and they may be looking for monetary support too.

A strong chair in a not for profit can however, give you the right experience.  Having a couple of well-connected board members can also really help from a referencing point of view.  You then get the chair to lead your conversation.  You need to really believe in the cause and, of course,  make sure you do your due diligence.


How do you rebrand yourself after a life in the law?

You need to be able to demonstrate your translatable skills.  You need to highlight examples of the right skills and speak the corporate language that resonates with business leaders.  Don’t hesitate to give these examples to headhunters.

The practice of talking to people is important.  Rehearse what is relevant.  You need to be more than a very good specialist.


The CV

  • Your CV has to say “This is an experienced board member”, “This is where I add value”, and it’s all backed up by years of experience in a law firm
  • Cover what you’ve done and how it can transpose into a board context
  • When you meet a headhunter, make it clear how you behave
  • The new generation of chairs is going to be far more interested in how you behave than what you’ve done and needs you to be interested in the business.  They can then develop you as a board member.


What do you look for in a candidate?

  • The balance between listening and challenging
  • Confidence not arrogance
  • Energy and enthusiasm
  • Not just a box ticker – people who genuinely believe they can bring something to the board and have the personality to go with it.


Due diligence.

What are the warning signs to look out for?

  • The chair. Try to imagine working with the chair during a crisis on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  The chair can make your life a delight or a misery.
  • Talk to people who have been exposed to that business. Culture is hugely important.  It needs to be the right fit.
  • Diversity of experience – social diversity is a nut not yet cracked


Does your CV open doors or not?

It needs to show the progression of your career and be substantive enough that a headhunter could write their own report on you from it.

The real key is to be open about who you are as a person.


Marie Gabriel: Lawyers as NEDs in the NHS

BCKR was fortunate to be joined recently by Marie Gabriel who chairs the East London NHS Foundation Trust. Below is a paper which Marie prepared for our breakfast session with useful information and links on what you need to think about if applying for an NHS role.  Marie has also generously offered to have a chat with any members who are exploring NHS roles, along with looking at your CV and even putting you through a mock interview. She has a list of typical questions asked at interview which, if you are planning to proceed with an application, we can forward on request.



Lawyers as NEDs in the NHS

To be honest lawyers don’t usually jump out in the list of skills that a Board requires but you do have lots of transferable skills that are valued on those boards

  • Generally, its about ability to understand complex information, to analyse and find themes and gaps
  • It’s also about good decision making skills, understanding of risk,
  • It may be about the specifics of your work, regulation management, estates, contracting, criminal justice, fraud, partnerships, human resources
  • You may have experience of large complex organisations or even smaller ones where you have helped to run the business side, make sure you get involved in the business side of things.

Research in 2013 by Cornell University in the US suggested that a legal board presence correlated with performance. According to the study — Lawyers and Fools: Lawyer-Directors in Public Corporations — having a lawyer in the boardroom increased the value of non-financial companies by an average of 9.55% in the study period between 2000 and 2009.

But you will need Board experience e.g. as NED at a charity or at local school and also knowledge of the field you are interested in.  So, become involved in local health charities and go along to some public NHS meetings so you can test what is wanted and how NEDs operate.

You will need to review your CV emphasising what NHS organisations want and how you will add value. Behaviours and personal values are just as Connected to this develop your personal and professional networks, find someone who is involved as a NED and let them know you want to become one.

Being a NED is a chance to make use of a life-time of experience for the benefit of some of the most vulnerable people in your society. You can and will have a major impact, not only on the effectiveness of the organisation but also on people’s lives.


The NHS Explained – Core Organisations and Their Roles

Non NED Organisations

The Secretary of State for Health

The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the work of the Department of Health (DH). DH provides strategic leadership for public health, the NHS and social care in England.


The Department of Health (DH)

The DH is responsible for strategic leadership and funding for both health and social care in England. The DH is a ministerial department, supported by 23 agencies and public bodies.

Although these are non NED organisations there are some bodies that report into the Minister/DH such as the Blood and Transport and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that do require NEDs. As national bodies you would defintely need previous NED experience


Organisations which have Non-Executive Directors

NHS England and NHS Improvement NHSE&I

These two organisations have come together with a joint staff team but separate Boards. NHS England is an independent body, at arm’s length to the government. The main role is to set the priorities and direction of the NHS and to improve health and care outcomes for people in England. NHS Improvement – that regulates the providers of services, such as local hospitals, mental health trusts and community health , ensuring that they are well run, viable organisations. However both organisations have separate Boards as they is how they were established

The key strategic document is the NHS Ten Year Plan, a must read as it provides the background information you need to become a NED. https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/

NHS E&I do have NEDs but you would have had to have a high profile national or international career and previous NED experience


Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

CCGs are borough based, clinically led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services for their local area. CCG members include GPs and other clinicians, such as nurses and consultants. They are responsible for about 60% of the NHS budget, commission most secondary care services, and play a part in the commissioning of GP services. The secondary care services commissioned by CCGs are:

CCGs can commission any service provider that meets NHS standards and costs. These can be NHS hospitals, social enterprises, charities or private sector providers. However, they must be assured of the quality of services they commission, taking into account both National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) data about service providers.

NICE and the CQC also have NEDs

CCGs have NEDs but they call them Lay Members. More recently GPs have been forming federations of practices as providers of services. These also tend to be borough based and some do or will require lay members.



Responsibility for regulating particular aspects of care is now shared across a number of different bodies, such as:

All of these regulatory bodies have NEDs or in the case of Councils they are often call Independent Members. A track record of governance experience is required.



In delivering services you have primary and secondary care. Primary care is usually the first point of contact for most people and includes GPs, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists.

Secondary care services are hospital and community health services and includes planned hospital care at acute hospitals, e.g. operations, accident and emergency, mental health series, community services, such as district nursing, health visitors and rehabilitative care.  There are also ambulances Trust that cover a region.

Providers are divided into Foundation Trusts and non-Foundation Trusts. Foundation Trusts have more freedom because they have shown that they are of a high quality and financially viable. They are supposed to be self-standing and self-governing but increasingly are seeing more involvement from regulators. They have a Council of Governors drawn from their local community through election or appointment and hold the Board to account through the NEDs. As such they are responsible for appointing NEDs.

All the secondary care services have Boards and require NEDs. Previous NED experience and a successful career is needed. Foundation Trusts run their own recruitment processes, usually through headhunters whilst non Foundation Trusts recruit through NHS Improvement.


Key Current Issues for the NHS 

  • Ageing population, increased demand for services, specific conditions on the increase e.g. Diabetes which often linked to life style factors and increased public expectations about access and quality, For example, the Nuffield Foundation estimate that we will need another 17,000 hospital beds by 2022 and that’s just beds.
  • Workforce, not enough for current needs, with a 10% increase in nursing vacancies last year plus the requirements of the NHS Long Term Plan. In February 2018, there was a reported 100,000 vacancies. (The workforce comprises of approximately 1.5 million staff.) Compounded by Brexit and new ways of working required by integrated care models will mean retraining. For example there has been a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK. Specific problems with nursing, GPs and some consultant speciality. E.g. child and adolescent psychiatrists.
  • Money – huge deficits overall. The NHS net predicted deficit for the 2018/19 financial year is £519m with a budget of approximately £2.14bn
  • Requirement to work in different ways through Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships. These are good as they are seeking to address regional needs, reducing health inequalities, improving integrated care and access and improve outcomes. However some areas are really struggling to work together or to achieve the transformation needed given population needs and financial problems
  • Austerity, particularly the reduction of local authority budgets which has impacted on social care and therefore on things like discharging people.
  • Need to better implement digital health
  • Need to ensure effective relationships for regional Sustainable and Transformation Partnerships, that have no legal status but are responsible for improving health outcomes and health services along with the viability of health organisations in their areas.


NED Recruitment

The Process

Although you will either be recruited by head hunters or the organisation themselves all NED (or lay member or independent member) roles should be advertised and go for an equal and fair process.

The recruitment process will consist of the following:

  • An application form or CV with covering letter
  • Sometimes a long listing interview
  • A stakeholder event
  • A final interview panel
    • For NHS Improvement it will be a panel consisting of one of their regional executives and a NED or two from other NHS Trusts.
    • For Foundation Trusts this will be members of their Council of Governors
    • For other organisations the panel will vary but should always have an independent member.


The recruitment process will also be looking for people with

  • Experience and understanding of governance, either as a NED somewhere else or through charity or other public sector work. A useful, although out of date document on the expectations of NEDs and the Boards they sit on is the NHS Healthy Board which can be found at: https://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/NHSLeadership-HealthyNHSBoard-2013.pdf
  • Commitment to the NHS and the Nolan Principles for Public Life
  • An understanding of the needs and aspirations of their local community in general but specifically in relation to health
  • Senior executive experience within their career, preferably at Board level
  • Specific skills that they need on their Board, e.g. organisation development, HR, finance, estate management, community development etc.


Useful places to look for vacancies:


The first is specifically NHS the second is for all public appointments.



I would suggest contacting their health team and say you are looking for a NED role



  • Sunday Times
  • The Guardian


Going Through the Process – Hints and Tips

Application Form

  • Keep it succinct, whether it’s an application or CV with covering letter
  • Ensure, if it’s a CV with covering letter, that you do draw out key ways in which you address the person specification. Do this both in the covering letter, constructing it as a supporting statement, and within the summary of your successes within your career history.
  • If it’s an application form specifically address the areas of the person specification with examples of success. Also send a short covering note, via email or letter highlighting no more than 4 or 5 points
  • Use action focussed and strategic words. For example: I have a proven track record of organisational transformation. At Defo I led the merger of 7 organisations resulting in savings of £5m, increased customer satisfaction from 72 to 98% and increased staff satisfaction post-merger from 54 to 92%.
  • Show that you are committed to their Trust and their organisation, you are not just looking for a NED role anywhere
  • Research so you can add some relevant material, for example I understand that you are in merger discussions with Luton, my experience of mergers and organisational development will……
  • Read it through and read it through again



General Tips

  • Illustrate a commitment to quality of services for patients and to listening to patients and staff where appropriate within your answers
  • Clinical leadership and understanding of the local scene and national policy is always important
  • Research the organisation and the areas within which it provides services so that your answers are relevant, read their strategic documents, recent Board papers and form a view that you can add to an answer. Good places for looking at key policy issues are the websites of NHS Providers and NHS Confederation.
  • Be strategic rather than operational, you with the Board set the direction and then supporting and assuring yourself that others are delivering the strategy and performance
  • Be yourself and be engaging so proactive your interview responses in front of the mirror or better still organise a mock interview
  • Only ask questions at the end if you really have questions to ask



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!




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.

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

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.