Trustees... What is that all about?
What is a Trustee? Trustees serve on the governing body (Board) of a charity and are responsible for directing the management and administration of the charity. They have a wide range of duties and are responsible for making the charity effective, providing overall direction and maintaining sound management of funds. Being a trustee can be hard work but it can also be rewarding, giving many opportunities for personal development and the chance to give something back to their community.
What's In A Name? The trustee board may also be called a management committee, a board of directors or Trustees, but they all have the same responsibility, whatever the title. All forms of governing documents require the scheme to adhere to the same Home-Start Standards and Methods of Practice and in accord with the Home-Start agreement and quality standards.
What Does A Board Of Trustees Do? The Board of Trustees is responsible for the scheme's vision, for leading the strategic direction, for compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, the performance and quality of the scheme and for ensuring that it operates within the Home-Start Agreement. The Board's job is to ensure that the resources in the charity are used effectively to further the objects of Home-Start and for the purpose for which they were given.
What Kinds Of Skills And Experience Do You Need To Have To Be A Home-Start Trustee? Home-Start needs Trustees with a variety of skills and experience and from a wide range of backgrounds. No special qualifications are needed, but it is important to have good interpersonal skills, a practical approach to working with people, an understanding of the pressures facing parents and an interest in supporting your local community. You may bring a particular expertise to the Board, such as professional skills in finance, IT, business or personnel management, or marketing and PR, but equally as important are listening and communication skills, commitment and common sense.
What Role Does the Trustee Chair Have? The Chair plays a key role in providing leadership for the Board in deciding strategy and setting policy. As well as planning and chairing Trustee meetings, the Chair will also manage the induction of new Trustees. He/she takes the lead on the support and supervision of staff and will often represent the charity at external events and meetings.
Can Anyone Be A Trustee? Most people over 18 can be Trustees. There are some exceptions: where a person has been convicted of an offence involving deception, an undischarged bankrupt or someone who has previously been removed as a Trustee. All Trustees must have a criminal records check.
How Big A Commitment Is It? Being a Trustee carries legal and financial responsibilities. It is an important role which will require time and commitment. Home-Start Trustees spend an average 10 hours per month fulfilling their responsibilities.
What Advice And Support Is Available For New Trustees? Every new Trustee has an induction programme within the scheme. They are also invited to a regional Home-Start induction day as well as to other national and regional training courses and events. A full range of support is available, including the Home-Start Policy and Practice Guide, regular legal updates and the support of Home-Start UK.