Headway East London Job Description – Board Member Introduction Headway East London (HEL) is a registered charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee, affiliated to Headway – the brain injury association. Headway East London operates a Headway House social centre for people with acquired brain injury. The centre is based in fully-adapted rented premises in Hackney and serves 13 London boroughs. It is open for five days a week and has over 90 attenders and 21 staff. The Board The Board of Headway East London governs the charity, represents it to the community and accepts ultimate legal authority for it. Note that Board Members are also Trustees of Headway East London. The Board meets six times a year, usually on Thursdays between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. The AGM is held before the Autumn meeting. The number of members is determined by the Board. At each AGM, three of the longest-serving trustees must retire and may stand for re-election if they wish. The Board has an Executive Committee and a number of Sub-Committees including Standards & Development, Fundraising and Communications. Headway East London’s Duty to new Board Members. • Introduction to fellow Board Members. • Induction meeting with the Chairperson. • Explanation of business plan, current issues and financial statements. • Explanation of role, discussion of areas of expertise and introduction to relevant Working Groups. • Induction Pack. • Opportunities for ongoing training Statutory Duties of Board Members 1. To ensure that HEL complies with its memorandum and articles of association, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations. 2. To ensure that HEL pursues its charitable objectives as laid down in the memorandum and articles. 3. To ensure that HEL applies its resources exclusively in furtherance of its objectives. 4. To contribute actively to HEL by giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets. 5. To safeguard the good name and values of HEL. 6. To ensure the effective administration of HEL. 7. To protect and manage the property of HEL and ensure the proper investment of charity funds. 8. To appoint and support the Manager and monitor her/his performance. Expectations of Board Members 1. Attendance at the AGM and at least three of the other five bi-monthly board meetings. 2. Active participation in the work of the Board including preparing for and contributing to Board discussions. 3. Participation on at least one sub-committee or special project. 4. A time commitment of at least four hours per month (includes preparation, meeting and sub-committee time). 5. At least one visit to the Headway House per year to ensure a good understanding of the services of HEL, its attenders and its staff/volunteers. 6. Public promotion of the services of HEL. 7. Active recruitment of funding and external expertise to HEL. 8. Attendance at special events. Person Specification for Board Member • Commitment to the organisation • Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort • Strategic vision • Creative thinking • Good independent judgement • Willingness to speak their mind • Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship • Ability to work effectively in a team • No conflicts of interest. • Previous experience of trusteeship not mandatory. Board Expertise The ability of Board members to draw on their personal expertise and experience is highly valued within HEL. Board members are recruited for their experience in one or more of the following areas: • Professional eg management, accountancy, fundraising, legal, marketing • Health/social services eg neurology, speech & language therapy, social work. • Experience of brain injury, either personally or as a carer. • Community e.g. membership of local community group, local counsellor. Liabilities and Legal Responsibilities of Trustees Legal requirements All charities must have charity trustees, that is, people having general control and management of the administration of the charity. Members of the Board or the Management Committee are charity trustees. The prime duty of a Trustee is to ensure that the objects of the charity are carried out according with the Constitution (Memorandum & Articles). The overriding duty of a Trustee is that they must act prudently and reasonably in all matters relating to the charity. They must not let personal views or prejudices affect their conduct as a Trustee. Trustees must act in person and decisions concerning the charity must be taken by the trustees acting together. Trustees may employ staff to carry out the day-to-day management, but Trustees always remain legally responsible for the actions of staff. Trustees should always ensure they retain and exercise control over their charity’s affairs. Trustees should make sure that they study the latest annual report and accounts of the charity. Trustees should be aware of their duties and responsibilities under trust and charity law. New Trustees should show that they understand their duties and responsibilities by signing the minute book. Liabilities of Trustees Where Trustees fail to act reasonably and the charity suffers financial loss as a result, they may be personally liable for breach of trust. It is important that Trustees retain and exercise overall control of the management of the charity and lay down in writing clear guidelines within which their agents must act. Company Limited by Guarantee A Company Limited by Guarantee has members who do not make any payment to the company but instead simply guarantee to pay its debts. Under this arrangement the maximum extent of members’ financial liability is limited to an agreed amount, usually £1 per member.
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