NSUN Trustee Recruitment 2022

Text on colourful background reads "NSUN is looking for new trustees"

Recruitment for Trustees has now closed

Click here to view and/or download this information as a pdf (Trustee Recruitment Information Pack)

Click here to download this information as a plaintext Word document (Trustee Recruitment Information Pack)

A note from Angela Newton, Chair of the Board of Trustees

I’m really excited to know that you’re reading this right now, and that you’re keen to find out more about the role of Trustee at NSUN. We’re looking forward to welcoming three new Trustees to the Board.

NSUN, the National Survivor User Network, is a network of people and groups with lived experience of mental ill-health, distress, or trauma. As a membership organisation with over 5000 members, NSUN connects individuals and groups and then supports, encourages, amplifies, and advocates so that the issues, ideas, dreams, and ambitions of those who live with long-term distress and/or mental ill-health can become actions.

I have supported NSUN for many years and have had the pleasure of being Chair for the past few years. This has been throughout a period of significant and exciting change. During this time, our staff team has increased, our income has increased, and our membership has increased. We have agreed to change our legal structure to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, refined our membership and spent time developing as a Board. We are hosting Synergi, a programme of work that focuses on the intersection of mental health and racial justice with a specific focus on lived experience and community action. We are also about to embark on an exciting new strategic direction that will enable us to:

  • Build and distribute the invaluable knowledge that is held by those of us with lived experience of mental illness, distress and trauma;
  • Grow more collaborative spaces through coalitions and networks;
  • Build an alternative approach to mental health policy work;
  • Work with funders and acting as a micro-funder to help redistribute resources to grassroots user led groups.

We have a bright and exciting future ahead of us, and it feels like now is the right time for me to step aside and give somebody else the opportunity to lead the work of the organisation. The role of Chair is essential within any charity, and we’re looking for somebody who is dynamic, driven, and comes with experience of governance. We’re really hoping that this person also has a deep interest in racial justice as well as personal experience of mental distress.

We have three Trustee vacancies available at the moment, and we’d also like to take this opportunity to find a Treasurer – we believe this to be a critical role for the future, but one that we have not filled previously.

This is an incredibly exciting time to join us as a Trustee: NSUN is in a period of consolidating our recent growth, change and development, and this a real opportunity to be part of this journey and help strengthen the organisation from within.

NSUN is a user-led organisation: lived experience is at the heart of our work. We particularly welcome applications from people from under-represented and/or marginalised communities, including people from racialised communities and disabled people. On this occasion, we are also looking for people who have some of the following previous experience:

  • Experience of being on Boards or Committees,
  • Experience of a senior, leadership, or advisory role in relation to an organisation which is going through a process of change/growth
  • Experience of key areas around supporting employed staff

Being a Trustee is really rewarding, and gives you valuable and transferable leadership, strategic and governance experience in the non-profit sector. Thanks for taking the time to read through this Information Pack – we really hope you find it useful. You can find out even more and ask any questions you can speak with Angela Newton, Chair (angela@livedexperiencematters.org.uk) or Akiko Hart, CEO (akiko.hart@nsun.org.uk). Please email one of us to arrange a call.

About the Trustee role

Being a Trustee is a voluntary role. Trustees act as the guardian of the vision, purpose and values of NSUN, acting in its best interests and working constructively with other Board members and staff to:

  • Achieve and maintain excellent standards of governance
  • Ensure NSUN’s purpose and objectives are achieved
  • Ensure that NSUN is managed and controlled appropriately and maintains its financial sustainability
  • Demonstrate that NSUN is accountable to its members, funders and stakeholders
  • Ensure NSUN works within the requirements of the law, regulation, its funding bodies and best practice standards

The Trustee role is strategic rather than operational. Click here to view our Scheme of Delegation.

Key responsibilities:

  1. To take part in formulating and regularly reviewing the strategic aims of the organisation, and to collaborate in providing the direction of NSUN’s ongoing development
  2. To work with the other Trustees in ensuring that the practices and policies of NSUN are in accordance with its mission
  3. With other Trustees, to exercise effective control of the organisation, ensuring that it functions within the legal and financial requirements of a charitable organisation and in accordance with best practices

About the application process

Key dates:

Deadline: 5pm, Thursday 16th August 2022

To apply, please download and complete the following two documents and return them to info@nsun.org.uk by the deadline:

  1. NSUN Trustee Application Form – here, you can indicate which specific role you are interested in (we are recruiting for three Trustees, including a Chair and a Treasurer)
  2. NSUN Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form

Interviews: interviews will be held online and slots will be offered on Wednesday 31st August, Friday 2nd September, Tuesday 6th September, or Thursday 8th September and may be recorded. We will let you know by the 26th August if you have been invited to an interview. For the Chair position, there will also be an informal conversation with the CEO arranged closer to the time.


Want to find out more, ask questions, or speak to one of us before applying? Please contact Angela Newton, Chair (angela@livedexperiencematters.org.uk) or Akiko Hart, CEO (akiko.hart@nsun.org.uk).

More information

Please find below more details about the Trustee role, including information about what the commitment includes, the person specification, and the Chair and Treasurer role descriptions.

Specific duties
  • Develop, review, and safeguard NSUN’s strategic aims, and assist in their implementation
  • Attend the meetings of the Trustee Board, AGM and sub-committee meetings as required
  • Monitor and evaluate the organisation’s financial and operational performance against its strategic aims, exercising efficient control and ensuring best practice
  • Work towards NSUN’s vision, purpose, and values
  • Ensure all of the organisation’s policies are in accordance with its aims and values
  • Attend all training and development activities and opportunities, including the induction process upon taking up the role of Trustee. Commitment to continually develop an understanding of the work NSUN undertakes
  • Work as an effective member of the team within the Trustee Board whilst reflecting the values of the organisation, protect its assets and integrity
  • Forge and maintain effective relations with the staff team, engaging with members and stakeholders as required.
As part of the Board, Trustees will
  • Ensure compliance with the Charity Commission requirements and its guidance
  • Devote sufficient time and energy to NSUN, including preparing for meetings and where possible keeping up to date with relevant mental health, social care, human rights and disability sector issues
  • Contribute specific skills and experience in the monitoring and safeguarding of the organisation’s performance
  • Attend and participate in any Board induction, training or other development activities, and the Board appraisal scheme
  • Register all interests that might have a bearing on NSUN’s work and declare any potential or actual conflicts of interest as and when they arise
  • Represent NSUN positively to all external stakeholders and interested groups
  • Collaborate in the design, implementation, and monitoring of a risk management framework in order to safeguard the assets and reputation of the organisation
What we need from you

Trustees are expected to attend and contribute to all board meetings bringing their skills and experience to ensure effective governance, through support, constructive challenge and scrutiny. Board meetings are held six times a year, are usually 3 hours in length, and require around 3 hours of preparation. Meetings are held online, however we are aiming to include some face to face development days in addition to this, for which expenses are covered. Additionally, Trustees are invited to the online Annual General Meeting. Additional subcommittee meetings are c. 1 hour in length and can number between 4 and 8 meetings per year.

To enable the smooth operation of the organisation between meetings, trustees will also need to respond to regular email communications (the time commitment will vary from week to week but should average no more than 1 hour per week) The Trustee role is voluntary (unpaid) but expenses related to the work are covered.

  • Papers are emailed two weeks in advance of meetings, with optional pre-board meetings to run through the papers
  • Trustees are encouraged to join one of the board committees/working groups
  • Trustees are invited to the annual general meeting (AGM) and members’ event which usually takes place over a full day (the business part is around 1 hour long)
  • Trustees can claim out-of-pocket expenses incurred including travelling to meetings with any reasonable adjustments necessary
  • Trustees serve a three-year term before being eligible for re-election. Officers are elected annually
  • You will have a yearly appraisal to support you in your development. Training and additional support is also available, to meet specific development needs. Training on topics relevant to the work of NSUN is provided 2-3 times a year (usually for half a day) and attendance is an important part of the Trustee role.  
  • Upon joining and regularly thereafter we will discuss how best to meet any access and support needs you may have
Person specification
  • Lived experience of mental ill health, distress or trauma, including racial trauma
  • A demonstrated commitment to the vision, mission and values of NSUN
  • Excellent understanding of, and interest in, current work happening on the intersections of racial justice and mental health in the UK
  • Enthusiasm and time to commit to the role of Trustee (see time commitment detail above)
  • Integrity
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
  • An understanding of the respective roles of the Chair, Trustees, and staff team
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team and to take decisions for the good of the organisation
  • A willingness to speak up and contribute constructively to board meetings and associated work
  • The Board of Trustees collectively needs skills and experience in the following areas:
    • Experience of serving on Boards or Committees,
    • Experience of a senior, leadership, or advisory role in relation to an organisation which is going through a process of change/growth
    • Experience of key areas around supporting employed staff
The role of Chair

Click here to view and/or download the Chair recruitment pack as a pdf

Click here to download the Chair recruitment pack as a plaintext Word document

We are looking to recruit up to three Trustees including a Chair. You can indicate on the application form if you would be interested in the role of Chair.

In addition to the normal responsibilities as a Trustee, the Chair has a leadership role in ensuring the Board of Trustees fulfils its responsibilities for the effective governance of the charity.

Overall responsibilities

  • Provide leadership to the charity and its Board, ensuring that the Board fulfils its responsibilities for the governance of the organisation and has maximum impact for its members and wider stakeholders
  • To work in partnership with the CEO to help achieve the mission of the organisation, and maintain effective relationships between trustees, staff and members.

Strategic leadership

  • Ensure the charity has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving this
  • To hold a strong understanding of the power imbalances commonly seen at Board level within the sector and provide leadership on ways of working which address this and continue to hold lived experience as an integral part of the board’s effectiveness
  • To be comfortable to bring constructive challenge to areas where improvement is needed.


  • Continue to develop the Board to ensure governance is effective and ways of working are regularly reviewed
  • Develop the knowledge and capability of the Board of Trustees, addressing performance on an ongoing basis and through annual 1-1 performance appraisals
  • Ensure that the balance of skills within the Board is suitable and that future Trustees recruitment incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience
  • Lead on any key appointments within the charity such as the CEO.

External Relations

  • Act as an ambassador for the charity
  • Develop and maintain close relationships with key stakeholders and influencers
  • Represent the charity at external functions, meetings and events
  • Attend meetings with prospective funders when required, with the support of the CEO.

Efficiency and effectiveness

  • Chair the meetings of the Board of Trustees effectively and efficiently including the AGM
  • As well as undertaking 1-1 performance reviews with the Board, the chair will undergo a 1-1 with an external body, incorporating feedback from the wider Board and CEO.

Relationship with the CEO of NSUN and the wider team

  • Build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with the CEO
  • Ensure regular contact with the CEO and develop and maintain an open and supportive relationship. Undertake regular supervision and performance appraisals
  • Liaise with the CEO to maintain an overview of the Charity’s affairs, providing support as necessary
  • Ensure that the CEO has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support

Additional information

  • Develop a collaborative system of support, in particular between those Trustees with officer roles (Vice-Chair and Treasurer).

Person Specification

  • All Trustees must have lived experience of mental ill health, distress or trauma
  • All Trustees must have a demonstrated commitment to the values and mission of NSUN

Skills and Knowledge

  • Demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity, its strategic objectives and cause
  • Exhibit strong inter-personal and relationship building abilities and be comfortable in an ambassadorial role
  • Demonstrate tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively
  • Strong networking capabilities that can be utilised for the benefit of the charity
  • Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
  • Use their specific knowledge and experience to support the effective running of the charity and help the Board of Trustees reach sound decisions
  • Demonstrate a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as a Chair and a Trustee, attending Board meetings and an active involvement outside of the Board meetings
  • Demonstrate good, independent judgement in your role as Chair

Trustee Experience

  • Significant experience of chairing meetings/events or experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level within an organisation
  • Experience of effective governance in a charity or similar organisation and understanding of governance issues.  
  • Experience of external representation
  • Experience with overseeing a transitionary period at a senior level within an organisation

Knowledge and Skills

  • Broad knowledge and understanding of the Charitable sector and the issues affecting it
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to motivate Trustees and the staff team
  • Good understanding of charity governance issues
The role of Treasurer

Click here to view and/or download the Treasurer recruitment pack as a pdf

Click here to download the Treasurer recruitment pack as a plaintext Word document

We are looking to recruit up to three Trustees including a Treasurer. You can indicate on the application form if you would be interested in the role of Treasurer. Whilst the Treasurer needs to be confident in financial management, you do not need to have specific charity finance experience and training can be given.

Key responsibilities of the Treasurer

  1. Ensure that the organisation’s financial obligations are met and that the organisation operates within the legal and financial guidelines set out in current legislation
  2. In conjunction with the Chair and Vice-Chair, ensure that Trustees collectively fulfil their responsibilities for the governance and financial affairs of the organisation, through the approval of budgets, accounting, and financial statements.

The overall role of the treasurer is to support the Board to:

  • Maintain an overview of the organisation’s financial affairs
  • Ensure the organisation operates within the legal and financial guidelines set out in current legislation with a sensitivity to the needs of the grass roots organisations who make up our members.
  • Ensure its financial viability
  • Ensure that proper financial records and procedures are maintained.

The Treasurer will, with the support of the CEO and Head of Operations and Finance:

  • Oversee, approve and present budgets, accounts and financial statements
  • Be assured that the financial resources of the organisation meet its present and future needs
  • Ensure that the charity has an appropriate reserves policy
  • Oversee the preparation and presentation of financial reports to the board
  • Ensure that appropriate accounting procedures and controls are in place
  • Advise on the financial implications of the organisation’s strategic plans Ensure that the charity has an appropriate investment policy
  • Ensure that the accounts are prepared and disclosed in the form required by funders and the relevant statutory bodies, e.g. the Charity Commission and/or the Registrar of Companies
  • Ensure all funds received for specific purposes are appropriately spent. Ensure that the accounts are scrutinised in the manner required (independent examination or audit) and that any recommendations are implemented
  • Keep abreast of developments in the sector and keep the board informed about its financial duties and responsibilities
  • Contribute to the influencing and fundraising strategy of the organisation
  • Chair any Finance and/or Fundraising sub-committee and be responsible for agreeing agendas and methods of work and action to be taken by the sub- committee
  • Sit on appraisal, recruitment and disciplinary panels as required.
Information for member groups regarding funding

NSUN has recently run two small grants programmes for our user-led group members – the COVID-19 and Side By Side Funds. All Trustees must declare any roles within organisations or groups with the potential to cause a conflict of interest and are prohibited from personally benefitting financially from their role at NSUN. However, should NSUN run similar programmes in the future, a Trustee being part of a member group need not mean that group could not apply for a grant. Rather, the Trustee concerned would be expected to have declared their membership in advance via NSUN’s register of interests for Trustees and would remove themselves from any discussion regarding that group’s application for funds.