A note from Angela Newton, Chair of the Board of Trustees
I’m really pleased that you’re reading this right now, and that you’re keen to find out more about the role of Trustee at NSUN.
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.
Over the past 18 months, NSUN has scaled and our work has changed. We have grown from an organisation with two members of staff to one with seven. The 20/21 income was over double the 19/20 income. We have undertaken a deep review of our policies and processes, and we are now looking at our membership offer and the best legal structure for us as an organisation. This change has been in response to COVID-19, but also wider changes in the mental health landscape over the past 10 years.
We are looking to recruit up to three Trustees including a Treasurer, to help us strengthen our governance and shape our strategic direction. This is an incredibly exciting time to join us as a Trustee: NSUN is in a period of growth and change, 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, disabled people and people under 30.
Whether you already have experience as a Trustee or if this is your first venture into governance, if you have the commitment, values and skills, we would love to hear from you. 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 might have if you join the online webinar at 3pm on Tuesday 20th June (click here to sign up) – we hope to see you there.
About the Trustee 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.
- 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
- To work with the other Trustees in ensuring that the practices and policies of NSUN are in accordance with its mission
- 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
Deadline: 5pm, Thursday 29th July 2021
Interviews: will be held on Thursday 12th August and Friday 13th August. We will let you know by the 5th August if you have been invited to an interview.
To apply, please download and complete the following two documents and return them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on the 29th July 2021:
Want to find out more, ask any questions, or speak to current Trustees before applying? Use the form below (or click here) to register your interest for our Q&A webinar (Tuesday 20th July, 3pm) over Zoom.
- 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
- Work as an efficient member of the team within the Trustee Board
- While reflecting the values of the organisation, protect its assets and integrity
- Forge and maintain efficient relations with the staff team, engaging with members and stakeholders as necessary
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 all board meetings (usually 3 hours in length). Board meetings are held six times a year. At the moment these meetings are online. Additionally, Trustees are invited to the Annual General Meeting (currently online but usually at various venues around England). Additional subcommittee meetings are c. 1 hour in length and can number between 4 and 8 meetings per year. The Trustee role is voluntary (unpaid) but expenses related to the work are covered. Additionally, an access needs assessment is undertaken annually.
- Papers are emailed two weeks in advance of meetings
- 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 in person when circumstances allow, usually October/ November time. This year the event is again due to take place online over 2 days (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 if needed
Each Trustee must have:
- Lived experience of mental ill health, distress or trauma
- A commitment to the vision, mission and values of NSUN
- Enthusiasm and time to commit to the role of Trustee, including communicating by email and reading board papers in advance of meetings
- An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
- 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:
- Strategic thinking
- Financial management and fundraising/income generation
- Legal knowledge
The role of the Treasurer
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Ensure its financial viability
- Ensure that proper financial records and procedures are maintained.
The Treasurer will, with the support of the CEO and Finance Manager:
- Oversee, approving and presenting 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
- Make a formal presentation of the accounts at the annual general meeting and drawing attention to important points in a coherent and easily understandable way
- Chair Finance and 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 have to 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.