How do I become a Trustee?

There are two ways of becoming a trustee – you are either elected by the Association’s membership, or co-opted by the Board itself.

The Board is currently composed of ten elected trustees and up to five co-opted, plus the Chair.

Prospective trustees stand for election each spring. Members then vote on candidates and those receiving the greatest number of votes fill the available vacancies on the Board.

The newly elected trustees are welcomed at the AGM in early summer.

Where a gap is identified in the skills of Board members, the existing trustees can then co-opt individuals to join the Board.

Who can be a trustee?

To volunteer as a trustee you must be:

  • A member of the Association,
  • Over 18,
  • Willing to comply with relevant checks,
  • Willing to comply with the Association’s procedures relating to our Code of Conduct and declarations of interest and loyalty,
  • Able to confirm that you are not disqualified from acting as a trustee.

You must not act as a trustee if you are disqualified under the Charities Act, including if you:

  • Have an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception (such as fraud),
  • Are bankrupt or have entered into a formal arrangement (e.g. an individual voluntary arrangement) with a creditor,
  • Have been removed as a company director or charity trustee because of wrongdoing.

Do I have to be a member of the Association?

As a trustee, you are required to be a full member of the Association. You can then vote in elections and AGM resolutions.

Do I have to be a member of a branch?

The Association has nearly 90 branches and groups. It is not a requirement for trustees to be involved with a local branch or group, however, some trustees have held, or continue to hold, a position on their local branch committee.

How long would I serve at a trustee?

Elected trustees serve for three years. If they wish to do so, they can then stand for re-election, and if elected can serve a second term of three years.  If they wish to stand again, they must stand down for a period of one year. 

Co-opted trustees serve for two years.  After that, if invited by the Board, they can serve a further term of two years.  They can then serve a further two years, again if invited by the Board.  They can serve a total of six years, which do not have to be continuous.

How often does the Board meet?

The Board meets a minimum of four times a year, on a Friday at the Association's office in Northampton. 

Trustees are also expected to sit on one to two committees each year. Committees meet four times a year for a few hours in the work week. Meetings are hybrid.  

An agenda and information papers are sent to each trustee a week before each meeting.

It is important that trustees attend all of the Board meetings and fulfil their duty as a member of a committee.

What training and development opportunities are there?

All new trustees are required to partake in an induction programme that takes place very soon after the AGM. 

Trustees are also expected to attend a Board Away day, which usually takes place in September. 

They are also required to complete an on-line e-learning programme. The Association also provides trustees with further training and support appropriate to their role and skills.

There are also opportunities to update your knowledge and skills by attending the Association's conferences, AGM, regional meetings and conferences.

What about expenses and insurance?

Out of pocket expenses are available to all Association volunteers when acting on behalf of the Association, and undertaking their agreed role. This includes a mileage allowance and second-class travel on public transport. Where overnight accommodation is needed, this will be sourced and booked by a member of the Association’s dedicated team.

The Association has comprehensive employers and public liability insurance cover, together with limited indemnity insurance for trustees and volunteers.