Governance

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How is the National Trust run? Who makes the fundamental decisions that shape our future? As an influential volunteer, it could be you.

A charity, a conservation body, a curator of beautiful places and spaces – and so much more. We’re also a major commercial enterprise, a retailer, a restaurant chain, a visitor attraction. There is no other organisation in the UK like the National Trust. And it’s that exceptional breadth of opportunity and challenge that makes working with us so incredibly stimulating.

Working with us in a non-executive capacity is a wonderfully rewarding experience: it’s an opportunity to have a real say in our current and future operations. In return for your time, knowledge and expertise, you’ll have the chance to shape our work as you help to grow the nation’s love of special places.

Whatever your area of interest, you’ll find a range of appealing non-executive opportunities here. The places we look after are varied and for everyone – we’re keen to reflect this in our governance community. We welcome applications from people of all ages, areas and backgrounds who can positively contribute to our work. The details of our appointment or election processes are clearly outlined in each vacancy.

A summary of how our governance structure works is available here.

The principles underlying our non-executive appointments

We recognise that one of the most important means by which openness, transparency and accountability can be achieved is through the appointment or election, as appropriate, of high-calibre volunteers capable of overseeing the governance arrangements of the Trust, ensuring that it remains focused on achieving its mission efficiently and effectively.

The Board of Trustees and the various Nominations Committees of the Council play a key role in the process of non-executive appointments and elections. An external member sits on each of these Nominations Committees to increase the rigour of our procedures.

Before an appointment or election process is initiated for any of the bodies in the governance structure, the relevant committee will take into account:

  • the aims and purposes of the body concerned
  • the knowledge, skills and experience required for the position in question
  • the intention to create a diverse and effective body
  • the intention to meet standards of good governance
  • the intention to avoid conflicts of interest.

These aims will be pursued in a manner proportionate to the nature of the positions to be filled.

The Committees will ensure that appointment and election processes are:

  • conducted in an open and transparent way
  • applied in a fair, equitable, objective and impartial manner
  • designed to be thorough, robust and expeditious
  • applied consistently
  • fully explained and readily comprehensible.

Typical governance opportunities

Trustee

Our Board of Trustees is the National Trust’s governing body. In many ways, they’re our guardians, our conscience. Their role is to ensure that we have a clear vision and a strategy in place, and that we’re doing everything we say we’ll do. 

Council Member

Providing guidance and perspective, appointing our Trustees and ultimately holding the Board of Trustees to account, the Council is the guardian of our spirit and long-term objectives. 

Committee Member

Our Audit, Investment and Senior Management Remuneration Committees provide oversight and assurance in their specialist areas and report into our Board of Trustees.

Other types of non-executive opportunities

Member of a Regional/Country Advisory Board

With a real passion for your region, you’ll advise, support and challenge Regional/Country Directors and their teams to help them deliver the Trust’s strategy in their area.

Member of an Advisory Group

With your specialist perspective, and skills and knowledge which complement that of our staff, you’ll provide advice to assist in developing and delivering the Trust’s strategy in one of the following areas: Historic Environment; Natural Environment; Collections and Interpretation; Commercial.

Meet our volunteers

  • Volunteer Margaret

    Elizabeth Hamilton

    appointed Council member

    Originally a plant ecologist and woodland management specialist, I’ve worked and volunteered in countryside protection and conservation for a variety of organisations since 1977. I have supported and admired the Trust’s work for many years and enjoy exploring coast and countryside properties as well as the Trust’s houses and gardens. With governance experience as a county branch chairman and national board trustee for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), I was delighted to be asked to become CPRE’s appointee on the Trust’s Council. It has been fantastic to meet many people involved with the Trust and have a role in guiding the organisation. The Trust is concerned with such a wide range of issues that every Council member has something to contribute, so it’s been a learning experience for me too.

  • Volunteer Margaret

    Sanya Sheikh

    elected Council member

    Working in the digital technology sector I am acutely aware of how important it is to stay connected. My support for the National Trust stems from my belief that there is no more important connection than the one we have with nature. The Trust undertakes an incredible breadth of work, much of which I would not have known about prior to joining the council. For those interested in a voluntary governance role, the council offers a fascinating and rewarding insight into the Trust, as well as the opportunity to be able to help guide it towards a more successful future. As a Council member I have been impressed by the passion and expertise of my colleagues and believe a further diversity of voices would only benefit the organisation as a whole.

  • Volunteer Margaret

    Justin Atkinson

    member of the Audit Committee

    I sit on a number of boards including one as an Audit Chairman, so hopefully I bring a current, external perspective to this role. The Trust is a large organisation with annual revenues of more than £500m and has the responsibility of looking after several billion pounds worth of heritage assets. Therefore, it is very important that the governance function ensures that the financial reporting processes and internal controls framework are robust. I am pleased to be able to play my part in this and to work alongside high calibre people who work with such dedication, enthusiasm and commitment.

  • Volunteer Margaret

    Bob Brown

    Chair of Northern Ireland’s Regional Advisory Board

    I worked for the National Trust on Strangford Lough in my earlier years, and my career as a marine biologist and general nature conservation has kept me involved with the Northern Ireland team ever since – after all, we do have about 22% of Northern Ireland’s remarkable coast! But my enthusiasm for the Trust is much broader than that. Some of the most iconic landscape and cultural features, landscapes, gardens, historic houses, are in our care and they’re vital to a community still trying to find itself after years of conflict. I was delighted to be offered a place on the Regional Advisory Board – we have a central role to play in advising the team on the challenges this presents, horizon scanning for issues, providing local feedback. Later, to be appointed as Chair, gave me even greater insight into the dedication and skill of our staff and volunteers and how the whole system fits together. There’s no organisation like the National Trust in the world, and it’s a real privilege to be a small, but hopefully useful, part of it.

  • Volunteer Margaret

    Michael Walker

    member of the Historic Environment Group

    I work for St Modwen, a leading regeneration specialist which owns the 725 acre Trentham Estate in Staffordshire. The challenges and opportunities we face at Trentham are little different to those experienced by the National Trust. I believe in using the significance of the past to help support the revival of gardens and landscape in contemporary ways which are relevant to their audience today. The Trust cares for truly amazing places with an extremely experienced and professional people. The Historic Environment Group is invited to look at a diverse range of issues which includes gardens and landscape, as well as offering specialist advice to the teams on the ground. We are here to support the Trust but I often feel that we gain as much out of the time we contribute in terms of our own learning and CPD as the Trust receives from us in return.

Current governance opportunities

Here you’ll find information on current and future senior governance opportunities.

Please remember, we welcome applications from people of all ages, areas and backgrounds who can positively contribute to our work. If you don’t find the role you are searching for today, we'd still love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us.

Volunteer Members of the Natural Environment Advisory Group

  • As part of our mission to restore a healthy beautiful natural environment and continue to look after what we’ve got, we are welcoming new members who can contribute with their unique expertise to the Natural Environment Advisory Group. As a volunteer member, you will act as a source of advice to all aspects of land, outdoors and nature. We are looking for new members who are capable of working at a strategic level at group meetings, and on visits to regional Trust sites.

    Experience of working on landscape-scale projects and previous involvement in conducting or commissioning research is desirable.

    The role requires a commitment of up to ten days a year and is for an initial term of three years, with the potential for a second term. Advisory Groups each meet twice per year with an Advisory Groups Conference for all groups in the summer.

    The positions are voluntary, with expenses paid. To find out more about this position and how to apply, please click the button below.

    Applicants must submit a short CV and a covering letter expressing why they feel motivated to join the Group.

    This recruitment process is for terms beginning in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020.

    Closing date: 21st June 2019, at 12:00

    Find out more

Volunteer Members of the Growing Support Advisory Group

  • Our Advisory Group members contribute with their unique expertise and act as critical friends of the Trust. We focus on four areas of development: effortless engagement, building relationships, sustainable growth and diversifying funding. This Advisory Group will support the Trust directorate responsible for creating 92% of the Trust’s income and looks after over 6 million supporters. We are looking for people who are active and experts in their roles, who are part of commercial or membership-led organisations, part of a visitor business or engaged in fundraising activities.

    Membership of an Advisory Group is for an initial term of three years, with the potential for a second term. The Growing Support Advisory Group is expected to meet twice per year to share and discuss our broad plans for the Trust to grow support and deliver revenue.

    The positions are voluntary with expenses paid. To find out more about this position and how to apply, please click the button below.

    Applicants must submit a short CV and a covering letter expressing why they feel motivated to join the Group.

    Closing date: 23rd June 2019, at 12:00

    Find out more

Vacancy for two members of the Investment Committee

  • Why is this important?

    We look after special places forever, for everyone, and these roles provide an opportunity to really make a difference by helping us to achieve sound investment returns for the long term. Our investment portfolio currently generates around £48m per annum that we then spend on our conservation activities. Our investments have a huge impact on our nation’s heritage assets, and we are looking for your help to ensure this remains the case.

    About the Investment Committee

    The Investment Committee is appointed by our Board of Trustees to assist the Board in monitoring the Trust’s investment portfolio of around £1.3 billion which is looked after by eight institutional fund managers.

    The Committee’s main responsibilities include recommending an appropriate investment strategy and asset allocation model for the portfolio, monitoring the performance of our external investment managers, overseeing the selection process for new fund managers, recommending income distribution rates and preparing reports on performance.

    The Committee is also responsible for developing the Trust’s policy on environmental, social and governance issues in the portfolio and ensuring they are aligned to the charity’s own values.

    You can view or download below the Committee’s full terms of reference and an information document which includes our investment objectives and strategy.

    About you

    We are looking for two people who will provide independent, objective and challenging contributions to the Committee’s work. You will have experience as an asset owner, trustee, investment management or investment consultancy.

    Experience of serving on a similar committee in a non-executive and/or voluntary capacity is desirable. Knowledge of the charity sector and understanding of investment management from a charity perspective would be an advantage but is not essential.

    We are keen to encourage diversity of background and thought in our Investment Committee community.

    You can view or download below the full candidate profile.

    Further reading

    Time commitment and expenses

    The successful candidates will be appointed for an initial term of three years from 1 September 2019 and can expect to contribute about 6 days a year on Committee business.

    The Committee meets four times a year in either London, Swindon or at properties. A full induction is available. The role is voluntary but we reimburse expenses.

    How to apply – closing date 30 June 2019

    If you would find it helpful to speak to a member of staff from our treasury team who works with our Investment Committee please let us know and we will arrange for someone to contact you.

    Please provide a full CV and a covering letter which explains how you are suited to the role, along with details of two referees. Please also complete an equality and diversity questionnaire.

    Please send your application to us at this address:

    Jo Cooke
    Deputy Secretary
    National Trust
    Heelis
    Kemble Drive
    Swindon
    SN2 2NA
    Enquiries: 01793 817663
    Email: governance@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Please ensure your application reaches us by Sunday 30 June 2019.

    Interviews

    Short listed candidates will be invited to attend an interview in central London on Monday 15 July 2019.

Member of the Senior Management Remuneration Committee

  • Why is this important?

    Working with the National Trust in a non-executive advisory capacity is an opportunity to contribute to the delivery of our strategy. In return for your time, knowledge and expertise, you’ll have the chance to work alongside our trustees and senior executives, supporting us to look after special places, forever, for everyone.

    About the SMRC

    This Committee manages the remuneration and terms of employment of senior managers. The Committee’s remit includes the remuneration of the Director-General, her Executive Team and grade 2 senior directors. The Committee oversees senior succession planning, maximising our managerial talent, ensuring our high-calibre senior management team can deliver the Trust’s strategy and annual business plan.

    The Committee is made up of at least three members of the Board of Trustees, and one or two external independent members. The Committee meets formally twice a year although our independent members are often asked to provide advice or input every couple of months.

    You can read or download more about the role.

    Our Committee members are champions of the Trust. You can read an article below by David Conroy, one of our former independent members, about what it’s like to support us in getting reward right for our senior executives.

    About you

    We are looking for someone who has a real passion for the Trust and understands and appreciates our core purpose and strategy. Our ethos is based on looking after and sharing special places and as a member of the Committee you’ll have a valuable part to pay in how this happens. You’ll be helping to ensure we attract, recruit, retain and motivate the very best people to lead our organisation forward and deliver our strategy.

    We’re looking for someone that has extensive HR experience, gained in large complex organisations, or as an experienced HR consultant. You will have worked at a senior level in different organisations, across a number of sectors. You’ll have a good understanding of compensation and benefits and you’ll be able to share your extensive HR experience, encouraging the things we’re getting right, and supporting us to develop ways in which we might do it better. It’s not about approvals but generating the big ideas. It’s about enhancing existing strategies and helping us develop new ones. And it’s about making a real, tangible difference to the organisation you love.

    Knowledge of the charity sector and an understanding of the National Trust would be an advantage but is not essential.

    We are keen to encourage diversity of background and thought in our SMRC community.

    You can view or download below the full candidate profile.

    Further reading

    Time commitment and expenses

    The appointment is for an initial term of three years from 1 October 2019. The time commitment is approximately 2-4 days a year on Committee business, although this may be slightly higher in the first year to allow for a full induction. The successful candidate would be invited to attend the Committee’s next meeting in the autumn of 2019 as member-elect.

    The role is voluntary but we reimburse expenses.

    How to apply – closing date 28 July 2019

    Please provide a full CV and a covering letter which explains how you are suited to the role, along with details of two referees. Please also complete an equality and diversity questionnaire.

    Please send your application to us at this address:

    Jo Cooke
    Deputy Secretary
    National Trust
    Heelis
    Kemble Drive
    Swindon
    SN2 2NA
    Enquiries: 01793 817663
    Email: governance@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Please ensure your application reaches us by Sunday 28 July 2019.

    Interviews

    Short listed candidates will be invited to attend an interview in central London on Wednesday 11 September 2019.