YWT's Board at Appleton Mill Farm, May 2015
The role of the Board
The ultimate governing body of the Trust is an elected Board of Trustees. The Board is responsible for ensuring that the Trust carries out its charitable Objects in accordance with the relevant legislation. With the Chief Executive, the Trustees agree and set out the policy and strategy to be implemented by the Trust’s staff. The Board sets the overall vision, mission, policy and goals, in line with the national strategies of The Wildlife Trusts’ Partnership, ensuring that the values and good name of the Trust are safeguarded. It must also ensure the Trust’s financial stability and the effective management of its assets.
The Board meets formally at least five times a year to discuss Trust business and to take major decisions. It also approves the Annual Business Plan and Budget. The summary of business discussed for each meeting can be viewed here.
The Board decides on the appropriate number of members of the Board, up to a maximum of 21. It is currently set at 15. A trustee having served two continuous terms of office (generally eight years) is not eligible for re-election until the Annual General Meeting in the year following the end of the second term of office. The Board has the power to co-opt members to fill vacancies until the next AGM.
The Board is led by a Chair, elected annually by the Trustees, who ensures that the Board operates effectively and works closely with the Chief Executive. The Board is also supported by the Honorary Secretary/Company Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer with specific duties for the management of legal and financial responsibilities.
The Board may also appoint sub-committees to which it may delegate authority for particular areas of its work. Currently there is only one in operation – the Finance and Risks Committee, which ensures that suitable financial systems and controls are in place and working effectively and that risks are properly identified, managed, mitigated and reported to the Board. The Board also authorises the activities of local supporters groups.
How to become a Trustee
Any member of the Trust may become a Trustee, provided they are eligible to stand for election under both company law and charity law, and there are no fixed qualifications. In fact a wide range of skills and experience is required in order for the Board to operate effectively as each Trustee is expected to bring strategic, social, economic and environmental direction to the Board. New Board members are required every year as Trustees may only serve for a maximum of 8 years before standing down for at least a year.
Notices of elections and particular recruitment needs are placed in the relevant edition of Wildlife Yorkshire magazine and on the Trust's website. All applicants are interviewed by the Nominations Panel for suitability to join the Board before they go forward for consideration at the AGM. Trustees are elected by members at the Annual General Meeting, or by postal ballot if there are more nominations than vacancies.