Trustee Board Member

Change Lives in North Staffordshire

Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent is a local charity with a national reputation for improving the lives of thousands of local people each year.
We help address issues of poverty and inequality by providing advice and advocacy on issues such as personal debt, social security benefits, housing employment and immigration problems.

Alongside these traditional areas of advice work we run a 20 seat contact centre delivering consumer advice as part of a national helpline and host the countywide Staffordshire Victim Gateway, supporting victims of crime and offering restorative justice solutions.

As a charity our work is overseen by a Board of Trustees. Currently we have 10 Trustees, all of whom carry out this important role as volunteers. The main roles of the Trustee Board are to set the strategy, support staff to deliver it and scrutinise them to make sure they do.

To do this we need a mix of skills and experience. At the moment we are particularly keen to recruit new trustees with finance, ICT, HR and project management skills
If you have skills in any of these areas and want to join a highly motivated team of Trustees we would be delighted to hear from you.


Role Description – Trustee

The board of trustees is collectively responsible for the governance of the organisation, including setting an overall vision. This can broadly be defined as:
• Setting the strategic direction for the organisation.
• Supporting the staff to implement the strategy.

• Scrutinising the organisation to ensure that the strategy is being implemented and the organisation complies with all its legal responsibilities.

Each trustee is accountable for all the decisions taken by the Trustee Board, including those taken if they are absent. Once the Trustee Board has reached a decision, all individual members of the board are bound by it and must support it. No one member or group of members (e.g. a sub-committee) has the authority to take decisions or decide policy unless the Board has clearly delegated authority to them.

Main duties and responsibilities
Each individual member of the trustee board has a responsibility to contribute to the discharging of the board’s duties. They can do this by:
• maintaining an awareness of the business of the organisation
• taking responsibility for his or her own learning and development
• regularly attending, preparing for and participating in meetings
• actively contributing to setting policy and strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance
• monitoring whether the service complies with its governing document, whether it meets Citizens Advice standards and how well the advice needs of the local community are being met
• monitoring the financial position of the organisation and ensuring that it operates within its means and objects, and that there are clear lines of accountability for day-to-day financial management
• supporting the development of the organisation through participation in agreed projects
• actively seeking to further the strategic objectives of the organisation, and acting in the best interests of the bureau at all times
• maintaining confidentiality about any sensitive/confidential information received in the course of duties as a trustee
• taking part in Board sub-committees (personnel or finance), mentoring managers and taking part in appointment, appeal or disciplinary panels.


Personal skills and qualities
Each individual member of the trustee board brings skills and qualities to the board. They add to the collective knowledge and experience by providing:
• commitment and availability to attend trustee board meetings
• effective communication skills and willingness to participate actively in discussion
• willingness to gain knowledge of local needs and resources
• commitment to the aims, principles and policies of the Citizens Advice service, including those relating to equal opportunities and independence
• willingness and ability to act in the best interests of the bureau
• ability to understand and accept their responsibilities and liabilities as trustees and employers
• willingness to participate in democratic process which develops Citizens Advice  policies nationally
• numeracy to the extent required to understand CASNS accounts with the support of a treasurer
• willingness and ability to learn, and to develop and examine their own attitudes
• ability to think creatively and strategically, and exercise good, independent judgement
• ability to work effectively as a member of a team
• experience of the issues faced by the various communities served by the organisation.

In particular we would welcome applications from people interested in filling the role of Treasurer. This role is described below.

Main duties and responsibilities
• Guiding and advising the board in the approval of budgets, accounts and financial statements, within a relevant financial policy framework
• Keeping the board informed about its financial duties and responsibilities
• Advising on the financial implications of the organisation's strategic plans and key assumptions in the operational plan and annual budget
• Ensuring that all board members have a clear understanding of the accounts presented at meetings and the implications that they reveal
• Understanding the accounting procedures and key internal controls to be able to assure the board that the charity's financial integrity is sound
• Ensuring that a realistic budget is produced which meets all the organisation's needs and that there is an appropriate reserves policy
• Monitoring the organisation's income and expenditure position, and presenting reports to the board at least quarterly, in a format accessible to the board members
• Ensuring that full financial records are kept for all transactions, and that proper financial procedures and controls are in place to safeguard the organisation's resources
• Ensuring that money received is only spent on the purposes for which it was given, and, where required, ensuring that reports and accounts demonstrating this are submitted to funders
• Ensuring that accounts are prepared at year-end in compliance with the SORP Accounting for Charities and making arrangements for them to be audited or independently examined, as required by the Charity Commission
• Ensuring that annual accounts are submitted to the Charity Commission and/or Registrar of Companies, within the deadlines set
• Presenting the accounts at the AGM and drawing attention to important points in a coherent and understandable way
• Liaising with the CEO and Financial Controller about financial matters
• Playing a key role in planning a clear fundraising strategy to raise money for future activities and developments
• Chairing the finance sub-committee, and reporting back to the full board.

Personal skills and qualities
• financial qualifications or experience
• some experience or knowledge of charity finance, fundraising and pension schemes
• the skills to analyse proposals and examine their financial consequences
• preparedness to make unpopular recommendations to the board
• willingness to be available to staff to provide advice and guidance on financial matters.

To express an interest please send or email an introductory letter and a brief CV to - or post them FAO Linda Proud, at Advice House, Cheapside, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 1HL. If you would like to discuss this opportunity or find out more about Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent, please call our CEO Simon Harris on 01782-408650

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