We are recruiting for Trustees!

Like most charities, Community Action: MK  is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Trustees all live in, near to, or have strong links with Milton Keynes.  They are volunteers and are appointed to the board for a three-year term. They have ultimate responsibility for the sound professional, legal, and financial management of Community Action:MK  and they set and monitor the strategic direction of the organisation.

As a charity in and for MK, we want to recruit people who live or work in MK.  We are particularly interested to hear from you if you have skills in any of the following areas: Finance and Investment expertise, Legal expertise, Company Law and Regeneration.

Our board is under-represented by some groups including Black and Minoritised Communities, people with disabilities, younger people (over the age of 18) and people from the LGBTQ+ community. We want to ensure we better reflect the diversity of the communities that we serve so we particularly welcome interest and applications from people of these backgrounds.

If this is your first Trustee role, we have a full trustee induction process, ongoing training, and a buddy scheme to support you through your first year. 

If you have the skills and experience that we are looking for, the commitment to share in the governance of our work and are passionate about support for the Voluntary and Community Sector, then we would be delighted to hear from you.

The Role of a Trustee

The Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Trust and ensuring it performs well. Because of the Trust’s significant role in the city’s future, being a Trustee is a position of influence and great responsibility, now and for future generations.

Our Trustees are people who care about Milton Keynes and who recognise the vital contribution the Voluntary and Community Sector makes to the quality of life for everyone living and working here. If you support our aims and are prepared to give some of your time to this important role, we would like to hear from you.  

The role of Trustee is interesting and rewarding and one in which your knowledge and skills will be harnessed to make a positive contribution.

Skills and experience needed on the Board

  • An appreciation of the support voluntary and community organisations need to run well: safely, effectively and legally. 
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of trusteeship
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • The time to commit to carrying out the role
  • An understanding of the need to be impartial and objective and always act in the best interests of the organisation. 
  • An understanding of the need for Community Action:MK  to engage with the whole community
  • A willingness to get to know the work of Community Action: MK and attend events throughout the year: most importantly our Annual General Meeting in October.   
  • Able to access the Internet for online meetings
The Board needs to have people with a mix of skills and experience including:
  • Business Development
  • Charity governance
  • Community Development
  • Digital transformation skills
  • Finance
  • Investment management
  • HR
  • Marketing and communications
  • Planning and urban design
  • Social Justice

From time to time, we review the skills and experience on the Board and aim to recruit people with specific skills and experience to ensure gaps do not occur as trustees retire. The Charity Code of Governance provides guidance relating to the number of Trustees which is optimum for a board: between five and twelve.  

The role of the Board of Trustees

The main purpose of the Board of Trustees is:

  • To set and monitor the strategic direction of the charity and to ensure that our strategy is aligned with the values and mission of the Trust;
  • To ensure the Trust is effectively managed and complies with all relevant law and has the resources, policies, and structures necessary to be effective and ensure the highest standards of corporate governance;
  • To set the way the Trust is governed and monitor, guide and authorise the work of its sub-committees;
  • To approve all major decisions and policies and the annual accounts;
  • To ensure that appropriate protection, systems, and checks remain in place to mitigate exposure of the Trust to major risks;
  • To appoint and appraise the Chief Executive.

Community Action: MK is a Company and a Charity and therefore its Trustees are also Company Directors. The Full Board meets four times a year. Most meetings take place in the early evenings online via MS Teams.  You would need access to a secure and private venue to participate in meetings.  

The Board of Trustees has an Executive Committee, which involves the Chair, the Vice Chair and the Treasurer and this Committee meets approximately four times a year. 

Depending on the work of the organisation we also run Task and Finish Groups which involve Trustees and Staff.  Example Task and Finish Groups include: Five Year Strategic Plan, Staff Wellbeing and Membership.

Being a Trustee requires involvement of around 8 – 20 days per year. Trustees are unpaid, but expenses may be reclaimed. Trustees are normally appointed for a three-year period of office and may be reappointed for two further terms of three years.

Trustees’ legal responsibilities

All Trustees must administer their charity in accordance with the terms of its governing document. In our case this is the Memorandum and Articles of Association which set out the objects and powers that the Trustees can exercise in pursuing those objects on behalf of the organisation.

As a charity Trustee you will be taking on significant responsibility, but the law protects Trustees who have acted reasonably, and it is extremely rare for a Trustee to be made personally liable.  Community Action:MK is incorporated and this provides protection to Trustees. The Trustees are further protected by the fact that the Trust employs professional staff and advisors, and the Board seeks their advice on all matters.   

Charities are no different to other organisations in the duty of care owed to their employees and beneficiaries.  Trustees must satisfy themselves that we have in place proper management systems and processes and appropriate insurance cover.  The organisation also holds Trustee Indemnity Insurance.   

Trustee training

New Trustees receive an induction which includes a briefing by the Chief Executive and other senior managers. Trustees are also given an induction pack containing the core documents such as the Articles of Association and Charity Commission guidance.

Who can be a Trustee?

You need to be 18 years or over to be a Trustee. Certain people are legally disqualified, but this only affects a small number of people such as undischarged bankrupts, those disqualified from being company directors, and those who have been convicted of any offence involving deception or dishonesty.

Conflicts of interest

We would like Trustees who are actively involved in Milton Keynes’ community. Given that VCSE activity is so prevalent in Milton Keynes,  there will inevitably be occasions when there might be conflicts of interest. In these situations, the person should declare an interest and not seek to influence the discussion and decision.  Conflicts of Interest are requested and recorded at the start of all Trustee Meetings. 

How new Trustees are appointed

If you would like to be considered, please download and complete the expression of interest form here, and email back to Clare Walton, Chief Executive at clare@communityactionmk.org, or get in touch for a formal discussion.  We are looking to recruit two new Trustees by our Annual General Meeting on 20 October 2023. 

Appointment Timetable: 

Three Drop In Sessions with Clare Walton, Chief Executive and Diane Webber, Chair of Trustees: 

  • 30 August: 2-3pm – Acorn House Cafe
  • 30 August: 7-8pm. Book here for an online meeting slot.
  • 5 September: 7-8pm. Book here for an online meeting slot.
  • 22 September: Applications Submitted
  • 28 September: 7-8pm – Candidates Event: to be confirmed
  • 2 and 3 October: Interviews
  • 20 October: Appointed to the Board at the Annual General Meeting 

Decisions on who to invite onto the Board are always made with a view to filling any skill gaps and assembling a board with an appropriate mix of knowledge and experience. Therefore, if there is not a space immediately we would like to retain the details of those applying as we need to regularly renew and refresh the Board and vacancies will arise in the future.

Clare Walton 

Chief Executive Community Action: MK
Acorn House, 351 Midsummer Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3HP

Telephone: 01908 661623

Email: clare@communityactionmk.org

Useful links

Community Action:MK  Annual Report

Getting on Board – Resources for aspiring trustees

Gov.UK – Charity trustee – What’s involved

Blog Post

Trustees’ Week 7-11 November

We’re in the midst of Trustees’ Week, an opportunity to highlight the vital role trustees play in  charities. This year’s theme is ‘making a difference in changing times’, a reflection of the uncertain and difficult landscape faced by the sector and society as a whole. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and impact of trustees;their voluntary commitment ensures charities and groups can continue to support communities in Milton Keynes and beyond.

You can read more about the Community Action: MK trustees here. Their dedication, knowledge of Milton Keynes communities and wealth of experience provides invaluable support for the work of Community Action: MK, we’d like to thank them for their year-round efforts, including appearances as Easter bunnies (!), representing Community Action: MK on national news, supporting events, and the behind-the-scenes diligence that ensures we can strengthen the Milton Keynes community and VCSE sector. 

Thinking of becoming a trustee?

If our trustees have inspired you, and you’re interested in finding a trustee role, you can join our community on the volunteering platform DoIt. life, where you can browse opportunities by searching for ‘trustee’. You can also book a support session with our Volunteering Coordinator, who will help you connect to a role, email support@communityactionmk.org if you’d like to find out more.

Becoming a trustee has many benefits, it can provide connections, it’s also a valuable CPD opportunity. Read more about the positive impact of becoming a trustee here. 

Are you looking for a trustee?

If you have vacant trustee roles and would like our support getting to word out, we can promote the opportunity across our social media channels, on our website and in the weekly newsletter which reaches 1300 inboxes. Email support@communityactionmk.org with the role description and contact details.

Getting on Board supports the diversification of boards, providing guidance and empowering individuals from all sectors of society in becoming a trustee. They also provide guidance for organisations in their commitment to recruiting a representative board.

Their Festival of Trusteeship offers a programme of online events this Trustees’ Week, with info and panel sessions demystifying trusteeship.

Are you already a trustee, looking for resources to help you in your role?

Trustees’ Week has compiled a comprehensive compendium of resources, including links to the Charity Commission’s 5-minute reads for potential and existing trustees.

The National Council for Voluntary Action (NCVO) offers a concise run-down of the legal duties of trustees, with the Resource Centre providing a checklist of the responsibilities of management committees.  You can also find further guidance in our Information Sheets. 

Blog Post Shaping Decision Making and Policy Volunteering

Trustees’ Week: Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre are seeking a Trustee with Legal Experience

As part of Trustees’ Week, we’re highlighting trustee roles in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC) is a Registered Educational Charity with a Trading Arm, and is a company limited by guarantee.

MKCDC are based at the beautiful Scheduled Ancient Monument medieval site of Bradwell Abbey, with several medieval buildings in situ, and 13 acres of woodland and landscaping. Their site and business are a hidden gem within the modern city of Milton Keynes.

They have recently completed a conservation project, and as a result, are ready to action the parts of their Business Plan that will see the site developing into an operational heritage attraction. 

They are now looking for a new Trustee with legal experience, to start immediately once interviews and checks have taken place. The role is voluntary, but expenses are offered:

Trustee with Legal Experience

Reports to: The Board

Purpose of the role:

In partnership with the Director to advise on and ensure the legal compliance of the organisation

Advise on appropriate legal matters where necessary

Main duties:

Advise as necessary/appropriate on legal matters affecting the organisation

Communicate with relevant staff and other committee members so as to maintain a clear picture of the legal compliance of the organisation as and when necessary

With the Director, advise on appropriate organisation policy and procedure

Key qualities:

A knowledge of legal requirements for charities and trading bodies

Ability to communicate and advise on legal practice relating to charities and trading bodies

Any legal background considered, although property, and/or staff and/or contract experience is desirable.

Please contact the Director, Noël James, via email if you are interested: 

Director@mkcdc.org.uk, attaching CV and cover letter, or alternatively post to Dr. Noël James. MKCDC, Bradwell Abbey, Alston Drive, Milton Keynes,MK13 9AP.

Please call 07951 997334 if you would like to discuss before applying.

Blog Post Volunteering