A Trustee, as a member of the Board of Trustees, is a person who shares ultimate responsibility for governing our charity and directing how it is managed and run.
The Oxfordshire Science Festival Ltd (OSF) is a registered charity and is governed and directed by a Board of Trustees. OSF recognises that an effective board of Trustees is essential if the charity is to achieve its objectives. The aims of the Festival (branded ‘IF Oxford Science + Ideas Festival’) is to develop and deliver an accessible, thought-provoking and interactive science and ideas festival creating an opportunity for the public to engage with Festival visitors, researchers and innovators. The Festival is independent but works in partnership with our sponsors and stakeholders to ensure events are relevant and accessible to all. The Festival is planned and delivered by a Festival Director and Events Manager under the direction of a Trustee Board.
Role and Responsibilities of a Trustee
Individual Trustees must have sufficient knowledge, both of Trusteeship in general and of the Charity’s activities, to enable them to carry out their role and to represent the Charity at meetings and other events. It is the role of the Trustee Board to approve the strategy of the Festival drawn up by the Festival Director, including approving the Festival budget, and to oversee its implementation. The Trustees will ensure that the Director, staff and volunteers who deliver the Festival are appropriately supported.
There are two types of Trustee:
- Ex-Officio Trustees who represent funding mechanisms for the Festival, currently The Oxford Trust, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University. For the avoidance of doubt ex-Officio Trustees are expected to bring significant funding (whether monetary or by the way of quantifiable in-kind support) to the Festival.
- Volunteer Trustees who have a personal interest in developing and delivering the Festival vision.
The Charity Commission Sets out the 6 main duties of a charity Trustee, namely:
- Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit.
- To manage the charity’s resources responsibly.
- To ensure the charity’s activities comply with its governing document and the law.
- To act in the charity’s best interests.
- Act with reasonable care and skill.
- Ensure your charity is accountable.
Further details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-essential-Trustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3
The Articles of Association registered on Companies House set out the rules governing the Charity.
The Charity must have a minimum of 3 Trustee members. No person is eligible to be a Trustee if they are:
- Under 18 years of age.
- Are serving a conviction.
- Have recently filed for bankruptcy.
For the full details of the terms and conditions of being a Trustee please refer to the Articles of Association for the Oxfordshire Science Festival Ltd. The key points are summarised below:
- New Trustee members will be appointed by a vote of the existing Trustee members.
- The new Trustee member, if appointed or reappointed, is required to be included in the Charity’s register of Trustees together with a notice executed by that person of their willingness to be appointed or reappointed.
The new Trustee must confirm that they are eligible and willing to hold the post of Trustee member.
The Board seeks to be broadly representative of the people with whom the charity works, whether that be participants or the audience it seeks to reach. Furthermore, the Board must have available to it all of the knowledge and skills required to run the Charity and be fully compliant.
The Board will maintain an active matrix of the skills and experience of the Trustee members. This will be referred to whenever a new Trustee is recruited to the Board and efforts at recruiting a replacement will take account of the skills matrix, the skills being lost by the resignation of a Trustee and future skills needs. Consideration must also be given to any specific roles or duties that the individual leaving the board was undertaking.
Recruiting New Trustees: Recruitment Process
Once the ideal skill/experience profile has been identified a recruitment plan will be formulated. This will identify the most appropriate resources from which applicants might be found and promotion of the vacancy will be though channels decided and agreed by the Board of Trustees.
OSF seeks to ensure diversity in its Board of Trustees and consideration will be given to ways in which groups that are under-represented on the Board might be reached and encouraged to apply. At the point of selection, the Board will not discriminate unfairly on any of the grounds listed in the Diversity and Equality Policy.
People enquiring about potential Trustee vacancies will be sent appropriate documentation about OSF and introductory material about the role and responsibilities of being a Trustee. Applicants will be asked to send in a CV and supporting letter.
Applicants who appear suitable will be invited to attend a Trustee Board meeting as an observer Trustee. In the event of there being a large number of applicants those most closely matching the skills required will be approached at this stage in preference to less suitable applicants; however, consideration will be given to appointing more than one suitable applicant.
Potential Trustees will be given access to:
The applicant may be invited to meet with the Chair of Trustees and/or one or two other Trustees to discuss the Trustee position and answer any questions the candidate raises.
The applicant will be asked to declare any conflicts of interest, if necessary, the Board may request reference(s) which will be taken up prior to the next Board meeting. The applicant will be required to sign a declaration that they are not disqualified from being a Trustee as per section 72 (1) of The Charities Act 1993.
The applicant will be asked whether or not they wish to be appointed and will be given the opportunity to attend a further meeting as an observer should they wish to do so.
The observations and recommendations of the panel will be put to the following Board meeting and a vote taken by the Trustee Board on whether to appoint the applicant.
New Trustees will be expected to meet with the Festival Team to get an in-depth view of the Festival format, challenges, opportunities and vision and thereby be able to represent the Festival in discussions and at events.
Trustees are expected to attend the quarterly Trustee Board meetings, currently held on Friday afternoons.
Trustees are required to work for the benefit of the Festival, as permitted by their regular employment (if any).
Where relevant Trustees are expected to make use of their network of contacts for the benefit of the Festival.
Trustees are expected to support Festival events. This may include, but is not limited to:
- introducing speakers,
- volunteering at events,
- helping in the planning and delivery of activities,
- representing OSF and the Festival at networking events,
- raising the profile of OSF and the Festival,
- attracting sponsors,
- supporting feedback initiatives (e.g. the 360 feedback surveys).
The role of a Trustee is voluntary and unpaid. In exceptional circumstances and with approval of the Trustee Board expenses may be paid to cover the cost of attending meetings.