Chair of Board of Trustees of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Job Title: Chair of Board of Trustees of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: Lambeth
Salary: 0 - 0
Reference: J75160
Contact Name: Rachel Ord
Job Published: October 13, 2021 10:01

Job Description

The SLBI, a unique centre of plant-focussed learning, seeks a Chair of Trustees to help implement our business plan, increase diversity and fulfil our mission: Discovering Plants, Enriching Lives, Sustaining the Future.

We are a unique botanical educational charity, currently changing and developing at an exciting pace. Our volunteers and supporters have a valued and vibrant tradition of sharing their passion for plants and fungi and their environments. 


What will you be doing?

The Chair provides leadership and direction to the SLBI’s trustees and staff, enabling them to fulfil their responsibilities for the overall governance and strategic direction of the SLBI.

The Board meets every 2 months. Trustees are generally active on operational sub-groups. and on tasks between meetings.  Time commitment varies, but is realistically several hours a week,

The main responsibilities of the Chair are to:

Provide leadership to the Board and ensure that trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the proper governance of the charity, including establishing and chairing the cycle of Board meetings, ensuring that accurate, timely and clear information is provided to trustees, and that the Board as a whole works in partnership with senior staff:
Ensure that the SLBI applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects;
Ensure that the Board reviews and develops our strategy and policies, including the preparation & implementation of business plans;
Work with the Treasurer, Finance Sub Committee, trustees and staff to ensure sound financial management, the setting and approval of budgets, ensuring expenditure is in line with objectives and that investment activities comply with the SLBI’s own investment policies, legal requirements and accepted fiduciary standards;
Ensure that trustees and staff undertake their duties in a way that promotes public confidence and trust in the charity;
Ensure that the performance of the Board is reviewed annually, maintain the focus and commitment of the Board, including renewal and succession planning, and help oversee the appointment of new trustees;

Prepare the agenda, chair trustee Meetings and ensure that they are  properly run and recorded, with Administrator support;
Exercise a casting vote if a vote on a trustees’ decision is tied, as allowed under paragraphs 16 and 38 of the SLBI Memorandum and Articles;
Act as a link between trustees, staff and wardens when required;
Subject to discussion - Line-manage the most senior member of staff (annual appraisal, regular support sessions, ad hoc mentoring/support);
To be the final arbiter in cases of complaint taken against the SLBI, in line with the SLBI Complaints Policy;
Liaise with and collaborate with the SLBI President on a regular basis to ensure plant science and education are prioritized within the organisation;
Act in the best interest of the SLBI at all times.


What are we looking for?

The SLBI seeks as Chair  a person who can help it further its mission, hold it to account, and who will champion its cause.  You will have a broad range of leadership and other skills. The charity generally has a consensual decision-making process, with the opinions and ideas of staff and other stakeholders sought when appropriate. Trustees are active and often have a ‘hands-on’ approach to operational as well as strategic matters and are supportive of each other through the sharing of skills and tasks. The charity is embarking on a new business plan that will aid recovery from theCovid-19 pandemic and further grow and professionalise the organisation over the next five years. With strong local links, the SLBI also has an increasingly wide reach.

In more detail:
The successful applicant will have a good understanding of charity governance and finance and of issues within the charitable sector, whether through employment, Board experience or combination.
You will be able to guide the charity as it faces both day-to-day and long-term challenges.
Ideally you will have previous, comparable or transferrable experience of chairing a small charity and of helping to manage change. The Chair will need good inter-personal skills to guide decision-making that may involve various opinions.
Ideally, you will understand how digital services contribute to learning and engagement.
You do not need to be a plant specialist, but will have an interest in plants, an enthusiasm for sharing that with people of all ages and backgrounds and a commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

The Chair should be comfortable representing the SLBI publicly and be prepared to speak on our behalf from time to time.
You are or will become, a member of the SLBI and will be a director of the company.
You will share our values of inclusivity, sustainability, conservation, transparency and knowledge-sharing so that you can use your experience and skills to help the SLBI to enable more people to understand and enjoy plants and value their role in sustaining life on the planet.
You will need to be able to access us in person as well as virtually.

The outgoing acting co-Chairs will provide induction for the successful candidate.


What's in it for the volunteer?

You'll be working in an exciting and relevant field, leading a  highly committed, friendly and skilled team that includes trustees, (part-time) staff and residential wardens.  Your fellow-trustees are hands-on, multi-skilled, supportive of staff and each other and committed to the changes and developments in the business plan and to the values of the organisation.  You'll share your expertise, values and enthusiasm.  You'll  develop new ones.  This role might be demanding at times, but always interesting, rewarding and stimulating. You'll be joining at an exciting time and will  make a real difference to the charity. 


Time commitment

Board meets every 2 months, Finance cttee also. You will sit on one or more of the operational/governance sub-groups. Reports/preparation/staff etc


Before you apply

Please submit a CV and a covering letter (no longer than two pages). This should include reasons why you are interested in being our Chair and the names of two referees. 

Deadline: 23 Oct 2021


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