Role, responsibilities and composition of the Trust Board


When we refer to “CHT”, we mean the Chamberlain Highbury Trust. CHT is an independent charitable trust.

Our Trust Board comprises a minimum of five and a maximum of 12 trustees, with scope also for co-option. The trustees’ duties, responsibilities and rights are set out in our Trust deed and in Charity Law.

We are responsible for looking after Highbury as its custodian for the benefit of the public. It is important to us that everyone can visit and work with us, without any barriers being put in their way. Equality, diversity and inclusion matter to us. We are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our employees, volunteers, and visitors. 

Our Trust Deed allows us to appoint a minimum of five trustees, and a maximum of 12. We can also co-opt trustees. Trustees are usually appointed for terms of 3 years and may be re-appointed at the end of a term, making the maximum continuous period of appointment six years. We can, exceptionally, grant one further term of three years if necessary.

Our governance arrangements are set out in our Trust deed.

The role of the Trust Board

The Trust Board is responsible for self-management: setting the structure, policies, and procedures that guide and support good governance. Individual trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the Trust Board and must work together to steer CHT towards a sustainable future. The Trust Board must make decisions that are fair and sensible as well as ethical and legal.

The Trust Board must always have in place appropriate governance and financial management policies. It must have a rigorous approach to risk management and horizon scanning. It must ensure that CHT has adequate resources to achieve its objectives.

The main duties of the Trust Board are to:

1.         To make a success of its management of Highbury and enhance Highbury’s reputation as an important heritage and historical centre.

2.         To deliver on CHT’s “public benefit” duty to ensure Highbury is open and accessible to all visitors and deliver on the Trust Board’s youth leadership education ambition.

3.         Run CHT in keeping with the principles of good governance and proper financial management and accounting.

4.         Ensure that the Trust Board has appropriate professional and administrative support to be able to action and implement its decisions.

5.         Set priorities and make sure CHT’s capacity to carry out services is adequate and review these regularly to achieve continuous improvement in performance.

6.         Manage CHT’s assets prudently to keep Highbury in the best possible condition.

7.         Be welcoming of all visitors to Highbury, making it accessible to all.

8.         Work for the benefit of Highbury and its neighbouring communities.

9.         Manage CHT’s staff and volunteers effectively.

10.       Establish and maintain good working relationships with all CHT’s stakeholders.

11.       Make and keep Highbury sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially.

12.       Provide fiscal responsibility, approving budgets and formulating appropriate financial policies, procedures and controls.

The responsibilities of the Trust Board

The Trust Board must set the conditions for efficient working by the Trust Board, its committees, task & finish groups and working parties and its trustees.

For example, the Trust Board must:

  • Produce a written role description for individual trustees
  • Maintain an annual calendar of CHT’s meetings and events
  • Circulate clear and thorough information about meetings, including an agenda, to all members at least one week before each meeting
  • Maintain complete and accurate minutes of all meetings
  • Keep meetings focused and stimulate participation by all members
  • Allow trustees opportunities to serve on committees, task & finish groups and working parties

The Trust Board must encourage smooth functioning of its committees, task & finish groups and working parties.

For example, the Trust Board must:

  • Prepare written terms of reference for committees and task & finish groups and working parties setting out responsibilities, guidelines, and goals. These organisational documents should be approved by the Trust Board’s Chair and reviewed every three years and revised if necessary
  • Distribute tasks among members of committees, task & finish groups and working parties so that everyone participates, and no-one is overloaded
  • Create a system of checks and balances to monitor members’ work and ensure that tasks are completed on schedule
  • Assign an appropriate staff member to work with each Committee
  • Acknowledge accomplishments and contributions of committees, task & finish groups and working parties at Trust Board meetings and in minutes.

Other basic responsibilities of the Trust Board include:

1.         Determine CHT’s aims and objectives

2.         Recruit CHT’s staff

3.         Support the staff and review their performance regularly

4.         Ensure effective organisational planning

5.         Ensure adequate resources

6.         Manage resources effectively

7.         Set out and monitor CHT operations

8.         Enhance CHT’s public image and reputation

9.         Assess its own performance.

The composition of the Trust Board

The Trust Board’s composition is set out in the Trust Deed.

The Trust Board needs to be able to draw on a range of skills, knowledge, qualities, attributes and backgrounds to ensure that the Trust Board has a wide enough range of expertise to work effectively and be able to accomplish CHT’s mission.

The Trust Board should aim for a balance whenever new trustees are recruited:

  • For their status, influence, contacts or public standing; and
  • For their specialist skills or knowledge; and
  • For their representation of those with a stake or interest in CHT’s work.

Considerations to which the Trust Board should have regard in respect of status, influence, contacts or public standing include reputation, record of achievement in architecture, heritage, history and involvement in leisure and hospitality in general, relevant positions held in the past or currently and networking skills.

In respect of specialist skills and knowledge the Trust Board has considered the relevant professional, business and personal skills it needs and believes they include financial, legal, running a business, fundraising, events management, governance and HR, heritage and history, conservation, community engagement, sustainability and project management (recognising that some of these can be bought in as professional services or consultancy).

In respect of representation of those with a stake or interest in CHT’s work, the Trust Board is committed to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion and will consider geographic, demographic and sectoral factors as well as breadth of stakeholder representation and the multidisciplinary nature of the work needed to be done for CHT to achieve its mission.

Achieving a balance that enables the Trust Board to operate effectively is a matter of judgement. The Trust Board should have regard to achieving this balance every time it considers recruitment and retention of new trustees.

The Trustees