Become a trustee
Become an Alliance Trustee
Alliance members are a vital part of the charity’s structure and can become trustees at the Alliance. Trustees play an enormously important role in supporting the strategic direction of our work.
What do Trustees do?
Only Alliance members can become trustees at the charity. Members of the Board of Trustees are the governing trustees of the charity.
The charity’s governing document (Memorandum and Articles of Association) states that:
“The overall management and control of the Charity shall vest in the Board of Trustees as the directors and charity trustees of the Charity.”
It is important that Alliance trustees understand that:
- The role of the Board of Trustees is strategic, rather than operational.
- The Board’s function is to create a policy framework for the work of staff and to oversee the charity's finances.
- They have responsibilities in law and are accountable for any deficiency in the management and control of the charity. These responsibilities cannot be delegated.
- The Trustees are ultimately responsible for ensuring that there are effective procedures and controls in place and that there is an up-to-date risk management system in place.
The powers and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees are set out in Article 6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association which is the charity’s governing document.
How long do Trustees serve for?
After an election of individuals to the Board of Trustees, the term of office is for a period of three years. Alliance members may serve as Trustees (if re-elected) for up to twelve successive years.
How much time do they commit a year?
- At least four meetings of the Board of Trustees take place each year - usually one day meetings, held at a venue in London.
- Preparation time before meetings - reading and absorbing the agenda and associated papers.
- Attendance at the National Forum and AGM once each year. Trustees are also invited to the annual member conference which takes place London, every June.
- Occasionally consultation of members of the Board by telephone, post and e-mail may be necessary on occasions where a speedy response is required.
- Though not obligatory Trustees may be asked to serve on working groups and attend Divisional Forums – this may require a further 4-6 days per year plus preparation time.
- Those elected as Chair, Vice-Chair or Treasurer must be able to give more time.
Do Trustees receive any support or training?
- While being legally responsible for the actions of the charity, the Trustees delegate the operation of the charity to the Chief Executive who is responsible for managing the charity's affairs through the charity's line management structure to national centre departments and to divisional and sub-committee offices.
- The Chief Executive and other senior staff provide reports, statistics and advice to the Board of Trustees.
- A training and induction programme is provided and this will require three additional days of time commitment prior to taking up office.
Who is eligible to apply?
Any Alliance member is eligible for nomination in an election as an Elected Trustee. The nomination form needs to be signed by the relevant candidate. It should also be seconded by another Alliance member who meets the Trustee eligibility criteria. In the case of Childcare Provider or Family membership, it should represent a different membership number to that of the nominee. Alliance Members cannot second more than one application and applications cannot be seconded by a member who is also a nominee.
An individual is eligible if:
- they are 18 years or older; and
- they a Full Individual Member of the Charity; or
- they are a member of a family holding Full Family Membership of the Charity; or
- they are nominated by a setting that is a Full or Affiliate Childcare Provider Member of the Charity; and
- the membership has been in place for a period of at least 12 months prior to the date that the nomination papers are signed.
An individual engaged in paid employment with the Charity is not eligible to be elected as a Trustee.
Who is not eligible to apply?
From 1 January 1993 certain people are legally disqualified and forbidden from continuing as an Alliance trustee, or from becoming an Alliance trustee if they have been/are:
- convicted at any time of any offence involving deception or dishonesty, unless the conviction is legally regarded as spent
- undischarged bankrupts
- at any time been removed by the Commissioners or by the court in England, Wales or Scotland from being a trustee because of misconduct
- disqualified from being company directors
- failed to make payments under county court administration orders.
It may be possible to apply to the Commissioners for a waiver which, if granted, may allow someone to continue or to begin as trustees after that date. However, Commissioners do not grant waivers lightly. The purpose of the new provision is to prevent people who have shown financial incompetence or dishonesty in the past from being in control of charitable resources.
Disqualified people do not have to take steps to resign or be removed from their trusteeship, because their trusteeship will have been ended automatically by law. They should immediately cease to take any further part in the affairs of the Alliance.
If someone continues to act as a trustee, they will commit an offence, for which they could be prosecuted. They could also be forced to pay back to the charity the value of any benefits they may have received from the charity while disqualified.
What about conflicts of interest?
All Alliance staff, volunteers, and trustees should recognise and disclose any conflict of interest. A trustee should make a clear distinction between the interests of the Alliance and their personal, professional, and business interests. This includes avoiding both actual and perceived conflicts of interest.
The Alliance aims to ensure that all such conflicts are seen to be properly managed or avoided – both financial and non-financial.
There is a Declaration of Interests policy which is made available to all Trustees on appointment and protects the integrity of our decision-making process. It enables stakeholders to have confidence in our integrity, and protects the integrity and reputation of our volunteers, staff and trustees. Conflicts which are not managed effectively may cause serious damage to the reputation of the charity and of the individuals concerned.
An annual Declaration of Interests form is retained by the Company Secretary for each Trustee. At the beginning of a meeting, every Trustee should declare any private interest which he or she has in an item to be discussed. This will be a standing agenda item.
Not all conflicts can be predicted at the start of the meeting and so all trustees must be prepared to make a declaration and withdraw from a discussion during the business of the meeting.
How can I apply?
There is an election process. Each division can elect three Alliance members to act as Trustee. If more than three nominations are received from a divisional office, there is a ballot of members. This election process is carried out in Under 5 magazine.
If you are an Alliance member and wish to act as Trustee, and you meet the eligibility criteria outlined, please tell us why you wish to become a Trustee in the nomination form. You can download the pdf version here, or the word document version here.
You can return the completed form by email here or by post to: FAO: Chief Executive's Office, Pre-school Learning Alliance, 50 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT.
All forms must be recieved no later than noon on 14th November 2016 to be considered.