At the same time as building a number of successful businesses, Wayne Bulpitt CBE has been a passionate supporter of social entrepreneurship, founded several successful charities and is presently Chair of Trustees at, The Diana Award, Guernsey Community Foundation and a trustee of others as well as a member of NCVO’s Advisory Panel.
In celebration of Trustee Week (2nd – 6th November), I wanted to reflect on my time as Chair of Trustees at The Diana Award. I applied for the role when The Diana Award because I was impressed by the work of the charity. I especially wanted to help it grow and have a greater impact on more young people.
Whilst there are many aspects of my role that I enjoy, it is visiting our Programmes, chatting with young people and their volunteer mentors, and celebrating the achievements of Diana Award recipients at our local award ceremonies that I find the most rewarding.
Whilst participating in a panel discussion at an ICSA governance conference recently, on the subject of “The Perfect Board” my mind began to wander.
At The Diana Award, whilst we are not always perfect, we are fortunate to have an excellent Trustee board working in partnership with an equally excellent staff team. It hasn’t always been like this, but in 2016 we took a step back and decided that whilst we were doing ’good things’ if we wanted to make them ‘great’ we would have to work in a better partnership. So how are we achieving this?
We started by commissioning an external review, helping us to identify how we might improve our governance and the partnership between the Trustee board and Executive team.
The feedback was that we were generally along the right lines, but that our governance needed better evidencing. It also provided us with invaluable insight into our working relationships and how to improve them constructively. We next refreshed our board through open recruitment following a skills audit. As with all our work, young people play a crucial role, including in this case; a Youth Panel as part of the formal interview process and joint decision making.
Each of our Trustees has a particular role or responsibility, supporting the staff in a variety of ways. Given the diverse skills and experiences of our Trustees, this makes for an invaluable additional resource for the charity as well as supporting the staff and Trustees in their own development.
We are always seeking to improve, and one simple step is a meeting effectiveness summary that each Trustee and Executive member completes at the end of each meeting. This provides quick feedback on the preparation and value of the meeting. We’ve also made sure that our strategy sessions are externally facilitated.
Being a Trustee allows me the opportunity to learn new things, whilst helping others with my own skills and experiences. Trusteeship provides a fantastic and rewarding opportunity for individuals. Trustees not only have responsibility for the running of a charity, but for ensuring it does so in an effective and rewarding manner for all stakeholders.
If you’d like to learn more about the role of trustees, training and resources, and links for finding a Trustee vacancy, head to Trustees’ Week website.
Keep an eye on The Diana Award (@DianaAward) social media channels to find out more about our work and our fab Trustees.