Citizens Advice Aylesbury & District: the role of Trustees

Trustees make sure the charity is running well and doing what it was set up to do, including ensuring it:

  • has the money it needs
  • spends its money sensibly, on the activities it was raised for
  • follows the law, including preparing reports and accounts to send to the Charity Commission
  • doesn’t break the rules in its governing document (its constitution, trust deed or articles)

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of the bureau and setting an overall vision. Good practice is that this is separated from the day to day running of the bureau, which is delegated to a Chief Officer. The Trustees then hold the Chief Officer and staff responsible for running the operation while carrying the ultimate accountability themselves, for the performance and success of the bureau.

A crucial aspect in this is the Board’s responsibility for the recruitment, appointment and management of the Chief Officer who in turn is responsible for all aspects of the running of the bureau.

The Chief Officer’s key responsibilities:

  • Planning – both short and long term
  • Service Delivery
  • Staffing – both paid and volunteers – including recruitment and training and development
  • Financial management, control and reporting
  • Premises
  • Securing Funding
  • Relationship management and development with funders and other organisations
  • PR and stakeholder communication
  • Adherence to Policies, both local and Citizens Advice nationally
  • Risk Management

The Chief Officer is supported in all the above by the team of paid staff and volunteers he/she appoints.

The Board of Trustees then provides the necessary oversight and support to fulfil its key responsibilities which are ensuring that:

  • There are clear and relevant plans for the Bureau in place, that are in line with the overall vision – covering service delivery, funding, staffing etc
  • There is adherence to the plan and corrective action is taken where appropriate
  • The Bureau adheres to all aspects of Company Law
  • Financial Management and control is in place and monitored
  • Risks are identified and managed/mitigated appropriately
  • Policies, both local and Citizens Advice nationally initiated are documented, understood and adhered to

Whilst focussing on the above, Trustees may also provide direct assistance to the Chief Officer and team, typically in the Trustee’s specific areas of expertise to provide extra support and guidance or address particular projects or challenges. Recent examples include supporting recruitment, interaction with funders, fundraising projects and co-operation with other charity Boards.

Our Trustees are all volunteers, including a sub-set which sit on the Executive Committee, and aim to fulfil their responsibilities primarily through:

  • Quarterly meetings of all Trustees, attended by the Chief Officer and a volunteer representative.
  • Monthly, or more often as required, in Executive Committee meetings, to discuss the key operational issues and provide more frequent support to the Chief Officer and team.

The Chair has a leadership role across the Board and bureau and typically meets regularly with the Chief Officer and key stakeholders. The Treasurer is a Trustee and has direct involvement in finance matters.

Information on each Trustee including names and roles can be found below:

Mrs Judy Brandis

AVDC Councillor for Haddenham Ward. Trustee Board member since 2009. Also on the Management Committee of Haddenham Youth Centre, a member of the Haddenham Village Society, Haddenham U3A and the National Trust.

Mrs Susan Renshell

AVDC Councillor for Winslow Ward. Trustee Board member since 2011. Also a member of Aylesbury Vale Arts Council, Winwood Almshouses Trust,on the Management Committee of Winslow Youth Centre and a Committee Member of Buckingham Business Club, Governor of The Buckingham School and a Friend of Winslow Library.

Mr Chris Holden

Senior Trading Standards Officer at Buckinghamshire County Council. Trustee Board member since 2009.

Mr Andrew Sangster

Andrew Sangster has been a Trustee since 2010, including sitting on the Executive Committee. Originally a professional economist Andrew moved into the telecoms industry in the 1980s. There he had a range of planning, marketing, commercial and general management roles and is now a commercial consultant.