Farset Labs - Trustee Roles & Responsibilities



What are the responsibilities of the board?

  • Ensuring regular dialogue with membership is carried out in order to act in the best interests of members and with their guidance and support.
  • Furthering the charity’s overall purpose, as set out in its governing document, and setting its direction and strategy – for example, by developing plans and strategies and monitoring progress.
  • Ensuring the work of the charity is effective, responsible and legal – for example, by the use of policies and procedures and systems for monitoring and evaluating the charity’s work.
  • Safeguarding finances, resources and property and ensuring they are used to further the charity’s purposes – for example, by insuring and documenting assets, maintaining financial systems, monitoring income and expenditure and ensuring the charity is financially sustainable or viable.
  • Being ‘accountable’ to those with an interest or stake in or who regulate the charity – for example, by preparing annual reports and accounts and consulting with stakeholders.
  • Being clear about the people who carry out work on behalf of the charity (trustees, staff, volunteers), establishing and respecting boundaries between the governance role of the board and operational or day to day matters.
  • Ensuring the board operates effectively – for example, ensuring it receives the right reports and advice, by planning the recruitment and induction of trustees, providing trustees with support and training or carrying out reviews or appraisals of the board’s effectiveness.

Board Diversity

We aim to ensure that the board of trustees represents the diversity of the community it serves. This includes maintaining a representative balance of gender, race and socio-economic backgrounds.

What are the qualities of trustees?

An effective board will provide good governance and leadership by:

  • understanding its role and responsibilities
  • working well both as individuals and as a team
  • ensuring delivery of organisational purpose.
  • exercising appropriate control.
  • behaving with integrity and by being open and accountable.

Source: diycommitteeguide.org

Individual trustees should be selected for

  • their honesty, trustworthiness, reliability and impartiality
  • their commitment to the organisation’s work
  • the skills and experience they bring.

Other key characteristics - Trustees should

  • understand the responsibilities they are taking on (and should be prepared to receive training if they don’t)
  • be prepared to commit the time needed to play an active role
  • be absolutely trustworthy.

Regular tasks for all trustees include

  • Active participation at regular board meetings (2 hrs/qtr)
  • Actioning tasks arising from regular board meetings
    • These can be wide ranging and trustees should actively volunteer to take on tasks that they feel they are suited to carrying out. We aim to share the workload of tasks as much as we can.
  • Regular participation in discussions on Slack
    • This is one of the main channels of Trustee discussion and people should be prepared to accept notifications of urgent discussions at all times and check in to the main discussion thread every few days
    • Slack is also used to make urgent decisions that cannot wait until the next board meeting
  • Be an ambassador for Farset Labs and it’s values (internally and externally)
  • Management of communications channels (email, facebook, twitter)
  • Co-ordinating the Annual General Meeting
  • Contributing to the Annual Trustees Report for submission with our annual accounts

Specific tasks and responsibilities of Secretary, Treasurer & Chair

Note - these are functional roles only and do not confer any additional authority

  • Chair
    • Representing Farset Labs in an official capacity when necessary
    • Chairing the Annual General Meeting and Trustees Meetings
    • Monitoring and Validating that decisions taken at meetings are implemented
  • Secretary
    • Setting agenda and recording minutes from board and members meetings
    • Ensuring we meet our legal obligations with the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland and Companies House
    • Draft agendas working with the other trustees and chair – Take minutes in meetings or organise cover where necessary – Receive correspondence and organise responses in a timely fashion – Keep the registers of Trustees up to date with Companies House and the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Treasurer
    • Coordinating and monitoring budgets and managing finances
    • Regularly reconciling our accounting balances
    • Liaising with our accountant
    • Ensuring we meet our financial obligations with Companies House and HMRC and that all submission deadlines are met – Reminding members to consider the financial implications of decisions they are taking and not to take decisions unless they have sufficient information in front of them

It is also important to note that as a trustee, you will not be able to be paid by Farset Labs for any services or goods that you wish to provide the charity. This restriction also extends to any members of your immediate family and is a legal obligation. Expenses may be reimbursed under certain circumstances.

Purpose of Board Meetings

Quarterly board meetings shall cover

  • Strategic planning
  • Financial planning & management
  • Programme and Subcommittee reports and oversight
  • Issues escalated from any subcommittees or working groups
  • Admin and finance issues referred from Tresurer
  • Any upcoming statory obligations referred from the Secretary
  • Building management issues referred from the Membership/Landlord

Any trustee may call an extraordinary board meeting in the cases of:

  • Crisis management
  • Issues identified as significant risks escalated from any subcommittees or working groups

Code of Conduct for Trustees

  1. Selflessness: Trustees of Farset Labs have a general duty to act in the best interest of the organisation and its membership as a whole. They should not do so in order to gain financial or material benefits for themselves, their family, their friends or the organisation they come from or represent if they are appointed from outside of FSL membership.

  2. Integrity: Trustees of Farset Labs should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their role. As well as avoiding actual impropriety, they should avoid any appearance of improper behaviour or accepting gifts and hospitality that might reasonably be thought to influence their judgement.

  3. Accountability: Trustees of Farset Labs have a duty to comply with the law on all occasions in accordance with the trust placed in them and in such a way as to preserve public confidence in the organisation. They are accountable for their decisions and actions to the members, public and funders. They must submit themselves to what scrutiny is appropriate to their role (e.g. declare conflicts of interest to the register).

  4. Honesty: Trustees of Farset Labs have a duty to declare any interests relating to their trustee role and to take steps to resolve any conflicts that may arise, and where private interests of a trustee conflicts with their trustee duties, they must resolve this conflict in favour of the trustee role. They must make relevant declarations of interest in the different circumstances and roles they play both within and outside the organisation.

  5. Leadership: Trustees of Farset Labs should promote and support the principles of leadership by example. There will be circumstances under which trustees will be working directly with volunteers, paid staff and paid members (e.g. FSL events). Guidelines for such working relationships must be clear to both volunteers, staff and trustees and, when these occasions arise, the Chair should be informed in advance.

  6. Conflicts of interest: Any trustee of Farset Labs who has a financial interest in a matter under discussion should declare the nature of their interest and withdraw from the room unless they have a dispensation to speak. If a trustee has any interest in the matter under discussion which creates a real danger of bias (that is, the interest affects them or a member of their household more than others affected by the decision) they should declare the nature of the interest and withdraw from the room, unless they have a dispensation to speak. If a trustee has any other interest which does not create a real danger of bias, but which might reasonably cause others to think it could influence their decision, they should declare the nature of the interest, but may remain in the room / call, participate in the decision, and vote if they wish. If in any doubt about the application of these rules, they should consult with the Chair. Each trustee’s interests should be recorded in a written statement and listed in a register.

Notes, Sources and References

The following documents were used as the basis for the establishment of this policy. Other more specific references or citations are linked where appropriate.