chair role description

Role overview

Role Title:  Chair of Trustees

Role Type:  Voluntary

Salary:  Unremunerated (reasonable expenses paid)

Period:  Preferred 4 years (with optional extension)

Time commitment:  A minimum of 12-15 days per year 




Board dates:

  • October 20th | North


  • Land Committee
  • Assurance Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Appointments Committee

The Board is committed to diversity in its widest sense and is particularly interested in applications from currently under-represented groups on our board.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees provides strategic leadership and direction to the Trustees so that the Board fulfils its responsibilities for ensuring good governance, clear direction and maximum achievement of the charity’s objectives. The Chair will work closely in partnership with, and will support, other Trustees, the Chief Executive and Sustrans staff. The Chair will optimise the relationship between the Board of Trustees, the staff and external stakeholders.

Main Responsibilities of the Chair:

Enabling the Board to fulfil their responsibilities for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Trust. Ensuring that the charity complies with its objects, charity law and associated regulations and enabling it to ensure the overall health, sustainability and reputation of the organisation.

Ensuring an effective Board, through a strong working relationship with, and between, Trustees and the Chief Executive. To agree an annual rhythm to Board meetings and appropriate agendas as well as to ensure transparent and timely advice and information is provided to the Board.

Ensure the Board reviews, appraises and develops clear long term aims for the organisation. Also ensure that the organisation has an appropriate strategy and set of actions to achieve those aims effectively and sustainably and is supportive of staff, enabling them to achieve the aims of the organisation. Facilitates the Board in evaluating the charity’s progress against its goals.

The Chair will also:

  • Maintain careful oversight of any risk to the reputation, financial standing or cultural health of the organisation
  • Ensure adherence and compliance around key policies (e.g. Equality of Opportunity, Health & Safety)
  • Ensure the charity has an effective profile and relationship with supporters, stakeholders, partners, potential clients and funders/donors
  • Lead a regular review of the effectiveness of the Board, its structure, membership and way of working
  • Supportively review the contribution of individual Trustees and, as necessary, to mentor or encourage their take up of development
  • Lead the process of constructively supporting the performance of the Chief Executive

Chair Person Specification

  • Committed to Sustrans’ vision and strategy
  • Experience of operating at a strategic leadership level
  • Significant Board experience at a national level
  • Entrepreneurial experience or attitude
  • Successful influencer at the highest level
  • A convenor, able to leverage strong professional networks 
  • Effective and inspiring communicator
  • Qualities of integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness and honesty
  • We would particularly welcome applications from those who have experience of leading a large, dynamic, but dispersed organisation