Who we are
The Open University Students Association is a vibrant charity set up to enable community and empower student voice, representing our current membership of 170,000 students spread across the UK, continental Europe and beyond. The overwhelming majority of our students’ study part time and at a distance, many working or with caring responsibilities. The Association is an organisation of students, run by students.
The OU Students Association Board of Trustees has the ultimate responsibility for the Association’s affairs and exercises its powers subject to relevant legislation in addition to our Articles of Association and Bye-Laws. This includes oversight of the governance, staffing, finances and strategy of the Association. The Board of Trustees delegates the day-to-day management of the Association and its staff team to the Chief Executive.
1. To ensure that the OU Students Association acts in accordance with its governing document, charitable objects and other guiding documents.
2. To ensure that the OU Students Association complies with all relevant legislation and regulations, including relevant Education Acts and Charity Acts where applicable.
3. To safeguard the effective administration of the Association, including maintaining its financial viability and avoiding activities which greatly risk our reputation, sustainability or students.
4. To approve the Association’s strategy, annual budget and the Association’s annual financial statements. To consider funding proposals and applications during the course of the budget year as and where necessary.
5. To make an active contribution to the Board of Trustees reaching sound decisions including reading and scrutinising all papers; attending and participating in meetings and on the Trustee online forums; leading discussions and/or meetings where appropriate; maintaining a focus on key issues; building an understanding and appreciation of the Association and our membership; offering own skills and experience; exercising a vote on key matters; participating in sub-committees or working groups as necessary.
6. To add value and actively contribute to the Board of Trustees, offering a considered and reasonable perspective on matters at hand and being unafraid to challenge appropriately.
7. To work with other Trustees and support the Senior Staff team to create a positive, hard-working, inclusive, supportive and successful culture.
8. To seek to empower and support the student voice at all levels of the organisation, including recognising the important role of the Student Elected Officers and Student Leadership Team.
9. To recognise and value the difference between the Student Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees, working to create a joined-up and constructive governance culture.
10. To appoint and receive any reports from the Association’s bankers, HR advisors, solicitors and auditors. To consider proposals for external affiliations where necessary.
11. To approve all amendments to the Association’s governing documents for submission to a vote of Conference.
12. To appoint, establish the job description, agree the remuneration and annually appraise the performance of the Association’s Chief Executive.
Trustees should be aware that they are jointly and severally liable for the affairs of the Association.
An applicant’s covering letter should address the experience, knowledge and skills criteria.
· Human Resources, staffing and related experience.
· Experience of senior committee work and strategic decision making or a desire to develop in these areas.
· Previous experience as a Trustee and/or Company Director (desirable but not essential – we are looking for the right fit, so please reach out to chat to us to find out more, even if you have not been a Trustee before).
· Can evidence a good understanding and appreciation of the role and context.
· An understanding relevant and current issues for charities and member-led organisations surrounding EDI or digital marketing.
· Working knowledge of the UK Charity Sector and Charity Governance Code (desirable).
· Inclusive and collaborative, able to positively contribute to a team.
· Able to exercise good governance, e.g. scrutinising Board papers, contributing positively to discussions, offering own expertise.
· Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including diplomacy and tact.
· IT skills including Microsoft Office.
· Meets the eligibility criteria.
· A considered professional approach.
· Strong interest in performing the role and supporting the OU Students Association.
· High integrity, with a strong commitment to fairness and ethical decision making.
· Willingness to devote the time and effort to successfully perform this role, including developing an understanding of the issues at hand and undertaking relevant training.
· Confident and assertive, willing to make decisions that are in the best interests of the organisation.
· Commitment to the Nolan principles.
· Commitment to and prioritisation of equality, diversity and inclusion.
· Willing to learn and develop in the role.
· Able and willing to travel to Milton Keynes for Board meetings or social events (desirable – all meetings are hybrid).
Please see the attached External Trustee Candidate Pack for further details.
- external-trustee-candidate-pack-2023.pdf - Download