Roles and Responsibilities of Board Members

N.B.: Board members are automatically Trustees of the SLA as a Registered Charity (313660 in England and Wales, SC039453 in Scotland), and also Directors of the SLA as a company limited by guarantee, (registered in England no. 552476).

 Nomination of Board MemberS For 2017-2020

If you, or someone you know, would like to stand for election, you can find further information and the nomination form here.

1. Election to the Board

1.1 To stand for election to the Board, a member of the Association must be nominated by not less than two School Library Association members and must sign an agreement to serve if elected.
Voting is by postal ballot although the Articles of Association will permit electronic forms of voting if so desired.
Results of the election are announced at the Annual General Meeting.
Articles of the Association 49/50

1.2 The term of office is three years. A retiring Board member may stand for election again so that the period of service is continuous

1.3 Nominations are usually made in regard of active SLA involvement and evidence of commitment to the aims of the Association

1.4 A decision to resign from the Committee before completing the three year term of office should be stated in a letter to the Chairperson with a copy to the Director.

2. Key responsibilities

2.1 With other trustees to hold the charity "in trust" for current and future beneficiaries by:

  • ensuring that the charity has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving these;
  • being responsible for the performance of the charity and for its "corporate" behaviour;
  • ensuring that the charity complies with all legal and regulatory requirements;
  • acting as guardians of the charity's assets, both tangible and intangible, taking all due care over their security, deployment and proper application;
  • ensuring that the charity's governance is of the highest possible standard. 

2.2 Duties and tasks to fulfil these key responsibilities:

a)   Ensuring that the charity has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving these;

b)   To work in partnership with the Management Team, other trustees and the Director to ensure that

  •  the charity has a clear vision, mission and strategic plan that have been agreed by the Board, and that there is a common understanding of these by Board Members and staff.
  • the business, operational and other plans support the vision, mission and strategic priorities.
  • the Director's annual and longer term objectives and targets support the achievement of the vision, mission and strategic priorities.
  • Board policies support the vision, mission and strategic priorities.
  • there are effective mechanisms:
    i. to listen to the views of current and future beneficiaries;
    ii. to review the external environment for changes that might affect the charity;
    iii. to re-assess the need for the charity and for the services it provides, or could provide;
    iv. to review regularly its strategic plans and priorities.

c)    Being responsible, with the other trustees, for the performance of the charity and for its 'corporate' behaviour:

  • To agree the method for measuring objectively the progress of the charity in relation to its vision, mission, strategic objectives/priorities, business plans and annual targets, and to receive regularly reports on the performance of the Association.
  • To ensure that the fundamental values and guiding principles of the charity are articulated and reflected throughout the Association.
  • To ensure that views of SLA members on the performance of the Association are regularly gathered and considered by the Board.
  • To appoint the Director, to set his/her terms and conditions and to ensure that the Director and the Association invest in the Director's ongoing professional development.
  • To receive regular reports from the Director on progress towards agreed strategic priorities.
  • To hold the Director to account for the management and administration of the Association.
  • To ensure that the Director receives regular, constructive feedback on his/her performance in managing the charity and in meeting his/her annual and longer term targets and objectives.
  • To ensure that the Director develops a learning organisation and that all staff, both paid and unpaid, review their own performance and regularly receive feedback.
  • To articulate the values of the Association.
  • To agree Board policies.
  • To ensure that there are mechanisms for members, employees, volunteers, other individuals, groups or organisations to bring to the attention of the Board members any activity that threatens the probity of the Association.

d)    Ensuring that the charity complies with all legal and regulatory requirements:

  • To be aware of, and to ensure the Association complies with, all legal, regulatory and statutory requirements.
  • To maintain familiarity with the rules and constitution that govern the Association, to ensure that it complies with its governing instruments and to review the constitution regularly.
  • If the Association has powers to delegate, to agree the levels of delegated authority, to ensure that these are recorded in writing by means of minutes, terms of reference for committees and sub-committees, job descriptions for honorary officers, trustees and key staff, etc., and to ensure that there are clear reporting procedures which are also recorded in writing and complied with.
  • To ensure that the responsibilities delegated to the Director are clearly expressed and understood, and directions given to him/her come from the Board as a whole.
  • Being guardians of all the Association's assets, both tangible and intangible, taking all due care over their security, deployment and proper application.
  • To ensure that the Association has satisfactory control systems and procedures for holding in trust for the members all monies, properties and other assets and to ensure that monies are invested to the maximum benefit of the Association, within the constraints of the law and ethical and other policies laid down by the board.
  • To ensure that the major risks to which the Association is exposed are reviewed annually and that systems have been established to mitigate or minimise these risks.
  • To ensure that the income and property of the Association is applied for the purposes set out in the governing document and for no other purpose, and with complete fairness between persons who are properly qualified to benefit.
  • To act reasonably, prudently and collectively in all matters relating to the Association and always to act in the interests of the Association.
  • To be accountable for the solvency and continuing effectiveness of the Association and the preservation of its assets.
  • To exercise effective overall control of the Association's financial affairs and to ensure that the way in which it is administered is not open to abuse by unscrupulous associates, employees or volunteers; and that the systems of control are rigorous and constantly maintained through regular evaluation and improvement in the light of experience.
  • To ensure that intangible assets such as organisational knowledge and expertise, intellectual property, the Association's good name and reputation etc are properly valued, utilised and safeguarded.
  • To ensure that all income due to the Association is received and that all tax benefits are obtained and all rating relief due is claimed.

e)    Ensuring that the charity's governance is of the highest possible standard.

  • To ensure that the Association has a governance structure that is appropriate to an organisation of its size/complexity, stage of development, and its charitable objects, and that enables the Board Members to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • To reflect annually on the Board's performance and your own performance as a Member.
  • To ensure that the Board has the skills required to govern the Association well, and has access to relevant external professional advice and expertise.
  • To ensure that there is a systematic, open and fair procedure for the recruitment or co-option of Board Members.
  • To ensure that there are succession plans for the Chair and the Director
  • To participate in individual and collective development and training of Board Members.
  • To abide by the code of conduct for trustees.
  • To ensure that major decisions and Board policies are made by the Board Members acting collectively.

3. Duties

3.1 The Association is a Registered Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee. Board members therefore also fulfil the function of Charity Trustees and Directors of the Company.

3.2 The full Board meets at regular intervals in the year. Dates and venues are agreed at the first meeting of each new Board. Members are expected to attend regularly.

Apologies for absence should be notified in advance to the Director at the SLA office.

3.3 Apart from the full Board meetings, the Board operates in a number of working groups on specific themes. Board members are assigned to groups normally of their own choice. The groups work on an informal basis with a detailed progress report presented at each full Board meeting.

3.4 In addition to attendance at the full Board meetings and involvement in a working group, Board members will be expected to take on extra commitments for specific occasions, e.g.:

1) Contribution to a new or revised publication
2) Attendance as SLA representative at meetings and conferences - this may involve

  • speaking about the Association
  • mounting the display stand and selling publications at exhibition venues
  • research into an area of professional interest for report to the Management Team and Board

3.5 To support the SLA office in its information service to the Management Team and Board, members should advise the Director of developments, activities and other relevant points of interest.

3.6 To comply with the Companies Registration Act, any changes in name, status, address or occupation must be notified to the Director, who also acts as Company Secretary.

It is also helpful for the SLA office staff to know holiday dates and other times when Board members will not be available to receive post and telephone calls.

4. Expenses

4.1 All duties are carried out on a voluntary basis.

4.2 Authorised travel, subsistence and overnight accommodation expenses are paid by the Association at the rate stated on the SLA travel claim forms. Claim forms are supplied by the SLA office.

4.3 Expenses for meetings and other Board gatherings are normally paid by BACS directly into your bank account, during the week following a meeting. Alternatively claims submitted by post will be paid at the end of the month.

4.4 Commitments other than authorised representation at meetings and conferences must first be referred to the Treasurer for approval of expenses.

4.5 Other reasonable expenses resulting from Board duties, such as post and telephone costs, may also be claimed by submitting a statement to the Director.

For audit purposes, the statement must give all details with any relevant payment records attached. Claims of this kind should be made at regular intervals - monthly or quarterly as appropriate.

4.6 Any queries about expenses claims should be referred to the Treasurer or, in his/her absence, to the Director.

Revised April 2014

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