About the Chagos Conservation Trust
The Chagos Archipelago, made up of 55 islands covering some 544,000km2 of ocean, is a British Overseas Territory and rare haven of beautiful reefs and diverse wildlife located in the midst of the Indian Ocean. The Chagos Conservation Trust, founded in the UK in 1992, is largely volunteer-run with a Board of 12 Trustees made up from a diverse group of scientists, conservationists, campaigners, and finance specialists with one thing in common: working to protect the Chagos Archipelago.
The mission of the Trust is to make sure this precious and important natural environment is protected and conserved, and can act as an example of how to manage valuable environments across the planet. With the right care, the archipelago can be a reminder of how tropical reefs flourished many hundreds of years ago, and can offer vital insight into how they might be saved for generations to come. The Trust carries out historical research, scientific and conservation work, and strives to highlight the global importance of this stunning marine ecosystem.
The Trust is about to enter an exciting new era as it prepares to launch its Healthy Islands, Healthy Reefsprogramme, which aims to rewild the 30 ecologically degraded islands of the outer atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, returning them to refuges for local species and supporting thriving coral reefs.
About the role
The Chair of the Board is an important, voluntary, officer role that ensures the Trust is run efficiently and effectively. The Chair provides inclusive leadership, and ensures the Board functions as a unit, with each Trustee fulfilling their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the Trust. The Chair also supports the Director to achieve agreed objectives, and together with the Director acts as an ambassador and public face of the Trust.
The Chair will lead the quarterly board meetings, which are either held virtually or in person in a location to be decided (usually London), and the Annual General Meeting. Approximately 2-4 hours per week time commitment is required.
- Provide leadership to the charity and its Board, ensuring that the Trust has maximum impact;
- To ensure Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the Trust;
- Ensure the Board operates within its objectives and provides a clear strategic direction for the Trust;
- Ensure the Board is able to regularly review major risks and associated opportunities, and ensure systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities, as well as manage and mitigate risks;
- Ensure the Board fulfils its duties to maintain sound financial health of the Trust, with systems in place to ensure financial accountability.
- Ensure the governance arrangements and policies are working in the most effective way for the Trust;
- Develop the knowledge and capability of the Board of Trustees, and foster, maintain and ensure that constructive relationships exist with and between the Trustees;
- Encourage positive change where appropriate, address and resolve any conflicts within the Board, and appraise the performance of the Trustees and the Board routinely;
- Ensure the Board of Trustees is regularly refreshed and incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed to govern and lead the Trust effectively;
- Chair meetings of the Board of Trustees effectively and efficiently, bringing impartiality and objectivity to the decision-making process, ensuring decisions are taken in the best, long-term interests of the Trust where the Board takes collective ownership;
- Work closely with the Director to give direction to the Board’s strategic decision-making, and ensure that meetings are well planned, meaningful, and reflect the responsibilities of Trustees;
- Monitor the decisions taken at meetings are implemented.
- In partnership with the Director, act as an ambassador for the Trust, and spokesperson for the organisation when appropriate;
- Represent the Trust at external functions, meetings and events.
Relationship with the Director:
- Establish and build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with the Director, and ensure that they are held to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives;
- Ensure regular contact with the Director, and develop and maintain an open and supportive relationship where each can speak openly about concerns, worries and challenges;
- Liaise with the Director to maintain an overview of the Trust’s affairs, providing support as necessary, including assistance with routine administration such as compilation of the Annual Report, Board meeting and AGM preparation, and communications;
- Conduct an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the Director in consultation with other Trustees;
- Ensure that the Director has the opportunity for professional development and the appropriate professional support.
- An understanding of and interest in conservation issues;
- A willingness to lead the organisation;
- Possesses tact, diplomacy and powers of persuasion;
- Relevant skills and experience to manage a team and run a meeting well.
Applicants should submit their CV and a cover letter detailing why they feel they are the right person for the role by 15th December 2023, with interviews scheduled for the second week of January 2024.
The start date will be April 2024, with a handover period from January 2024. It is hoped the successful applicant would attend the AGM in London in March 2024 to meet the Board, staff and members. For further information, please email Dr Natasha Gibson, current Chair of the Chagos Conservation Trust.