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The Board of CHAS – who are they and what do they do?

Given that November 12th – 16th is National Trustees’ Week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a brief piece to remind you of the work of the CHAS Board of Trustees. Many of you will know that we exist, but you maybe aren’t so sure of our backgrounds nor how we structure our work as a Board. So, here goes…

Firstly to introduce myself: I’m George Reid, the Chair of CHAS. I’ve been a Trustee on the Board for over 10 years and took over as Chair in 2017. My background is in Finance – I ended my Executive career in 2016 as a Partner with the global accounting firm, Ernst & Young. I am supported on the Board by ten other volunteer Trustees, each bringing their own highly relevant skills and experience. We are fortunate in that our Board is made up of senior professional people with backgrounds in Medicine, Nursing, Social Work, Finance, Legal, Governance, Human Resources, Public Relations and Asset Management – and very importantly, one of our Trustees is also a parent of a young person that CHAS supports. So, as you can see, we have a rich and varied mix of talent and experience.

My job as Chair is really to oversee the running of the Board and its Committees, making sure that we do all that we can to support Maria and her Senior Leadership Team. Perhaps the best way of looking at it is that I am responsible for the running of the Board, whereas Maria is responsible for the overall management of CHAS. My job is a lot smaller than Maria’s!

The Board meets on a regular basis to oversee CHAS’s operations and performance. Our meetings are well structured, but we always start with a presentation about an aspect of the care and support that CHAS provides, whether that relates to Medical or Nursing matters, or perhaps on issues such as CHAS at Home or the role of our Chaplain. Starting Board meetings with a focus on our core delivery is an important way of ensuring that each of us as Trustees focuses clearly on our overall purpose. After these presentations, we spend time focusing on many other elements of CHAS’s performance – how busy our Hospices are, how the CHAS Plan for Reaching Every Family in Scotland is progressing, our Finance activities – is voluntary income where we would like it?, how are our expenses? – the type of ‘oversight’ things that you would expect the Board to focus on.

The Board also has three sub-Committees, populated by four Trustees on each. Separately, these Committees oversee: 1) Clinical and Care Governance, 2) Corporate Governance and Risk Management, and 3) Finance and Audit. Structuring our work in this way provides the greatest support to Maria and the Leadership team, and (importantly), ensures that the Trustees comply with their legal duties under the Companies Act and the Charities Act.

Speaking personally - though I’m sure my fellow Board Trustees would agree - I view my role as Chair (and a Trustee) of CHAS as a vital part of ensuring that CHAS can reach those children and families in Scotland that need us. I am enormously proud of CHAS, of our staff and our volunteers, and of the work that Maria and her team lead, ensuring that we help Keep the Joy Alive for children and families going through the toughest of times.

Keep doing what you do!


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