Vacancy: Future Chair of Trustees (initial recruitment as Vice Chair)

What are we looking for?

OCAY – a York-based charity that provides advocacy to older citizens – is looking for a future Chair, initially recruited as Vice Chair, to join our active, committed existing core of Board members. Following a suitable and successful period as Vice Chair, our aim will be for the recruit to transition to becoming Chair of Trustees, to take over from our long-standing Chair, Rachel Totton.

We are looking for someone who is passionate about supporting the older people of York and has the skills to take on this significant leadership role in our charity. We are proud of the work we do to support older people in our community in making their voices heard about their needs and in pursuit of their rights.

So, why are we recruiting externally for such an important position? None of our existing Trustees feels they are currently in a position to take on this level of responsibility, due to work commitments, personal circumstances or differing levels of experience of trusteeship. We are therefore looking for someone externally who brings significant experience and a fresh perspective as we move through the next critical period for our charity.

OCAY has much to celebrate. We strive to ensure that our work is of the highest quality, and were recognised in the national Governance Awards in 2020. We have had a successful fundraising year, due to the skills of the Charity Manager and team. Our small team of staff is highly effective, and we continue to invest in their skills.  We have our largest ever team of volunteers, building on achievement of the national Investing in Volunteers quality standard. We have successfully maintained our service during the pandemic, developing new and effective ways of working.


Exciting opportunities for a new Vice Chair/Chair

We are in a strong position to move forward successfully, and are very proud of what we do well.  However, this is a pivotal time for OCAY, and there are two significant challenges facing us over the next couple of years, over and above the challenge of successfully identifying an effective new Chair.

  • We are currently bidding for major funding for the next five years. Our first challenge is that we will embark, hopefully from September 2021, on the next phase of our development, building on the existing structures and approaches but continuing to develop new areas of advocacy.
  • Our next challenge is to plan for the retirement and replacement of our all-important Charity Manager in 2022.

These challenges provide a really exciting opportunity to make your mark through leading the Board.

More about the role

So if, for example, you are an existing Vice Chair looking to take a step up, or a Chair looking for a new challenge in an interesting sector, or perhaps you bring good governance skills, or other transferable skills, from senior management in employment, we want to hear from you!

The appointee would be supported by the Board of Trustees and the Charity Manager during their initial induction and planned transition to the role of Chair.

In addition to good knowledge of the voluntary sector, experience of the health and social care sector would be valuable, but not essential. The Board of Trustees meets as a Management Committee six times a year, for about two hours. In between meetings, the Vice Chair and Chair together are expected to be involved in a range of activities e.g. networking and supporting partnerships; working groups; planning; staff recruitment and support, fundraising and outreach.  The time commitment is variable – reading papers and preparing for meetings might take 2-4 hours, talking to staff and other trustees might take another 2-4 hours every month, particularly in the initial period, and other activities will vary according to need, and the candidate’s own availability. From time to time, a bigger input of time may be needed.

The successful candidate will have a solid understanding of the strategic role of Trustees, excellent meeting and presentation skills, a supportive and confident leadership style and strong understanding of monitoring and evaluation. A passion for supporting older people is essential.

If you are interested in finding out more about the role, please contact the Charity Manager, Ruth Potter on 01904 676200 initially. The application and selection process will involve informal conversations with Trustees and opportunities to find out more, leading potentially to a more formal stage.