There are so many reasons why I applied to be a Nacro Trustee back in September 2020. I was interested in the support we give to people to help them turn their lives around, our criminal justice policy work, and having responsibility in the operation of an organisation with a budget of over £63 million.
It wasn’t a case of saying the word and being automatically appointed – there were formal interviews and a rigorous approval process. But it was all worth it because I now feel I am in a position to contribute to the incredible work being done across Nacro.
The trustee role boils down to having an overview of the strategy and direction of the charity and in doing so holding to account the appointed officers who manage the decisions. The Board works with our Chief Executive, Campbell Robb, and the Executive Leadership Team made up of our directors of our directorates to define the values and direction – a much creative and positive process.
The role involves around four Board Meetings a year, plus a couple of Subcommittee Meetings where we will assess reports and papers to make decisions or pose questions. For those trustees with a speciality experience, many more discussions or input may happen in more informal settings.
My background is politics and local government so I have brought my personal experience in this area to the role; in the past year I have met with Nacro staff to discuss policy issues, the approach to take, and how to gain influence among decision makers to support that agreed policy. Other trustees have expertise in accountancy, media, health, or policing.
This year, I’ve also spoken to staff and service users to listen to their opinions decisions being made and future areas of focus for the charity. It’s so important for there to be a connection between the Board of Trustees and the individuals Nacro supports.
At its heart though, being a trustee involves bringing work, business, and life experience to the table to help play a part in the experiences of those using our services. It’s a rewarding role and a valuable way to give back in my spare time.
Of course, it’s been a challenge primarily using Zoom this year, but we are looking forward to more face-to-face visits to services soon so we can better learn, support, and suggest.
Being a trustee brings with it responsibility and a workload, but it also gives an opportunity to contribute. Undertaking this role with with a progressive, socially-aware organisation such as Nacro, one that does change lives, is a chance to help support that change.
Sir David Hanson