Chair of Trustees

Key details


UK with overseas travel

Term of Office

Initial three year term with the possibility for extension

Time Commitment

Two-three days a month


Non-remunerated (expenses will be reimbursed)

Role Summary

The Chair will lead the organisation in partnership with the CEO and the Board of Trustees. This includes setting and reviewing strategy, working with the CEO, Board members and senior staff. It includes managing the CEO on behalf of the Board, and maintaining excellent relationships with other senior staff.

The Chair will ensure good governance and oversee the recruitment and induction of new Board members; preparing for, and chairing, Board meetings. They will inspire Board members to a high performance  - working as a team at meetings, and contributing their expertise where needed. They will work with the Board to scrutinize the performance of the organisation (and that of the Board), assess risk, set and review budgets. Finally, the Chair will ensure statutory and legal compliance, and delivery of charitable objectives.

The Chair will be an active and compelling advocate for the organisation externally, for example in opening doors to new partnerships across both public and private sectors and in the wider international development space. They will visit Practical Action’s operations and meet key stakeholders in countries where we work, with a field visit at least once every two years.

Particular priorities for the Chair over the next few years are likely to be:

Concluding the current governance reform and securing its implementation. This will include preparing for possible significant changes in the global Board and wider structural governance across the Practical Action group.

Reviewing the effectiveness of the current strategy, including its impact, and models of income generation.

Person Specification


  • Experience of, or engagement in, international development - this could be from a governmental, corporate or civil society perspective. Experience of hybrid and multi-faceted international organisations.

  • An appreciation of global changes and the INGO role, and the interface between INGOs, the private sector, and government.

  • Board level organisational experience, as a board member and/or senior manager. Demonstrable leadership experience. Significant governance experience gained preferably in the NGO sector.

  • The Chair will need to be a credible leader who can understand the huge global changes taking place in the world and how Practical Action can navigate this.

  • The Chair should be available in the UK, because at present most of the Chair’s work is UK-focused. The Chair may be from the global south, or have experience of working in the global south.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities 

  • Ability to build compelling and credible relationships with a wide variety of beneficiaries, supporters, and other stakeholders, including rapport with younger people.

  • Inspiring leadership - able to convene and collaborate rather than pursuing a personal agenda. Able to assemble, embrace and lead an increasingly diverse board.

  • Excellent communications skills, including public presentation. Experience of advocacy and influence in their own sector or field.  Ability and willingness to leverage own networks in support of Practical Action.

Personal Qualities and Attitudes       

  • Passion for, and commitment to, Practical Action’s mission, values and objectives. The Chair will bring a high level of personal integrity: seen to ‘walk the talk’. The Chair must be able to offer time and energy.

Board and Committee meeting dates for 2019

Thursday 21 March 2019 (London): Half Day (afternoon/early evening)

Wednesday 03 - Thursday 04 July 2019 (Rugby): Full day, with dinner and overnight stay prior to the meeting.

Wednesday 30 October 2019 (London): Half Day

Tuesday 10 - Wednesday 11 December 2019 (Rugby): AGM. Half day followed by a dinner and overnight stay prior to the full day meeting.

NB. Practical Action will provide full executive, administrative and back - office support for the Chair, able to coordinate travel and accommodation, meetings and other support for correspondence, meetings etc .