BOARD OF TRUSTEES (GOVERNANCE)
As a registered charity, Fairfield Farm Trust (also known as Fairfield Farm College) must be governed in accordance with the governing document, which sets out the objects of the charity, and the powers under which it can be administered.
The main role of the board of trustees is to govern the charity while the senior management team carry out the day-to-day management and work. Trustees set the overall strategy and objectives of the charity and the senior management team develops operational plans and procedures to achieve the objectives and set targets. Trustees then approve the plans and targets and staff implement them. Finally, the trustees monitor the progress the charity is making towards achieving its objectives and targets, most importantly the outcomes of young people at Fairfield Farm College.
The relationship between trustees and staff is best thought of as a partnership. For example, when setting policy, trustees will be dependent on the senior management team for information and the staff may even draw up the suggested policy for the trustees’ approval.
The following provides an outline of the board of trustees areas of responsibility.
The role of the board of trustees
The board of trustees is the governing body of Fairfield Farm Trust – also known as Fairfield Farm College – and it holds ultimate power and responsibility. The charity’s board is made up of volunteers who have to set aside their personal interests, giving their time and carrying out their duties for no payment. The charity benefits from the objectivity such a board brings, as well as from the skills and experience of its members.
The board’s duty is to act in the interests of the beneficiaries (students) and in accordance with the charity’s governing documents. Its role is to ensure that Fairfield has a clear direction and purpose and a sense of urgency to get on with the work it was established to do. The board’s duty is to set clear objectives, establish priorities, safeguard the assets (money, property, equipment, human resources) and use them effectively and exclusively to benefit students. The board has delegated day-to-day management and operations to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) ie. the CEO, Principal, Director of Resources, Support Manager and Curriculum Manager but the board remains ultimately responsible for appointing and supervising staff and for generally ensuring that the organisation is well managed and operates within agreed policies, the law and its budget.
The board of trustees’ main role is that of governance; its responsibilities are to:
- Ensure that all the charity’s activities are within the law
- Ensure that all the charity’s activities come within its charitable objects
- Determine the charity’s mission, purpose and strategic direction
- Guard the charity’s ethos and values
- Develop and agree the charity’s policies
- Agree the budget and monitor financial performance
- Promote and monitor high educational and support standards throughout the college
- Ensure the charity has adequate resources
- Ensure the charity’s land, property, assets and other resources are protected and managed effectively
- Monitor the charity’s programme and services
- Review annually the performance of the board of trustees
- Appoint the Senior Management Team
- Review annual salary levels of all staff
- Support the Senior Management Team and review their performance and that of the college
- Act as an appeal body on personnel matters
- Act within its powers as set out in the governing document.
In order to carry out these responsibilities, the board must:
- Meet as often as is necessary for the proper administration of the charity
- Seek professional and other expert advice where necessary.
The role of the Senior Leadership Team
The Senior Leadership Team has responsibility for the internal organisation and day to day operational management and control of the charity and is accountable directly to the board of trustees. Trustees are not expected to take detailed decisions about the day to day management at Fairfield; that is for the Senior Leadership Team.
Examples of the Senior Leadership Team’s responsibilities are:
- Business planning and management
- Staff recruitment, appointment, management and discipline (below SLT level)
- Financial management
- The uses to which resources may be allocated (within the budget set by trustees)
- Curriculum management
- Support management needs of students
- Management of building projects
- Buildings maintenance
- Farm management, land husbandry and animal care
- Implementation of policies set by the trustees
- Handling emergencies
This list is not exhaustive.
Martin Cooper – Chair of Trustees
Emma-Jane Dalley – Vice Chair of Trustees
Julie Cathcart – Curriculum and Quality
Anne Pelling – Safeguarding and Care Quality
Alison Irving – HR & Workforce and Equality & Diversity
Alan Best – Finance, Risk Management and H&S
Dan McAleavy – Care Quality
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Fairfield Farm College is a Specialist College for students with learning disabilities; it is a registered Charity, with residential, day and weekend courses. We are situated in the village of Dilton Marsh in Wiltshire. Our 26-acre farm site includes well-resourced teaching and vocational learning areas, a student common room, conference room, café and a farm shop.
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