Trustee Exchange 2019

11 April 2019 London

Raising the bar for charity governance

We are delighted to bring you the programme for the 12th annual Trustee Conference, now in a new venue, the lovely BMA House in London Euston. As always, we bring you a mix of technical and regulatory updates alongside examples of great practice in governance and leadership, lively panel debates and inspirational case studies. This year, we open the conference with an honest and reflective keynote from RNIB chair Eleanor Southwood, and close with an exploration of what different charities are doing to meet their broader responsibilities to society, as denoted by the Charity Commission’s new strategic vision for the sector, and by the Charity Governance Code.

Once again there will be plenty of opportunities throughout the day to connect with your fellow delegates, share your issues and your knowledge, and get professional advice from sector experts. Trustee Exchange 2019 will arm you with plenty of practical solutions and ideas that you can take back to your charity to help it tackle the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of the future. Always a sell-out event, we encourage you to book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment, and we look forward to seeing you on the day.


11 April 2019

  • 9.00AM - 9.20AM
    Registration, coffee & networking
    Registration, coffee & networking
  • 9.20AM - 9.30AM
    Chair's welcome
    Tania Mason, editor,Governance & Leadership
  • 9.30AM - 10.00AM
    Opening keynote: Governing through challenging times - a chair's perspective
    Shortly after Eleanor Southwood became chair of RNIB, the charity was to face serious concerns around safeguarding which led to the
    departure of its chief executive and a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission. The charity has also undergone major restructuring to
    address a £12m deficit resulting in job losses. Yet she is determined that the organisation will emerge from these challenges stronger than ever,
    with a sharper focus on its beneficiaries, having refreshed its strategy and launched a new brand. In this thoughtful and honest speech, Eleanor
    will reflect on the challenge of making the transition from the long-established and high-profile “old guard”, outline the charity's new, more
    collaborative strategic approach, and extol the importance of leaders setting the right tone from the start.

    Eleanor Southwood, chair, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
  • 10.00AM - 10.50AM
    1A. The board's role in embedding a counter-fraud culture
    Fraud costs the charity sector up to £2.3bn a year, and is only going to get worse. From theft of donations involving staff or volunteers, to cyber-crimes such as phishing scams or ransomware, all charities are vulnerable to fraud, and the damage done to finances and reputation can be
    fatal. Macmillan Cancer Support's board recognised this growing threat three years ago and appointed Bob Browell as counterfraud manager to tackle the problem. Since then, Browell has led the way in recovering over £300,000 for the charity, by rolling out measures that have made the whole
    organisation, from the trustees down, much more alive to the risks and what each person can do to aid fraud prevention.

    Bob Browell, counter-fraud manager, Macmillan Cancer Support
  • 10.00AM - 10.50AM
    1B. Is your fundraising up to scratch?

    The relaunched Code of Fundraising Practice is about to be published, and the Fundraising Regulator is set to announce changes to its levy for September 2019 onwards. Join this session to hear the Regulator's chief executive explain the reasons behind these key changes, and to learn how boards should use the Code to help them meet their regulatory requirement of delivering strategic oversight of their charity's fundraising activities.

    Gerald Oppenheim, chief executive, the Fundraising Regulator

  • 10.00AM - 10.50AM
    1C. Making the impossible, possible: A case study of sheer bloody-mindedness
    Although modelling of future demand forthe 17-bed Thames Hospice showed that 34 beds would be needed by 2035, its existing site was already beyond capacity and historic covenants meant it couldn’t move anywhere else. But thanks to the vision and determination of its chair and chief executive, it is now building a brand new, state-of-the-art lakeside hospice, futureproofing the charity’s services for decades to come. Join this session to hear Martin Jervis’s inspirational story of shaving mirrors, 'chance' encounters, and refusing to take no for an answer.

    Martin Jervis, former chair, Thames Hospice
  • 10.50AM - 11.15AM
    Networking and refreshment break
    Networking and refreshment break
  • 11.15AM - 12.00PM
    2A. Panel discussion: What does a diverse board look like?

    The Charity Commission's Taken on Trust research confirmed that the state of diversity on charity boards is dire: 92 per cent of trustees are white, men outnumber women by two to one, and the average age
    of trustees is 61. Just as worryingly, 75 per cent are richer than average. We're no longer shocked by these statistics, but what are we doing to address them? Join this session to hear our expert panel consider the reasons behind the lack of diversity, propose tangible solutions, and share some good practice that's already taking place.

    Ben Kernighan, chief executive and Chantal Chang, young trustee, Leap Confronting Conflict; Sandra Kerr, chair, Elevation Networks and race equality director, Business in the Community; Shane Ryan, senior head of partnerships, Big Lottery Fund; Patti Whaley, interim chair, ActionAid UK; Dr Sarabajaya Kumar, senior teaching fellow in voluntary sector policy and leadership, UCL

  • 11.15AM - 12.00PM
    2B. Good financial management for trustees
    Proper strategic oversight of your charity’s finances is about much more than reading numbers on a page – all trustees need to understand the financial model that underpins their charity’s activities, and the drivers that affect its sustainability: diversification and predictability of income, flexibility of costs, effective systems and controls, risk appetite, reserves policy, and more. Join this session to learn the right questions to ask to assess the robustness of your business model in light of the skills and capacity of your team, and determine where your board might need to focus its time and attention.

    Judith Miller, partner, Sayer Vincent
  • 11.15AM - 12.00PM
    2C. The role of the board in handling an existential threat
    The care workers’ sleep-in crisis had many charities staring down the barrel of insolvency and scared their very existence was under threat. Such a situation can drive many boards to panic and spark unwelcome forensic examination of the executive team’s activities. Fortunately, the board at learning disability charity Hft had previously worked its way out of dysfunctionality and was able to rely on its transparent new models of governance, business and service delivery to ensure the organisation not only kept its head and worked as a team, but played a leading role in the sector-wide response to the crisis.

    Baroness Jolly, chair, and Robert Longley- Cook, chief executive, Hft
  • 12.00PM - 12.50PM
    3A. Recruiting for skills: How to find new trustees
    We all know that tapping up your mates doesn’t cut it any more when you need new trustees, but how do you go about creating the optimum board, bearing in mind the drive for diversity and the imperative of relevant professional skills? Drawing on his extensive experience of shaping charity, school and public sector boards, Mohamed will explain how to use your charity’s objectives to determine the skillsets required around the table, how to identify potential trustees within specific communities, and how to use succession planning to improve your board’s effectiveness.

    Mohamed Omer, board member - external affairs, Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery
  • 12.00PM - 12.50PM
    3B. Holding your nerve: Investing for the long term

    For charities that rely on investments, a long-term approach helps to ride out volatile markets, survive shocks and maximise returns. Yet it's not always easy to hold your nerve in a turbulent market when charity assets are at stake. Join this session to hear Emily Petersen advise on how investor trustees can make the most of the time they have – be that time in meetings or investment time horizons – by setting clear principles and strategies, taking prudent risks, and maintaining an unwavering focus on their charitable goals.

    Emily Petersen, portfolio director, Cazenove

  • 12.00PM - 12.50PM
    3C. Building the ultimate top team: Reaching new heights together
    The board and the senior executive team working together efficiently is the most critical factor in governance effectiveness. Key factors required for such a partnership include trust, agility, effective challenge and positive behaviours. Drawing on their recent work with a number of charities, Caroline and Fiona will lead this interactive session to explore how a board and senior executive team can get the best out of each other in order to drive greater impact for their beneficiaries.

    Caroline Copeman, senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School and principal consultant at Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness and Fiona Ash, visiting fellow at Cass Business School and service lead consultant for governance at Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness
  • 12.50PM - 1.50PM
    Lunch and networking break
    Lunch and networking break
  • 1.50PM - 2.35PM
    4A. Nurturing the board/executive relationship
    The relationship between the board and the executive is pivotal to the success of a charity, but it can be tricky to achieve consensus on where strategic oversight stops and operational detail begins. How can trustees assure themselves they have the right level of information without appearing to interfere? Join this session to hear how Islamic Relief Worldwide has achieved this balance through formal and informal measures, a keen focus
    on accountability, and a healthy dose of emotional intelligence.

    Naser Haghamed, chief executive, Islamic Relief Worldwide
  • 1.50PM - 2.35PM
    4B. Regulatory update: Safeguarding, serious incidents, and lessons from inquiry reports

    In this session, Con will cover all the latest developments in the Charity Commission's approach to regulation and their relevance to trustees and senior managers, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding not only for young and vulnerable adult beneficiaries,but for staff and others who come into contact with charities too. The session will also examine the rules around serious incident reporting and the areas trustees and senior managers should be aware of in light of recent inquiry reports published by the Commission.

    Con Alexander, partner, VWV

  • 1.50PM - 2.35PM
    4C. Reviewing governance to support effective strategic leadership
    In 2016 the Royal Society of Chemistry initiated a root-and-branch governance review to clarify the role, structure and membership of the board of trustees, its reporting boards and committees, and the effectiveness of their relationship with the executive. The review involved extensive consultation with staff and the professional body’s 54,000 members, and resulted in some radical changes. Join this session to hear why the RSC undertook the review and what benefits it will deliver to the organisation – and to the advancement of chemistry – well into the future.

    Helen Pain, deputy chief executive, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2.35PM - 3.25PM
    5A. Time out: the benefits of a minisabbatical for the CEO
    In January 2018, four years into her CEO role, Chandra McGowan asked her board if she could take a mini-sabbatical. They agreed, and she went off for a month to reflect, rebalance, recharge and ready herself for the next phase of the charity’s development. The experience was more revealing and impactful than she could have imagined. Join this session to hear Chandra’s story of how she approached her mini-sabbatical, the benefits it has brought
    both to herself and to the organisation, and why other boards should consider letting their CEO take some time out.

    Chandra McGowan, chief executive, Whiteley Homes Trust
  • 2.35PM - 3.25PM
    5B. Brexit: What does it mean for UK charities?
    The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019. What terms have been agreed, and what do they mean for UK charities? In this practical session Katharine will consider the impact of the Brexit terms and timetable for charities, including:
    • The risk of economic fluctuations
    • Tax changes
    • State Aid regulations and UK tax incentives
    • and reliefs
    • Resourcing needs and freedom of
    • movement, and
    • Funding and charitable giving.
    Katharine Arthur, head of tax, haysmacintyre
  • 2.35PM - 3.25PM
    5C. Supporting the trustee board through an extra layer of governance
    The new chair and new chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust wanted to ensure the charity's governance was as robust as possible, while also finding ways to make use of talented individuals that were passionate
    about THT's work. The result was a fullyappointed
    advisory board which provides constructive challenge, expert advice, and a
    sounding board to the charity's trustees and executive team. Join this session to hear how the structure works and what impact it has had on THT's performance.

    Ian Green, chief executive and Ivor Caplin, chair of the advisory board, Terrence Higgins Trust
  • 3.25PM - 3.50PM
    Refreshment and networking break
    Refreshment and networking break
  • 3.50PM - 4.50PM
    Panel discussion: The bigger picture: Meeting wider responsibilities to society
    The Charity Commission's new strategic direction makes clear that the regulator expects charities to hold themselves to the highest standards of behaviour in everything they do. The Charity Governance Code was already one step ahead; clause 1.5.3 states that charity boards ought to recognise their "broader responsibilities towards communities, stakeholders, wider society and the environment, and act on them in a manner consistent with the charity's purposes, values and available resources". Has your charity considered how to do this? Join our expert panel to hear how boards are looking beyond their charity's own objects to a wider view of responsible corporate behaviour on issues as diverse as fair pay, ethical investment, fundraising, carbon emissions and modern slavery.

    Chaired by Rosie Chapman, chair of the Charity Governance Code Steering Group; Jo Lacey, head of workplace facilities and sustainability, Cancer Research UK; Mike Taylor, commercial director, British Heart Foundation; Stuart Popham, chair, RNLI; Hilary Edridge, incoming chair, Porchlight; Lucy Bannister, programme manager, Living Wage Foundation; Jackie Turpin, head of finance, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
  • 4.50PM - 4.55PM
    Chair's closing remarks
    Tania Mason, editor, Governance & Leadership
  • 4.55PM - 6.00PM
    Networking drinks reception
    Networking drinks reception


Very useful networking with charities big and small and the commonalities
Janet Bloor, Action Duchenne

A rare opportunity to meet enthusiastic committed expertise from many walks of life Jane Flint Bridgewater, Cardiovascular Care Partnership UK

Very well structured with topics covering all aspects affecting trustees in the charity sector
Jeev Sahoo, Three Cs Support

Great day, wide ranging topics, just need to prioritise my actions now
Stephanie Maurel, Concordia

Excellent - critically important for getting up to date information direct from the 'horse’s mouth' in many cases
Duncan Bridges, Malvern Hills Conservators

Excellent day - thought provoking
Debby Webb, International Cat Care

Very valuable introduction to the role of the trustee on a charity board and excellent networking opportunity
Ian Judson, Sarcoma UK

Extremely relevant to my role as chair. Some new perspectives and reminders offered
Andrew Johnston, C.C.I.L

Great networking opportunity to identify common issues in the sector and how others have dealt with them
Wendy Bosler, Cats Protection

Very useful way to spend a day. Much food for thought and a good mix of tactical and strategic issues to discuss
Susan Griffin, The Donkey Sanctuary

Excellent breadth of information. Stimulating plenaries and workshops - Sandie Keene, Langley House Trust

An excellent one day opportunity to refresh my thinking on governance and test it with peers
Greg Holder, Pepenbury


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(booking made by 1 March)
Bookings after 1 March
Small charity rate (<250k income) 199 199
Charity delegate 269 319
Charity extra place(s) 169 209
Charity team ticket (up to four places) 639 769
Non charity delegate 749 799

All prices excluding VAT

To purchase additional delegate places, please contact [email protected]


BMA House
Tavistock square 
Tel: 020 7222 8010 / 020 7874 7020
Fax: 020 7222 6883

BMA House is a spectacular grade II listed building which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and has been the home to the British Medical Association since 1925. 


For sponsorship and exhibition queries contact Yvette Micallef

For speaker queries contact Isabella Lewis

For registration queries contact Carys Pugh

For media partnerships and marketing queries contact Kirsty Brown

Terms & Conditions

Please note that speakers and topics were confirmed at the time of publishing, however, circumstances beyond the control of the organisers may necessitate substitutions, alterations or cancellations of the speakers and/or topics. As such Civil Society Media Ltd reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or topics if necessary. Any substitutions or alterations will be updated on our web page as soon as possible.

Substitution and cancellation policy: On receipt of your booking form, your place is confirmed. Delegate substitutions are allowed. Refunds on cancellations will only be issued (less a 15% administration charge) up to and including 14 days prior to the event. Refunds will not be issued after this date. Confirmation of cancellations MUST be in writing and sent or faxed to Civil Society Media at 15 Prescott Place, London, SW4 6BS 020 7819 1200 (fax: 020 7819 1210).