About Bliss’ Board of Trustees
Bliss’ Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for ensuring we deliver our charitable mission and spend our money wisely. At Bliss we work hard to ensure that trustees take effective decisions and bring value to delivering Bliss’ vision that every baby born premature or sick in the UK has the best possible chance of survival and quality of life.
Bliss has 12 trustees from diverse backgrounds in the charity, public and private sector, appointed following an open recruitment process. All Bliss’ trustees are voluntary and some have personal or professional experience relating to premature and sick babies. Others bring a range of expertise including finance, governance, HR, policy, commissioning, digital and marketing. Trustees at Bliss serve a term of four years, and can serve a maximum of two terms.
In 2015/16 our trustee attendance rate at full board meetings was 77 per cent, and we aim for it to reach 80 per cent or above in the future. The board collectively reviews its performance regularly, and devotes time every year to discuss and agree how it can improve its added value. A performance review of each trustee is also conducted annually by the Chair and Vice-Chair.
Adding value and bringing wider perspectives to our work
However, being a trustee at Bliss is about more than attending board meetings. Trustees add value in many different ways, helping to bring different perspectives and challenge as well as their professional expertise. We believe that trustees who engage directly with the staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and supporters of Bliss outside of board meetings will have a deeper understanding of our work, and will therefore be able to take more informed decisions and act as a more effective critical friend. We also believe that it is important to bring alternative voices into discussions from time to time.
Our expectation at Bliss is that our trustees will contribute to our work by:
- Participating in board and committee meetings and Bliss events
- Providing professional expertise and access to their networks
- Supporting fundraising
- Taking on a specific role or providing advice on a particular project
- Meeting informally with staff across the organisation
- Meeting those affected by our work, for example through attending fundraising or campaigning events and visiting neonatal units
The Board also regularly invites external speakers – practitioners, parents or subject experts – to meetings and asks for honest feedback, and compares Bliss’ performance against other similar charities.