Being a trustee

Your expertise, vision and dedication can make a significant difference

A highly rewarding role

If you're interested in becoming a trustee or you just want to find out what this aspect of the Institute is about, we've set out some Q&As for you below. They include some key insights into the responsibilities, rewards and requirements of being a trustee.

What is a trustee?

A trustee is an individual who, collectively with other trustees, oversees and makes decisions on behalf of an organisation, in our case, a charity. Our trustees make up our governing body or Council. Trustees play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the profession too.

What's in it for me?

There are plenty of benefits to becoming a trustee, for example:

  • Impact the profession: Your involvement directly influences the strategic direction of the CIEHF and impacts ergonomics and human factors.  
  • Professional development: Serving as a trustee offers unique opportunities for leadership and personal growth. You get a behind-the-scenes look at how a professional organisation works.
  • Networking and collaboration: You'll connect and work with like-minded professionals to negotiate and contribute to a collective vision.

What will I do as a trustee?

You'll have specific collective roles and responsibilities, such as:

  • Strategic oversight: You'll be instrumental in setting the strategic direction of the CIEHF.
  • Governance and compliance: You'll ensure the Institute adheres to legal obligations and ethical standards.
  • Financial stewardship: You'll  oversee the financial health of the Institute, ensuring resources are managed effectively.
  • Directorship: When you become a trustee, you also become a director of the Institute.

What qualifications and skills do I need?

You don't need any particular qualifications or skills but you do need a real commitment to the CIEHF and a deep passion for ergonomics and human factors. You'll need to have the ability and drive to work collaboratively with other trustees and get behind the collective decisions made.

How will I know what to do?

The Chief Executive and the CIEHF team will support you throughout your term. You'll get induction training when you start to help you get to grips with and excel in your role.

How much time will it take?

You'll need to devote time to meetings of Council which take place four times a year - two online and two in-person. Online meetings last about three hours. In-person meetings include an expenses-paid dinner and overnight stay (if your home commitments allow) with time to socialise and get to know your fellow trustees.

You might also be asked to contribute to strategic planning sessions outside of these meetings or to consider decisions that need a quicker turnaround than the set timetable of meetings allow.

The dates of meetings are set a year in advance and the agenda and papers will be sent to you by email a week before each meeting. You'll need to have read the papers beforehand so you're ready to take part in discussions and decision making on the day.

Your term will run for three years. You can stand for re-election for a second term if you wish.

How many trustees does CIEHF have?

We have 19 trustee positions altogether, of which four are the Executive (President, Past President, President Elect and Treasurer) - all of these are open to Registered Members or Fellows of the Institute. (They can be also be Honorary Fellows, Retired Registered Members or Retired Fellows.) Three of the trustee positions are open to representatives of our Technical, Graduate and Associate Membership grades.

There is always a mix of new trustees and those who have been on Council for a year or two, ensuring a great mix of opinion, experience and fresh thinking.

Can I become a trustee and if so, how do I get elected?

Yes! Any current member of the Institute is eligible to stand for election when there are vacancies (apart from Students and Retired Members), whatever your background, experience or career stage. You nominate yourself online by submitting your details and a supporting statement and photo. The statement should say why you want to be elected and what you'll bring to the role.

You'll also need the support of two other Registered Members or Fellows (or Technical, Graduate or Associate members for the grade respresentative positions), who will need to submit statements in support of your nomination. Once nominations close, we'll have an online ballot and members can vote for you.

If you're interested in putting in a nomination, you don't need to do anything except look out for news that nominations are about to open.

When do elections take place?

The timetable for elections is determined by the date of the Institute's Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place in April. Nominations open at the beginning of February for about three weeks and you'll be sent an email with personal log in details.

About a week later, voting opens and you'll be eligible to vote so details of how to do so will be emailed to you. The ballot closes about ten days before the AGM. The result of the ballot is announced and trustees are formally elected during the AGM.

Will I get paid for being a trustee?

No. These are voluntary positions, but we will reimburse travel expenses when you attend in-person meetings.

Are there any documents I should read now?

Yes, there is more information you need to read if you're interested in becoming a trustee:

  1. Read the Charity Commission guidance for trustees called The Essential Trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do.
  2. Check the Charity Commission checklist covering trustee eligibility requirements.
  3. Take a look at our Charter documents which give details about the requirements of the Royal Charter for the CIEHF and its obligations.
  4. Read our Council Regulations, as these lay out how Council operates, including particular requirements for trustees with regard to confidentiality.

Can I talk to someone about the role?

Yes, of course, just email us and we'll be happy to set up a call to answer your questions.