We are looking for up to four new members for the Board of the Charles Dickens Museum. These are voluntary positions requiring Board members to work as a team to provide strategic leadership for the Museum, to be responsible for the house in which Charles Dickens lived, 48 Doughty Street, and the adjoining property, as well as the Museum’s unique and substantial collection of documents and artefacts. A crucial part of the Board’s role is to provide support and advice to the Museum Director and staff. Eligible candidates will need to show evidence of the ability to think strategically, to review and question management reports and financial information, to assess and manage risk, and to develop sound forward plans to ensure an exciting and sustainable future for the Museum.
We are looking for individuals with significant experience in at least one of the following areas:
- Finance: applicants with accountancy qualifications would be particularly welcome
- Museum collections and curatorial matters
- Retail: helping the Museum to maximise income from its shop, online sales, and cafe
- Social inclusion: connecting Dickens’s work and writings on social deprivation with modern day issues
The Charles Dickens Museum
The object of the charity is to promote, encourage, maintain, improve and advance education of the public in the life and works of Charles Dickens and to establish and maintain the property at 48 Doughty Street in the London Borough of Camden as a Museum to house and preserve all articles having connection with Charles Dickens.
The Charles Dickens Museum aims to be the leading centre for the study, appreciation and enjoyment of Charles Dickens’s life and work. 48 Doughty Street is the only remaining house of Charles Dickens in London and the one in which he began married life, became established as a writer, and rose rapidly to international fame. The Charles Dickens Museum houses the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of material relating to Charles Dickens with over 100,000 items including furniture, personal effects, paintings, prints, photographs, letters, manuscripts, and rare editions. A temporary exhibition programme enhances and complements the Museum’s permanent displays.
Becoming a Board Member
The Charles Dickens Museum is a charity, governed by a sole trustee company, which is limited by guarantee. Board members are directors of the sole trustee company and responsible for ensuring that this company carries out its duties as the trustee of the charity. The Museum is managed by a Director, who leads a small team of staff. The Board is responsible for setting and monitoring the Museum’s finances and strategic objectives and for ensuring that the organisation delivers its charitable directives in compliance with charity law. Board members support the Museum’s management team and oversee its performance.
Being a Board member of the Charles Dickens Museum is a voluntary, unremunerated role, although expenses (such as travel for attending required meetings) may be claimed. Board members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, bringing with them their experience, skills and expertise to enrich the running of the charity. At the same time, members gain a great deal from their work on the Board in terms of new experiences and knowledge.
There are currently 11 Board members who meet six times a year. In addition, members contribute to the Board’s committees and project groups. Currently there is a committee dealing with the Museum’s finances, staffing and governance matters, and an advisory group overseeing the Museum collections. Additionally, ad hoc project groups are convened as needed to deal with particular areas of work, such as education policy and provision and marketing strategy. Board members join the committees and project groups depending on their skills, interest and available time.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Board Member
The main duties of Board members are to work cooperatively with colleagues to:
- Set the strategic direction of the charity in line with Articles of Association, leaving the operational direction to the Director and team
- Ensure that the Museum complies with its governing document and any relevant legislation or regulations
- Safeguard the Museum’s finances by approving the budget , monitoring expenditure and ensuring the achievement of financial objectives
- Appoint the Director and oversee performance
- Regularly review the policies for the operation of the Museum as a charity
- Manage strategic risks to the organisation, including any conflicts of interest
- Protect the property of the Museum
Attributes required by Board Members
- Ability to demonstrate a clear understanding of the governance framework within which the Museum operates
- A clear interest in and commitment to the Museum’s central purpose to promote the work of Charles Dickens
- Proven strategic vision
- Sound, independent judgment and ability to question constructively
- Ability to work effectively as a member of a team
- The time to commit to meetings and project groups
- at least six meetings a year, held normally in the afternoon or early evening
- preparation for meetings in reading through and commenting on papers produced for the Board
- attendance at various events held at the Museum
- Experience in/ understanding of staff management and employment legislation
In contributing to the work of the Board, effective Board members must use reasonable care, avoid any conflict of interests, make use of their skills and experience in the interests of the Museum and its staff, and be ready to take appropriate advice as necessary.
Further information about the role is contained in the Charity Commission Guide—The Essential Trustee—What you need to Know.
Support for new Board Members
New Board members will be given an induction pack containing useful information about the governance of the Charles Dickens Museum and its current forward plan and finances. An induction briefing will be arranged and Board members can contact the Director to arrange visits in order to become familiar with the day to day work of the Museum.
Please send a CV and up to two sides of A4 explaining how you meet our requirements and why you are interested in joining the Charles Dickens Museum Board, to the Director, Dr Cindy Sughrue, using the Apply button, by 24th April 2017.
For an informal discussion on the phone with the Chair, please email this request to the Director as above.