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Trustee Role Description: General Trustee

Role title: Trustee of the BSI
Accountable to: Board of trustees
Term of office: Four years

The BSI is one of the oldest, largest, and most active, immunology societies in the world and the largest in Europe. Our membership is global, but the majority of members are British. The Society’s objective is to promote and support excellence in research, scholarship and clinical practice in immunology for the benefit of human and animal health and welfare.  

All Trustees are expected to make active and dynamic contributions to the Board, the organisation and to supporting our members. Trustees have wide-ranging skills, knowledge and experience appropriate to governance and strategy, including up to ten elected members (who are professional immunologists) and up to 4 additional co-opted individuals with specific expertise.

Elected Trustees include the President, Treasurer, Chair of Forum, Clinical Secretary and two Early Career Trustees and must be full members of the Society. Co-opted trustees are appointed by the Board because of their skills in finance, governance and other areas deemed necessary to ensure that the duties and obligations of the Board are fulfilled. 

Board meetings are chaired by the President (or a deputy Trustee) and are attended by senior officials of the Society (including the Chief Executive). Other appointed officers, Secretaries, Chairs of subcommittees and Editors of the Society’s journals may be invited to attend Board meetings to report on BSI activities when appropriate.

General responsibilities for Trustees:

  • Are responsible for the governance and strategy of the BSI
  • Are appointed for 4 years, but may be re-elected for a second term
  • May serve no more than two consecutive terms
  • Are expected to attend the Board meetings four times a year
  • Are responsible and accountable for the efficient running of the Society
  • Set high-level strategy and approve major expenditures
  • Work to ensure the BSI’s financial well-being and financial stability 
  • Ensure that the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • Ensure that the organisation pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document, ‘The rules of the BSI’.
  • Ensure the Society uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objectives: the charity must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objectives, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are
  • Will contribute actively to the board of trustees' role in giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets
  • Will safeguard the good name and values of the Society
  • Ensure the effective and efficient administration of the organisation
  • Ensure the financial stability of the organisation
  • Protect and manage the property of the charity and ensure the proper investment of the charity's funds
  • Appoint the chief executive officer and senior managers, and monitor their performance

All Trustees must understand and accept the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship and adhere to Nolan's seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

In addition to compliance with statutory duties, every Trustee should use their specific skills, knowledge, or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions.

This will involve:

  • Scrutinising board papers
  • Focusing on key issues of importance to the BSI
  • Providing guidance on new initiatives (especially in areas in which the trustee has special expertise)

Attending meetings and events to support the work of the BSI (e.g. the annual Congress, the AGM, meetings with senior stakeholders or partners and public engagement events)

Person specification

  • A demonstrable commitment to the Society and to immunology
  • Able and willing to devote the necessary time and energy to the BSI
  • A track-record of developing strategy and thinking creatively
  • Fair, independent judgment and a willingness to speak their mind
  • An ability to work collaboratively and collectively, accepting consensus


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