Trustee Role Descriptions

The roles presented below, represent the minimum required roles to ensure operation of the society. As such, each trustee is expected to undertake at least one role from the list below as well as the general responsibilities belonging to all trustees. In addition to ongoing roles, trustees may lead on (or take part in) some particular project / event / working group. Working groups will then report in the same way as sub groups at each trustee meeting.


  • To govern – i.e. directing and controlling the organisation through collective decision making.
  • Update the communications team (when requested) with an update of any activities for publication in the newsletter.
  • Where trustees are involved in operational activities, trustees should refrain from acting in a capacity in which they are not authorized to do so and should seek guidance from the trustee board if they are unsure. e.g. Trustees should not sign contracts or agreements without board approval.
  • Take part in sub-groups and working groups as necessary to ensure the running of the Society.


  • Chair trustee meetings and ensure that they operate according to the Charity Commission guidance.
    • Ensure that subgroups and roles report progress
  • Leading the committee and the organisation to enable it to fulfil its purpose.
  • To ensure an effective relationship between the trustees and the: 
    • Working groups
    • Volunteers
    • Stakeholders
    • Wider community
  • Acting as a spokesperson and figurehead as appropriate.
  • Organising the AGM.
  • Preparation and submission of the Trustee Annual Report to the Charity Commission.
  • Answering policy, governance and non-membership questions from the trustee mailing list.
  • Keeping track of Society assets via the asset register.
  • Core slide deck from presentations about the Society.
  • Keep up to date with legal requirements from the Charity Commission.
  • Maintain Society governance and internal policy by ensuring policies are put in place to maintain operation of the society.
  • Maintain trustee guidance resources via the operations manual.
  • Advise external committees on RSE policy, engage with funders and relevant organizations to advocate and lobby for the RSE community.
  • Proactively looking for opportunities for raising Society funds
  • Ensure that the Society operates within the bounds of the constitution and that the constitution remains relevant.
  • Resolve conflicts, including being on the Code of Conduct Committee.
  • Support trustees in their roles.
  • Train and mentor the Vice President to ensure a successful handover after the end of the President’s term.
  • Ensure the trustee handover takes place and that new trustees are inducted to the Society.
  • Ensure that trustee meetings are accessible and that trustees are able to challenge each other constructively.

Vice President

  • Assisting the president with the leadership and running of the committee and the responsibilities outlined for the President role.
  • Deputising for the President through agreed delegation or during and period of absence/illness.
  • Preparation for becoming President in future.


  • Oversee the financial affairs of the organisation and ensure they are legal, constitutional and within accepted accounting practice.
  • Summarise and define the annual financial budget (or changes to this throughout the year) and ensure new trustees are presented with financial information on the charities current financial status. 
  • Ensure proper records are kept and that effective financial procedures are in place by logging any expenditure and income.
  • Continually monitor and report on the financial health of the organisation (at trustee meetings) and raise and discuss any issues with the president/vice president/wider trustee board as appropriate.
  • Define and maintain policy relating to expenses and finance within the society.
  • Oversee the production of necessary financial reports/returns, accounts and audits.
  • Responsible for preparing and submitting the annual charity accounts to the Charity Commission alongside the trustee report (prepared by the president/vice president)
  • Answer questions via the mailing list relating to payments and expenditure
  • Be the main contact for the Society Accountants and assist with any auditing.
  • Investigate opportunities for raising society funds.
  • Mentor the vice treasurer and support them in their role managing the conference budget by retaining oversight and overall responsibility.

Vice Treasurer

  • Assisting the Treasurer by undertaking responsibilities outlined for the Treasurer role.
  • Act as treasurer for the RSE conference
  • Deputising for the Treasurer through agreed delegation or during and period of absence/illness.
  • Preparation for becoming Treasurer in future.

Secretary (Lead / Second)

  • Ensure that the operations manual is followed and updated where necessary to ensure that meetings take place according to the policies set out.
  • Schedule monthly meetings, using a poll to find the most convenient dates and times for all 12 trustees. Meetings last 2 hours each month.
  • Organise logistics – a Zoom room, a venue and catering if necessary.
  • Ensure Trustee meeting agendas are circulated one week in advance of trustee meetings and any written documents and policy is circulated.
    • Work with the trustees to remind them of the requirements of circulating documents prior to meetings
  • Ensure that a trustee (or other suitable person) is nominated as note taker for each trustee meeting. Take oversight of the note taking process to ensure that they can effectively;
    • Disseminate public minutes from meeting notes
    • Disseminate public actions and decisions from meeting minutes (in the decision log)
    • Upload and create GitHub actions following meetings.
  • Monitor GitHub issues to ensure that they are assigned to relevant topics and hence sub groups.
  • Be a member of the Code of Conduct Committee.

Conference (Lead / Second)

Conference Lead and Liaison will

  • Deliver the annual RSE conference raising a profit for the charity.
  • Organise and lead the call for volunteers to form the conference subcommittee, interview and form the conference subcommittee.
  • Recruit a suitable Programme Chair to work closely with the Logistics Chair, Sponsorship Chair and Treasurer to form the Conference Steering Group.
  • As liaison, report to the trustees each month on the conference progress (both current and the next year).
  • Inform the conference subcommittee, particularly the Programme Chair and Treasurer, of their operating parameters as per the Terms of Reference document.
  • Bringing conference-related proposals / questions to the trustees for discussion and decisions.

Conference Second will

  • Research suitable venues for the following years’ conference.
  • Liaise with the venues for a full detailed quote using the Venue Specification document and the quotation comparison spreadsheet.
  • Visit suitable venues if necessary with the Conference Lead.
  • Work through the legal requirements, T&Cs, getting legal advice from the Charity solicitors when necessary to ensure that the society is financially protected.
  • Assist the Conference Lead with the acquisition of the insurances for the current conference.

Web & Infrastructure (Lead / Second)

  • Manage website infrastructure including
    • VM
    • Backups
    • Analytics
    • Keeping WordPress, plugins and security certificates up to date
    • Renew accounts when required (should be automated)
  • Manage Society email groups (web, membership etc)
  • Manage Google Workspace infrastructure
    • Manage user accounts and groups — e.g. password resets, new accounts for new trustees
    • Check spam filters on Groups
  • Keep track of Society online accounts and who has access (via LastPass and the asset register)
  • Liaise with conference website chair to set up the conference website
  • Undertake and support web development of other websites supported by the society where appropriate.
  • Research new online systems or tools as required to support the operation of the society.
  • Documentation of above systems.
  • Coordinate development of new web content
    • Liaise with other trustees to generate new content
    • Author content under direction of the trustees
    • Assist other trustees with formatting/editing of new content where appropriate
    • Check website regularly for out of date content
  • Maintain accessibility of all web content — font colours, backgrounds etc.
  • Liaise with conference website chair
  • Moderate job submissions for the vacancy page
  • Manage community resources on website
    • Add new resources to link database (including from newsletter)
    • Moderate user submissions of resources to the link database
    • Develop and manage other resource pages including RSE map and case studies
  • Undertake and support web development of other websites supported by the society where appropriate.

Membership (Lead / Second)

  • Ensure membership packages are defined and developed to meet the needs of the Society and its prospective members (individuals and corporate)
    • Track member needs/feedback
  • Act as the first point of contact with technical support of the membership platform.
  • Improve and maintain systems for member registration
    • Liaise with the membership platform to resolve issues
    • Ongoing improvements — e.g. international direct debit
  • First contact for answering questions to trustee mailing list
    • Answer membership queries
    • Direct other queries to the appropriate trustee
  • Track member demographics and report these to the diversity and inclusion roles.
  • Proactively create new initiatives to get new members (Twitter, Slack regularly)
  • Continually review and report on membership to the trustees by monitoring the membership platform.
  • Encourage mailing list members to become paying members of the Society.
  • Engage with members to understand what our communities needs are in terms of members benefits.

Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility (Lead / Second)

  • Actively driving continuous improvement in the diversity and inclusivity of the Society and the RSE community.
  • Be on the Code of Conduct Committee.
  • Maintaining the codes of conduct for the Society and Society events. 
  • Ensuring that data is gathered to give a sound basis for trustee decision making, including data on various dimensions of diversity as well as the needs and priorities of the RSE community.
  • Proactively getting involved in all activities to ensure that we meet our EDIA goals.
  • Reporting on progress of how the Society has improved inclusivity and accessibility. 
  • Measuring the impact of specific initiatives and actions undertaken. 
  • Liaising with the EDI chair of the RSE conference.
  • Ensuring accessibility of the SocRSE website, tools and processes.

Communications & Publicity (Lead / Second)

  • Create and deliver a communications plan for our community:
    • To include a regular newsletter, 
    • Regular tweeting on the Society Twitter account
    • Building the community on Twitter, engaging more members, build the society brand
    • Continue to grow the slack community
    • Organise a series of blog posts?
    • Review needs for communication channels as required 
  • Create a publicity plan for specific events to engage our members (and a wider audience) to ensure that events are well attended and represented.
  • Graphics/branding – Coordinate professional branding, graphics, creative PR materials etc.
  • Work with membership roles to maintain and increase mailing list (non paying members).
  • Ensure publicity and printed/display materials maintain branding guides (e.g. by producing content via Canva).
  • Gather and publish updates on trustee activities as part of the newsletter released to our members.