The JSLF is looking for a Trustee to join the Board


The John Spedan Lewis Foundation is a UK nature charity established in 1964 to continue the interests of John Spedan Lewis, the founder of employee-owned retailer the John Lewis Partnership.

We support nature focused projects in the UK, by awarding small grants to UK registered charities, making an annual award to celebrate contributions to conservation, and funding a PhD Studentship programme.

Today the JSLF Board includes:

  • As ex officio trustees, the JLP Chairman Sharon White and Partnership Council President Chris Earnshaw
  • An elected JL Partner, Sam Lee-Gammage (via the Partnership Council’s democratic process)
  • Two external Trustees recruited by the Board who bring UK nature expertise.
    • These roles are currently held by Dr Hazel Norman, CEO of the British Ecological Society, and ecologist and consultant Dr David Bagshawe-Cope.

Recruitment of an additional Trustee:

The past two years have seen a great deal of change at the JSLF, with the Trustees having undertaken strategic reviews of all charitable activities, including:
-Taking steps to widen participation in our PhD funding and our annual conservation award
-Developing a more agile and collaborative response to grant-giving, in response to the pandemic
-Aligning our investments with our charitable objectives, and ensuring that our Trustees can take a more proactive role in investment decisions.

We now wish to recruit an additional external Trustee to our Board.

Trustees of the JSLF have two main roles.

1) A member of the JSLF Board:

-Bring your skills, experience and knowledge into discussions exploring and agreeing changes to the JSLF’s strategic focus, organisational purpose or governance model.
-Able to attend JSLF Board meetings twice per year (online or in-person meetings as required), in addition to ad hoc meetings during strategic reviews (an additional three meetings per year, maximum).
-Able to respond to emails and comment on online documents relating to the work of the JSLF.

2) The legal role of Trustee in relation to England and Wales charity and company law:

On matters reserved for the trustees relating to finances, funding, risks, policies and other aspects of their legal responsibilities:
-Analyse, consider and discuss information prepared for the group of trustees
-Make recommendations and agree actions
-Take collective decisions
-Able to attend at least two 2-3 hour Trustee Meetings per year (online or in person as required), as well as any other online or in-person meetings (rarely exceeding 1 hour duration, and rarely more than 3 meetings in addition to the bi-annual meetings)
-Able to respond to emails and comment on online documents relating to matters reserved for the trustees.

See appendix B for fur further details of Trustees’ responsibilities

Person specification
The following skills, experiences and qualities are ones we see as important to have across our group of trustees. We are seeking:

-Willingness to collaborate with Trustees to proactively develop the JSLF as a UK nature charity
-Committed to supporting UK nature
-Committed to maintaining high levels of trust and openness between Trustees
-Understanding of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship, and/or previous experience of charity or voluntary organisation governance
-Experience of financial management of an organisation
-Experience of developing and applying charity policies, including equalities and diversity, and safeguarding, in public community-focused projects
-Legal experience or knowledge
-Experience of organisational capacity-building and/or strategic planning
-Experience of evaluating and monitoring an organisation’s impact and effectiveness

We hope to make appointments that reflect a diversity of backgrounds and lived experiences, to promote a rich range of perspectives within the group of trustees.

APPENDIX B: Trustees’ responsibilities

Trustees have, and must accept, ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.

The Charity Commission has produced a document The Essential Trustee. It is strongly recommended that, if they are not already, Trustees familiarise themselves with the document, which includes information on the duties and responsibilities of being a Trustee.

Trustee Duties
The overriding duty of a Trustee is to advance the purposes of the charity. Trustees are responsible for the proper administration of the charity. This includes making sure that the charity’s assets are used only for the purposes of the charity and that the charity operates in accordance with its governing document, charity law and all other laws and regulations which affect its activities. Trustees are ultimately responsible for everything the charity does and must act collectively, the decisions and responsibilities are shared.

In fulfilling these duties, Trustees:
● Must act in the best interests of the charity at all times, and to the benefit of present and future beneficiaries, in accordance with the charity’s governing document;
● Must exercise such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances. This duty is greater if a charity trustee has (or claims to have) any special knowledge or experience, or if their business or profession means that they can reasonably be expected to have special knowledge or experience. Where charity trustees are not expert in a matter, they are expected to take appropriate advice;
● Must act to protect the charity’s property and resources;
● Must ensure the solvency and effective running of the charity;
● Must ensure that there are effective controls in place to monitor and regularly review the charity’s finance and administration systems;
● Must agree the strategic direction of the charity;
● Must ensure that all risks to the charity and its assets are identified, possibly in a risk register, and appropriate steps established to mitigate against those risks;
● Must not personally profit from their position (reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses is a reasonable entitlement); unless relevant permission has been gained
from the Charity Commission, or the charity’s governing document gives express permission;
● Use charitable funds and assets reasonably, and only in furtherance of the charity’s objectives;
● Should familiarise themselves with the charity’s governing document and operating procedures;
● Should seek guidance from the Charity Commission, when a charity is no longer able to carry out its objects in line with the governing document, with the view to resolving the situation;
● Must ensure that proper minutes are kept recording the deliberations and decisions of meetings of the board of trustees;
● Must maintain appropriate records relating to accounts and financial matters and ensure that they are audited/independently examined accordingly. This may include accounts being filed at the Charity Commission. Presentation of accounts should be
in line with the Statement of Recommended Practice, and the Charity Commission’s Operational Guidance ‘Preparing Trustees’ Annual Reports and Accounts (Including the Charities SORP);
● Where applicable, ensure that the charity is registered with the Charity Commission and comply with any appropriate continuing obligations; and
● Must comply with any other legal or regulatory requirements relevant to their charity’s activities, such as:
• Health and Safety
• Employment law
• Money laundering and proceeds of crime regulations
• Data protection
• Commission for Social Care.

Get in touch

The JSLF Secretary Ruth can be contacted by email with questions or comments on this new opportunity: