Group Chair Designate

Role Description

The purpose of the Chair’s role is to direct the affairs of First Ark ensuring the day to day management is effectively delegated and carried out by the Chief Executive and the staff.

The Chair provides leadership to the board and creates the conditions for collective and individual board member effectiveness, both within and outside of the board room. He/she is also line manager for the Chief Executive.

Key accountabilities:

The Chair shares the key accountabilities and responsibilities of other board members in addition to the specific duties set out here.

Management of meetings

  • To ensure that the boards work plan is appropriate and agendas are forward looking, business and strategy focused.
  • To ensure the efficient and effective conduct of the boards business.
  • To ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the constructive discussion of complex or contentious issues, where appropriate arranging informal meetings beforehand to enable thorough preparation for the board discussion.
  • To ensure that the board receives accurate, timely and clear information that enable the board to take sound decisions and monitor the effectiveness of First Ark.
  • To ensure that appropriate internal/external professional advice is available at all times.
  • To ensure that decisions are correctly recorded and that matters arising and other follow up actions are monitored.

Board members

  • To ensure that the board matches the capabilities of the members with the skills requirements of First Ark and that it makes best use of the skills, competencies and experience of all board members.
  • To encourage the active engagement of all members in all aspects of the boards business.
  • To ensure that appropriate standards of behaviour are maintained in accordance with a code of conduct and any such probity policies as approved by the board.
    • To ensure that all board members are given the opportunity to make their contribution before any important decision is taken.
    • To ensure that individual board members’ minority views and concerns are addressed appropriately.
    • To ensure that the board agrees the role of the Deputy Chair and other board members and any committees.

Chief Executive and Executive Team

  • To ensure that the respective roles and responsibilities of the Chair and Chief Executive are clear.
  • To establish and develop a constructive and supportive relationship with the Chief Executive.
  • To ensure that the board as a whole acts in partnership with the Executive team.
  • To ensure that the board makes proper arrangement to appraise the performance of and determine the remuneration of the Chief Executive.
  • To ensure where necessary, that the Chief Executive is replaced in a timely and orderly manner.


  • To ensure that the board delegates sufficient authority to its committees, panels, the Chief Executive and others to enable the business of the organisation to be conducted effectively between meetings of the board.
  • To ensure that any decision taken under urgency procedures are as inclusive as possible and practical.
  • To ensure that the board monitors the use of any delegated powers.
  • To ensure that the board agrees the role provide for the Deputy Chair and other board members.

Learning and development

  • To lead and establish proper and appropriate arrangements for the boards’ collective and individual appraisal, including the Chairs own appraisal.
  • To promote and deliver continuous improvement in the boards effectiveness.
  • To ensure that adequate resources are available for ongoing training and development for the collective board and individual members.
  • To ensure that there is a properly constructed induction programme for every new board member which is comprehensive, formal and tailored.

Succession planning

  • To facilitate the development and implementation of a succession plan for board membership that balances continuity with the need for fresh skills and perspectives.
  • To ensure that the board has the requisite skills, competencies and experience appropriate for the business.
  • To ensure timely and open recruitment processes for board members.


  • To ensure that board members have appropriate administrative and other support to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • To encourage a positive culture of mutual support and appreciation within the board and with senior managers.
  • To ensure that scrutiny systems are in place and that there are robust plans to monitor the work of the organisation.

Probity and integrity

  • To ensure that the board receives professional advice when it is needed, either from its senior staff or form external sources to ensure appropriate levels of compliance.
  • To ensure that First Ark’s affairs are conducted in accordance with all relevant legal, regulatory and best practice standards.
  • To ensure that the board develops understanding of the views and priorities of its major stakeholders.

Transparency and openness

  • To ensure that the board’s deliberations and decisions are as open as practicable to all board/committee members, staff and other stakeholders.
  • To promote and demonstrate effective two way communications between board, committees and other entities throughout the organisation.
  • To establish and maintain the boards visibility and appropriate communications with staff.

Ambassadorial role

  • To ensure that First Ark is positively represented in the wider community and with key current and potential stakeholders and partners.
  • To ensure the prompt and effective management of any critical event with a potentially adverse impact on the Group’s reputation.

The details outlined in this Role Description, particularly the principal accountabilities, reflect the content of the job at the date the Role Description was prepared. It should be remembered however, that it is inevitable that over time the nature of individual roles will change, existing duties may be lost and other duties gained without changing the general remit of the duties or the level of responsibilities entailed. Consequently, the Company will expect to revise this Role Description from time to time and will consult the postholder at the appropriate time.

Person specification

Knowledge and experience

  • Previous non-executive board level or committee Chair experience in a customer focused organisation (not necessarily within the social housing sector).
  • A track record in providing effective leadership and management in an organisation of a similar size to First Ark and also groups of diverse stakeholders.
  • Understanding of governance and regulated sectors (public or private, charitable or non-charitable).
  • Understanding of social housing and associated regulation and associated standards and requirements.
  • Evidence of customer focus and services in a social housing context.
  • Evidence of strong business acumen.
  • Understanding of social policy.
  • Evidence of understanding and support for the concept of a social business and the environment that First Ark operates in.
  • Experience of being an ambassador for an organisation and evidence of effective public speaking.


  • Leadership and the ability to run meetings effectively - Board Meetings are properly chaired, with business conducted effectively, Board decisions are reached and recorded effectively.
  • Inclusiveness - giving Members opportunities to express their views in Board Meetings, ensuring that appropriate standards of behaviours are maintained. Management - ensuring that there is a constructive working relationship between the Chair and Executive Team.
  • Acting as an ambassador - ensuring the Chair is an excellent ambassador for First Ark and representing First Ark through networking.
  • Learning continuously - ensuring new ideas are embraced and supports the learning of others.
  • Influencing skills - the ability to negotiate, broker and act as an ambassador.
  • Strategy - the ability to think laterally, broadly and to consider many strategic aspects simultaneously.


  • Personally uphold the values of the Group.
  • Genuine desire to work in the community.
  • Ability to give appropriate time commitment.

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