Trustees Forum

Here you will find notes from our online Trustees Forum (held since September), with most recent first. You will also be able to access any resources and useful documents shared from these sessions:

13 October 2020

In this months session, trustees had asked that we spend time looking at what organisations had done or were doing differently as a result of COVID-19.

Working from home and remote service delivery was discussed. For some trustees it better enabled them to make meetings, with some volunteering in tele-befriending services. Staff working from home was discussed, with a number of trustees highlighting the need to care for staff and especially identifying and supporting those who may be struggling. Trustees were assured of the HR guidance and support available through Visionary.

The latest COVID-19 announcements, tier system and local lockdowns were discussed. Re-opening offices and services were also explored along with the impact of the changing model of sight loss service delivery. Whilst remote/online work does help, face-to-face practical work in the community, albeit with less of a centre-based approach, trustees all agreed is still needed to help support the growing number of visually impaired people losing the skills and especially the self-confidence to leave their homes. Two trustees shared their quite poignant personal experiences of this, including worries about social distancing and getting knocked down by a car.

Remote/home working and online service delivery led to a discussion about reducing office space. Whilst this helped with costs, it was also relevant to the longer-term shift to home working and in particular more focused community delivery models.

At trustees request the next session (Tuesday 10 November, 4pm to 5pm) will look at conducting AGM’s remotely and how trustees can support their organisations staff.

The Trustee Forum provides the opportunity for trustees to network in a safe and supportive environment, with access to the same advice and support as available to those who work in their organisations.

15 September 2020

Responding to feedback from trustees, this month’s Trustee Forum focused upon Trustees’ role and responsibilities in relation to Health and Safety (H and S).

There was expert input from Carl Harrison, a H and S expert who is Visionary’s retained H and S advisor and a trustee of Galloway’s, a local sight loss charity based in Lancashire. Carl outlined that in order to meet their obligations trustees needed go beyond simply accepting assurances from the organisation’s management team that “appropriate steps were in place”. Just as they would regarding finances, the Board needed to feel confident that there is evidence of suitable and sufficient risk control measures in place. Carl emphasised the need for trustees to support their operational teams as they worked hard to balance supporting blind and partially sighted people whilst complying with constantly evolving COVID-19 guidance.

Both Carl and Andy discussed what sorts of topics the regular Visionary H and S support sessions had been covering with operational staff and outlined that an extensive range of expert developed good practice downloadable resources, policies and risk assessments were accessible for all members to access on the Visionary website. It was also emphasised that should trustees want any H and S advice, or any other support in their role as a trustee, then they can contact Visionary for support.

Trustees at the session also discussed broader issues such as a Trustee Code of Conduct, addressing conflicts of interest, remote working and the running of “remote services”.

The next Trustee Forum will take place on Tuesday 13 October, 4pm to 5pm. As requested, the forum will focus upon members sharing examples of what their organisations have done to cope with COVID-19.

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