Introducing Bradford Cathedral Council’s Chair Derek Twine CBE

DerekTwineDerek Twine CBE is Chair of Bradford Cathedral Council, Vice-Chair of Church Urban Fund (CUF), and National Trust Council member. He was previously CEO of the Scout Association and Chair of the ACEVO Governance Commission.

Tell us about your organisations

At the Cathedral we have a vibrant community that enriches the city and across West Yorkshire and the Dales; we do this through what people might expect of a cathedral (daily worship, wonderful music, an amazingly full programme of activity, and a fabulous building reflecting our heritage) and then also extending into being a small arts venue, giving support to vulnerable, homeless people and refugees, and stimulating public debate and action on the creation of a city where people flourish. At CUF we support practical action for justice in disadvantaged and marginalised communities across the country, with a tremendous focus on mobilising local action in local communities. And at the National Trust we have responsibility for what we see as special places for everyone, for ever – whether that be properties or open spaces. And across all these three organisations, as with the Scouts, the common theme is delivery and shared responsibility with volunteers who care passionately.

Why did you become a Chair?

My first Chairing experience was at uni in the early 1970s, with student social and community groups. I discovered then that I could help mobilise and motivate people to work together to clarify shared goals, and then develop strategies and plans to achieve those goals. Since then, even whilst being a charity Director then CEO, I’ve always balanced my life with various governance roles as Governor, Trustee and Chair.

What do you most enjoy about Chairing?

It’s exciting putting together a blend of roles, personalities and competences all sparking off each other towards a common cause, giving of their best, and being mutually respectful not just when celebrating successes but also when addressing tough decisions and hard issues.

Do you have any key tips to share?

I certainly don’t believe there can be a one-size-fits-all model for all charities regardless of size, sector or wealth. But as a Chair, I do look for openness and no surprises from the CEO or from other Trustees; I believe in Board and Trustee appraisal as much as I do for staff, and it’s the Chair’s role to lead on this; and I believe Trustees actually deserve well-Chaired Board meetings. Several years ago a friend who was on the same committee as me said “I want to be on a committee that I’m a member of, not just a committee that I go to” …that’s always informed my approach ever since.

Why did you join AoC?

When I was a CEO I derived great personal benefit from membership of ACEVO, and so felt that after retiring professionally I should now swing into action with AoC as a matter of principle. More personally, even just in the months since I’ve joined, I’ve benefitted from the networking and the intellectual stimulation with peers – plus they’re fun to be with.

May 2015