MILTON KEYNES PARKS TRUST TRUSTEES The Parks Trust is one of Milton Keynes’ great success stories. With stewardship of over 20% of the land in the new city area and as one of the largest commercial property owners in MK, its success and the success of Milton Keynes are inextricably linked. As Milton Keynes enters a pivotal moment in its history, so too does the Trust.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Trust and ensuring it performs well. Because of the Trust’s significant role in the city’s future, being a Trustee is a position of influence and great responsibility – to this and generations to come.

Trustees are people who care passionately about Milton Keynes and who recognise the vital contribution the parks and landscape make to the city’s prosperity, and the quality of life of everyone living and working here. If you support our aims and are prepared to give some of your time to this important role, we would like to hear from you. The role of Trustee is interesting and rewarding and one in which your knowledge and skills will be harnessed to make a really positive contribution.

We positively welcome people from diverse backgrounds and with disabilities.

1 THE ROLE OF TRUSTEE The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Milton Keynes Parks Trust. Its main purpose is:

 To set and monitor the strategic direction of the charity;

 To ensure the Charity is properly managed and complies with all relevant legislation, accepting ultimate responsibility for the sound professional, legal and financial management of the Trust;

 To approve the annual accounts and all major decisions;

 To set policies for the governance of the charity and to monitor, guide and authorise the work of its sub committees;

 To appoint and appraise the Chief Executive.

In addition the Trustees should be powerful advocates of the Trust and its interests.

The Board meets four times a year. Most meetings take place at the Trust’s offices in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes.

Depending upon particular interests and expertise, Trustees are normally appointed to one of the Board’s sub-committees which meet around four times a year. These are:

 General purposes committee: sets policy and takes decisions on matters of strategy and management that do not require the approval of the full Board and guides the Chief Executive on matters to do with personnel and management.

 Finance committee: monitors the financial health of the Trust and recommends to the Board financial regulations, policies and annual budgets.

 Green Estate committee: takes an overview of the Trust's green estate and ensures it is well managed and meets the needs of the community.

 Property Executive committee: oversees the management of the Trust's commercial property.

Trustees are likely to be involved in some aspect of the Trust’s work on around 10- 20 days per annum depending upon which sub-committees (in addition to the Board) they sit. Trustees are unpaid, but expenses may be reclaimed.

Trustees are normally appointed for a three year period of office and may be reappointed for a further three years.

Milton Keynes Council nominates three Trustees to the Board. Currently these are the Leader of the Council, and a leading Labour and Conservative councillor The Trust works closely with the Council and other local partners but is staunchly apolitical and is independent of the Government, local authority or any other organisation or business. The Trust’s sole interest is the stewardship of the new city’s parks and green spaces … in perpetuity.

2 ABOUT MILTON KEYNES PARKS TRUST Milton Keynes Parks Trust is an independent charity that owns and manages much of the new city’s major parks, open spaces and grid road landscapes.

These include:

 river valley parks such as Ouse Valley, Loughton Valley from Bancroft to Tattenhoe, Ouzel Valley and Broughton Brook

 lakeside parks at Willen, Furzton and Caldecotte

 Woodlands at Linford, Shenley, Hazeley and Howe Park

 The historic canalside park at Linford Manor and the prestigious city centre park where it is based, Campbell Park.

This adds up to 4,500 acres of sustainably managed green space that is one of the new city’s greatest assets and one that the Trust is proud to protect and enhance for today’s and future generations.

The Trust employs around 25 professional staff and 35 landscape contractors. The structure of the staff team has evolved over the years and now comprises four sections:  Community – liaison with the community, organising events and activities to ‘animate’ the parks, management of recreation and leisure uses including licences, environmental education, volunteer management  Operations – the physical management of the green estate; inspections and safety checks of the parks, play areas and equipment and facilities; dealing with adverse possession  Communications – promoting and positioning the parks and the Trust; dealing with adverse publicity

 Finance and admin – day to day management of finances, administration, preparation of annual accounts and management accounts; liaison with the Trust’s commercial property managers.

It is entirely self-financing through income generated by its commercial property and investments, tenants, graziers, events and grant aid.

The Trust’s commercial property portfolio is valued at around £50M and includes local centres, pubs, shops, offices and industrial units. This is actively managed by the Trust’s property advisors Douglas Duff. The Trust has over 200 tenants.


To create an inspirational environment that is valued by the people of Milton Keynes.


Excellence We demonstrate a commitment to high standards in all that we do, provide leadership in our field and strive for success by being professional, innovative and creative.

Integrity We believe in being open, forthright and honest in our dealings with people and organisations and in adopting behaviour consistent with our values.

Collaboration We work with others for the greater good of the community, cultivate long term relationships and partnerships, and respond to the needs of local people and organisations.

Valuing people We aim to treat everyone with respect. We are committed to the development of all our people, paid and volunteers, including the fulfilment of potential and the recognition and celebration of achievement.

Responsibility Our stewardship involves: safeguarding the environment for future generations; being accountable for all that we do including the consequences of any decisions we take; making the best use of all our resources.


“Our vision is of an inspirational environment valued by local people, admired by visitors and managed by a Trust that plays a key role in the success of MK which sets the standard for other towns and cities to follow”


What are Trustees’ legal responsibilities? All Trustees have to administer their charity in accordance with the terms of its governing document. In our case this is the memorandum and articles of association which set out the Trust’s objects and powers that the Trustees can exercise in pursuing those objects.

As a charity Trustee you will be taking on significant responsibility but the law protects Trustees who have acted reasonably and it is extremely rare for a Trustee to be made personally liable.

Charities are no different to other organisations in the duty of care owed to their employees and members of the public using their premises. With 4,500 acres and 100 buildings all publicly accessibly the Trust has significant responsibility here. Trustee must satisfy themselves that we have in place proper management systems and processes and appropriate insurance cover.

Since the Trust is also an incorporated company it is the Trust not individual Trustees, which has contractual liability for any contract the Trust enters into. The Trustees are further protected by the fact that the Trust employs professional staff and advisors and the Board seeks their advice on all matters. The Trust also takes out Trustee indemnity insurance to provide further protection.

Will there be any training? New Trustees will be given an induction which will include a briefing by the Chief Executive and other senior managers, and be invited on site visits to see the Trust’s work on the ground. Trustees will also be given an induction pack containing the core documents such as the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Charity Commission booklets setting out legal responsibilities of Trustees, and the Trustee Handbook.

Do I need to know about park management? No, but you will be expected to take an interest in it and understand what we do and why we do it. We employ professional foresters, ecologist and landscape managers but the Board needs to satisfy itself that the work of the executive team is being undertaken efficiently and effectively.

5 Who can be a Trustee? Generally speaking anyone who is 18 years or over can be a trustee. Certain people are legally disqualified but this only affects a small number of people such as undischarged bankrupts, those disqualified from being company directors, and those who have been convicted of any offence involving deception or dishonesty.

What will I get out of being a Trustee? It depends on what motivates you. Being a Trustee will help us achieve our aims and should therefore be very rewarding and fulfilling for you. Most people say the great thing about being a Trustee is that it gives you the chance to put something back; to make good use of your skills, knowledge and experience and to make an important contribution to society.

What about potential conflicts of interest? We want Trustees who are actively involved in Milton Keynes society. Given that the Trust owns around 20% of the land in the new city there will inevitably be occasions when there might be conflicts of interest. In these situations he or she should declare an interest and not seek to influence the discussion and decision. We do not want potential conflicts of interest to put off good people from becoming Trustees.

APPLICATION PROCESS If you would like to be considered then, in the first instance, please contact David Foster, Chief Executive at the address below, setting out your interest and background.

Applications will be considered by the Trust’s General Purposes Committee as and when vacancies occur on the Board, usually once a year. The committee will want to meet potential trustees before making recommendations to the full board on any new Trustee appointments.

Decisions on who to invite onto the board are always made with a view to filling any skills gaps and assembling a board with an appropriate mix of knowledge and experience. Therefore if there is not a space immediately we like to retain the details of those applying as we need to regularly renew and refresh the board and vacancies will arise in the future.

David Foster Chief Executive Milton Keynes Parks Trust Campbell Park Pavilion, Milton Keynes MK9 4AD Telephone: 01908 233600 Email: [email protected]