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Rural Enterprise Panel Chairman
The Chairman plays an important and central role in the work of National Trust’s Rural Enterprise Panel, which is one of eight voluntary panels that offer advice on the care of the Trust’s properties and on its wider role in the areas of conservation, land use, rural business, commercial activities and learning/engagement. This the Trust’s key panel responsible for reviewing and advising on the management and development of the Trust’s diverse rural estate and rural enterprises, including the Trust’s relationship with its residential, agricultural and commercial tenants.
This Chairman of the Rural Enterprise Panel is a voluntary role that presently requires a commitment of approximately 25 days a year.
The panel’s work
The panel’s work is enormously valuable in ensuring the Trust’s rural estates have a vibrant and successful future that delivers the greatest possible benefit to the nation, through the imaginative, sustainable use of Trust land and property and the business enterprises that use these important resources. The panel sees its role as proactive in desiring to support projects at the earliest stage at the property level and to focus on work to encourage the development of sound principles and policies for the long-term management of the Trust’s estate. The panel advises on everything from agriculture and the Let Estate, to planning and from renewable energy and water resources to access and recreation; touching every aspect of the Trust’s rural land management interests.
Panel meetings and collaboration
The Chairman chairs four formal quarterly panel meetings which all panel members are expected to attend. These are usually held at a property that needs advice from the panel about a major project or which is representative of the strategic issues that are the focus of the meeting. The panel meets in the evening for a meeting to conduct its formal business and then has a visit to the property the following day, to look at practical issues on the ground. All panel meetings are supported by the staff.
Smaller meetings or working groups made up of panel representatives with the particular skills and experience required sometimes meet on site in addition to the regular business meetings, to give specific advice or follow-up to the formal site visits, at the request of the Trust.
Contact with Panel Chairmen and the National Trust’s Regional/Country Advisory Boards (which support the operations teams) can facilitate a wider understanding and appreciation of the importance of the Rural Enterprise Panel’s role, particularly in the assessment and consideration of major projects. There are two opportunities to meet formally with the Regional/Country Chairmen during the year and some of the panel’s property visits are joined by members of the Advisory Boards.
Who might be suited to the role?
The leadership qualities of a Panel Chairman are extremely valuable in relation to the role of the Rural Enterprise Panel. All of the members possess individual skills and special expertise, and collectively they represent a wide range of professions: Agriculture, Rural Surveying and Estate Management, Access and Recreation, Landscape Design and Planning and Rural Enterprise. Within their fields all of the members are recognised and highly respected. An awareness of areas or issues where possible conflicts of interest might arise is extremely valuable.
Advice and guidance based on personal experience in the initiation, planning, running and completion of rural enterprise projects, from their earliest inception stage through to funding, design and execution phases is greatly respected by project teams throughout the country. An understanding of land management legislation and the roles of statutory authorities can be extremely valuable, as well as knowledge of other heritage organisations, charitable institutions and grant giving bodies, thereby affording others a perspective of the Trust’s work in relation the broader picture. The inalienable nature of much of the Trust’s ownership means that long-term thinking is essential in advising on management decisions about its future.
Perhaps one of the most valuable characteristics of the Panel Chairman’s role is that of a solution-seeker in encouraging and inspiring staff and project coordinators in focusing on how projects can be initiated and results can be achieved – sometimes through a series of phases. This is much appreciated by individuals on many levels, but especially by those directly involved in projects. An important aspect of the Chairman of the Rural Enterprise Panel is an approachable and engaging character at ease with individuals of many different roles and interests, and which through it enhances the profile and effectiveness of the Rural Enterprise Panel, and its valuable contribution to the Trust’s work.
How to apply
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Closing date: 1st October 2012