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Chair Active Prospects

Enable people to lead aspiring lives – join our award-winning organisation as the Chair of our Board.

  • Location: Reigate, Surrey
  • Salary: Voluntary
  • Closing date: By 9 a.m. Wednesday 13th July 2022

Active Prospects is a charitable organisation enabling around 300 people with learning disabilities, physical and mental health needs, and autistic people each year to live full and aspiring lives. We employ 350 staff across residential, supported living and services that enables employment across the South-East.

  • We are leaders in creating bespoke homes and support to enable people with complex needs to leave institutional settings.
  • We are also specialists in facilitating people-led co-production, and working with partner organisations to address health inequalities.

We’re one of the top 100 social enterprises in the country according to the NatWest SE100 list. We were also awarded 21st Best Charity to Work for in the UK, in the 2021 Best Companies awards, with an outstanding rating. We recently won Best Care Employer in the South East, and the national award for Workforce Development, in the Great British Care Awards.

We are now seeking a dynamic and inspiring senior leader with broad health/social care knowledge and experience along with sound commercial acumen to lead us on the next stage of development.

The ideal candidate must be passionate about the rights of people with learning disabilities and autistic people. You may come from a health or care, housing, and/or business/entrepreneurial background but will have had some experience of the voluntary sector either in an executive or non-executive role.

With exceptional interpersonal skills and a fundamental alignment to our vision and values; you will bring a successful balance of strategic challenge and support to our committed and dedicated board of trustees and senior leadership team.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultant at Peridot Partners:

Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

Lucy Mavers Head of Not-for-Profit Practice Peridot Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Lucy Mavers

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Welcome from Owen Vallis - Chair of Active Prospects

Dear applicant,

Thank you for your interest in becoming the new Chair of Active Prospects.

I hope that you will find the information in this pack interesting and will be motivated to apply.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair (I am staying as a Board Member but will be working abroad for a number of years) and I am also confident that I will have left behind an exciting agenda for my successor to take forward with the Board and Executive of Active Prospects.

Active Prospects was founded over 30 years ago and our mission is to enable people to lead aspiring lives.

Active Prospects provides high-quality impactful supported living, residential and community services, activities, and employment, for people with learning disabilities, physical and mental health needs, and autistic people across South East England. We are ambitious for our people, staff, and organisation to be the best we can, and we are so proud of the energy, commitment and achievements that are made by everyone, not least through the Covid-19 pandemic and a challenging couple of years.

We are proud that we have grown together as an organisation from a turnover of £6 million to £13 million in the last 5 years, supporting around 300 people each year with a staff team of 350.  We are a leading provider of enabling people to leave long stay institutions, facilitate sector leading coproduction, and we are ambitious about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Our strategy for 2022-5 is focused in 4 key areas:

  • Caring together with our people
  • Caring through campaigning and creating change and opportunities
  • Caring about our staff recognition, development, and wellbeing
  • Caring about our resilience, sustainability, and equality

We are looking for a new Chair who can lead the organisation through the successful delivery of this strategy and beyond. Other short-term priorities include: appointing a new Chair of the Business Development Committee, championing our new strategy, helping us to remain robust in a challenging time for social care and the continued cultural development of the organisation. We are looking for a new Chair who will drive and support Active Prospects’ growth.  The role is a voluntary one and you will be supported by an experienced and hardworking CEO and Executive Team who undertake the operational delivery and strategy development supported by the Board’s oversight, scrutiny and creative input.

Candidates must have experience of the voluntary or charitable sector either in an Executive or a Non-Executive role. Other requirements include the following:

  • Strategic leadership and innovative vision
  • Governance experience
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills combined with a collaborative approach
  • Knowledge of, and interest in, the social care sector
  • Ambitions for our people and commitment to Equity Diversity and Inclusion and our environmental sustainability
  • Ability to uphold and role model Active Prospects standards, values and brand.

The role is unpaid but we will pay expenses, for equipment to carry out the role, and invest in your development.  The role will require around 10 days a equivalent input.  We hope that you also gain in your personal development and know that you are making a huge impact on people’s lives.

Owen Vallis
Chair of Active Prospects

We enable people with learning disabilities, physical and mental health needs and autistic people to live full and aspiring lives.

We aim to become an outstanding organisation delivering significant impact for our people and communities, through creativity, co-production and investment.

Active Prospects provides high-quality, impactful supported living, residential and community services, activities, and employment, for people with learning disabilities, physical and mental health needs, and autistic people across Southeast England.

We are ambitious for our people, staff, and organisation to be the best we can, and we are so proud of the energy, commitment and achievements that are made by everyone, not least through the Covid-19 pandemic and a challenging couple of years.

It has become increasing apparent that Social Care is in a highly challenging position. Decades of underfunding and neglect from Governments has seen thousands of people unable to get the care they need and a sector workforce that whilst bigger than the NHS, is not valued by society nor paid fairly in comparison to similar roles. We are actively leading campaigns to create a new and fair deal for social care, with people who are supported and for our social care staff.

Our strategy outlines our plan to ensure Social Care is at the heart of our communities, enabling everyone to live well in their home and have their aspirations supported.

Our critical success factors for our strategic plan include:

  • To remain financially and operationally robust through a highly challenging funding and workforce position for social care and a cost-of-living crisis, so that we can deliver our purpose and support our people and staff.
  • To deliver a bold PR and Influencing Plan with annual strategic goals and delivery objectives, with a particular focus on the ongoing funding and recruitment issues, health inequalities, people’s co-production voices and stories, people leaving secure hospitals and addressing narrowing opportunities.
  • To minimise the negative impact of Covid-19 on our people, staff, and organisation, whilst embracing opportunities to re-shape social care and address health inequalities going forward.
  • To enable people to lead aspiring lives with 95% achieving positive outcomes in the areas that matter to them evaluated every 6 months.
  • To support an additional 20 people with homes, care and/or employment opportunities each year.
  • To continue to have all our services rated by CQC as good or outstanding (with third rated as outstanding in domains) and achieve two overall outstanding ratings by December 2023.
  • To maintain a Best Employer Award for sector leading staff engagement and development by March 2023 and deliver significantly better than average retention levels.
  • To further increase our diversification of care income by 15% by March 2025, becoming a provider of choice for 3 more local authority areas.
  • To continue to support the Pro-Active Community to flourish, establishing user-led Networks in partnership in 3 further areas by December 2025.
  • To significantly enhance our IT infrastructure and digital strategy and offer across all areas to support our objectives and people aspirations.
  • To be an ethical organisation: championing equity, diversity, and inclusion; improving our sustainability to become carbon neutral by 2040 and upholding the highest standards of corporate governance.

Click here to read our impact highlights of 2021

Our Governance

We are a Community Benefit Society with charitable status, and a social enterprise. We have a strong portfolio of properties, largely owned but also rented in partnership with Housing Associations and private landlords.

We were established in 1989 and were initially set up to manage former NHS Learning Disability services that had been developed in community settings. We are primarily based in the East and Mid-Surrey area, and Croydon, with new services developing across Sussex and Brighton and Hove. We are commissioned by Surrey County Council, but also by a number of London Boroughs, West Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove, and Health Bodies, as well as people paying directly for services.

Developing Approaches

We are ambitious to enhance our service offer to further challenge, increase our services to young people both with autism and in transition, as well as increase our peer support offer to better enable people to achieve their employment and lead and active lives.

Our Current Services

Our supported living services in the South-East provide independent living support to people living in a wide range of flats and shared homes, directly provided by Active Prospects as well as other landlords or own accommodation. This ranges from round the clock two to one support to a few hours targeted support each week shaped by the person.

Our eight residential care homes across Surrey provide expert, intensive, round the clock support for people with profound and complex learning disabilities.

We operate a short breaks and emergency placement service in East Surrey, providing support to young people aged between 18 and 30 who have a learning disability. This service allows carers to take a break and enables young people to experience a wide range of activities. We also offer some of our young people support in their family home.  The service is also an important resource for emergency placements where people’s existing care provision may have broken down.

We offer transitional services for young people moving from residential settings into the community to enable them to become as independent as possible, in a flexible supportive environment and helping them find their long-term homes.

We support a wide range of peer-led activities that support community networks, friendships, learning and work opportunities and have an extensive Active Lives offer.

We run the Aspiring Prospects life skills and employability programme, as well as other learning and employment experiences that enable people to move into paid work, including through our own Social Enterprises such as Re:Work:It Charity Boutique.

Our Governance Structure

Board Members have the ultimate responsibility for directing the activity of the organisation, ensuring it is well run and delivering the outcomes for which it has been set up. The current detailed Board and Sub-Committees terms of reference are contained in the annexes of this handbook.

The Board should provide leadership to the organisation by:

a. Setting the strategic direction to guide and direct the activities of the organisation

b. Ensuring the effective management of the organisation and its activities.

c. Monitoring the activities of the organisation to ensure they are in keeping with the founding principles, objects and values.

The purpose of the Board is to direct the organisation’s affairs, day to day management being delegated to the Chief Executive. All Board Members share responsibility for its decisions. Each should act only in the best interest of the organisation and not on behalf of any constituency or interest group. In addition to these terms of reference, the Board must comply with Active Prospects’ Board Code of Conduct, the National Housing Federation Code of Governance and the Charity Code of Governance.

The Board has overall responsibility under the organisation’s Governing Rules to control the business of the organisation so that it achieves its objectives. The essential functions of the Board are formally recorded in the organisation’s rules and include duties to define and ensure compliance with the values and objectives of the organisation, and to satisfy itself that the organisation’s affairs are conducted lawfully and in accordance with generally accepted standards of performance and propriety. However, given the severe constraints on the Board’s time, substantial delegation is inevitable.

Board Retained Responsibility
The Board plays and important role in the organisation as both leaders and decision makers. Their overall responsibilities are summarised below:

Vision and Leadership
The Board ensures that everything the organisation does supports its vision, purpose and aims. They establish the fundamental values, the ethical principles and strategic direction in which the organisation operates.

Managing Staff and Volunteers
The Board is essentially the employer. They must ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for staff and for volunteers, and that both are properly managed and supported. The Board is usually represented by the Chair who also directly line manages the most senior staff member, the CEO. It must ensure it has mechanisms to listen to views of staff and support staff engagement and culture.

Involving people we support and residents
The Board will ensure that there is a formal structured way that the people we support and residents can meaningfully contribute to the governance of the Organisation and that it involves and acts on the priorities, aspirations and concerns of the people it serves.

The Board must ensure that the organisation understands and complies with its own governing document, relevant laws contractual obligations and the requirements of any regulatory bodies.

Internal Controls
The Board should maintain and regularly review the organisation’s system of internal controls, performance reporting, policies and procedures. It will hold a session at least annually with its auditors without paid staff present to ensure full disclosure and assurance.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Board must ensure that it upholds and applies the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and that the organisation reviews annually its EDI performance, impact and action plans.

The Board will regularly review its commitment to sustainability and addressing climate change, considering its impact and performance, targets and improvement actions.

The Board must act prudently to protect the assets and property of the organisation and ensure that they are used to deliver the organisation’s objectives.

Standards, Complaints and Whistleblowing
The Board must ensure that it set clear standards in regard to regulation, law and best practice and that it has mechanisms to listen to and review complaints and whistleblowing cases.

Managing Risk
The Board should understand and regularly review the risks to which the organisation is subject and take action to manage the risks identified.

The Board must assure itself that it has the systems, policies and processes to keep people safe, both environment and homes and working practices.

Objectives and Strategy
The Board is responsible for defining the strategy and objectives of the Group/subsidiaries. In particular, it will approve the Mission Statement, Business Plan and Annual Budget.

The Board will regularly review its impact and whether it is delivering its mission statement and will produce an Impact Report annually for the public.

Financial Control
The Board will approve the annual cash flow and budget and such longer-term financial forecasts as are included in the Business Plan. The Board will approve the borrowing and investment strategy and will determine the parameters within which the officers can enter into commitments within that strategy. The Board will approve the annual accounts and recommend the appointment of the auditors. It will consider the risk management approach and consider any auditors’ management letter.

Control Structure
The Board will approve all changes to financial standing orders and statements of delegation. The Board appoints the Chief Executive but may delegate responsibility to a panel of Board Members. The Board is responsible for ensuring that Group/subsidiaries operate within a clearly defined control environment including the setting of the risk strategy and the monitoring of identified risks.

Key Decisions
The Board will approve the following key decisions:

a. Key plans such as the Strategic Plan, Investment Plan, Business Plans and Budgets.

b. All new initiatives that are not within the agreed plans.

c. All borrowings that are outside the scope of the approved financial strategy.

d. All property acquisitions and disposals, including leases over three years.

e. Other major decisions not specifically delegated.

f. Key corporate and operational policy (although some policy approval is delegated to the EMT).

g. Key appointments of staff and key contractors such as external auditors.

Performance Monitoring
The Board will monitor performance against the strategic plan and key performance indicators on a six-monthly basis. The Board will undertake an annual strategic review which will include assessment of performance in relation to business plan objectives as well as key performance indicators.

It will also include a review of:

a. the main changes in the external frame within which the Group operates.

b. the impact of any changes on the organisation’s work.

c. The effectiveness of the organisation’s internal control arrangements.

Legal and Statutory
The Board is responsible for ensuring that:

a. Accounts are to be delivered in the statutory form and on time.

b. The organisation must remain solvent.

c. The organisation must always act within its powers.

d. Annual returns are to be made to the Financial Conduct Authority on time.

The Board is dependent on staff implementing policies and it should therefore be satisfied that policies and procedures, together with the staffing structure, can deliver the services adequately and effectively.

Overall, the Board, will ensure that necessary policies are in place for all the main areas of the organisations approve policies drawn up by staff and undertake a programme of review and existing policies. The Board will have clear procedural documents and delegated authorities for all main areas of the organisations work so that staff actions are prompt, logical and consistent.

The Board must approve any contract which is not authorised by the relevant Delegated Authorities, contained within the Association’s budget or where it is required to do so by a funding body.


Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, accessible workstations (e.g. desk, office), and step-free access to all key meeting rooms and toilets.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcomed.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats if needed.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for an interview.
  • EDI statistics regarding the diversity of our workforce are available to share.
  • We are part of EDI workplace initiatives.

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultant for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs.

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Role Description and Person Specification and complete this Equality Monitoring Survey.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Active Prospects – Chair” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners

    Lucy Mavers | lucy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07947 935068

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 13th July 2022

    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 15th July 2022

    Final Interviews: Monday 18th July 2022


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Active Prospects are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete this equality monitoring survey.

    The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018.

    The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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