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National Autistic Society

With a goal to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people, the UK's leading autism charity, National Autistic Society, is now looking for three new trustees to join our board over the summer to help us navigate the future challenges.

  • Location: Central London
  • Salary: Unremunerated

About the role

The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and one of the country’s major charities, with a turnover of around £95 million. Since 1962, we’ve been transforming lives, changing attitudes and helping to create a society that works for autistic adults and children.

Our head office is in London, and we have national offices in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and a network of regional offices and volunteer-run branches across the UK. As well as adult services and schools, we run a range of programmes, have dedicated diagnostic services and run specialist helplines. We also work closely with businesses, local authorities and government to help them provide more autism-friendly spaces, deliver better services and improve laws. And we improve public understanding of autism and the difficulties many autistic people face.

Over the last two years, we have achieved much to be proud of – as well as continuing to provide support and guidance to tens of thousands of autistic people and their families through the Covid-19 crisis. We opened a new school and services across the UK, we developed our existing services and launched them online, to continue to support people who’d otherwise have been isolated during the pandemic. We had important policy wins, including on getting more autistic people access to vital blue badges and seeing the first NHS autism diagnosis data published. We have continued to invest in our digital transformation with a new website and new digital care management tools.

This is an exciting and truly transformational time to be part of our charity. Since March 2020, our organisation has had to be extremely agile and adapt in many ways. Our policy work has had to focus on issues thrown up by the pandemic, such as the right for autistic people to stick to routines, including going out of the house more than once. Our services and schools have had to respond to changing regulations and ensure they keep people safe and supported.

At the same time, we’re continuing to advocate on longstanding issues such as social care funding, and lobby for what autistic people need to see in the forthcoming autism strategy in England and its equivalent in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We’re also growing our branch network – including national online branches – and we’ve begun work on a new mental health programme combining research, digital guidance and policy influencing.

Looking to the future, we’ll be developing a new strategy as we head towards our charity’s 60th anniversary in 2022.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved – but there’s always more to be done. As the economic, social, and political landscape changes, our strategy must evolve to reflect changes. We need to ensure we continue to increase our fundraising and commercial activities to deliver the scale of impact required.

Who we're looking for

We’re looking for three new trustees to join our board over the summer to help us navigate the future challenges.

We’re keen to ensure our board is diverse in every way and we’re committed to ensuring our Trustees reflect our society, our charity and the people we represent and support. We welcome applications from autistic people, their families and carers. To achieve greater diversity, we’re actively encouraging applications from people of all backgrounds and regions.

We’re looking for people who can provide strategic direction, appropriate oversight, scrutiny, challenge, leadership and passion to support our development. We’re open to people who have skills and expertise in either general management, risk or compliance, strategy, commercial growth, human resources, EDI, legal, clinical and finance.

As a UK charity we’re keen to ensure our board represents all four countries, and so we’d like one of our trustees to be based in either Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The National Autistic Society Board meets four times with one overnight strategy away day every year. We expect our Trustees to join one sub-committee which also meets four times a year. All our meetings are currently virtual, and, in the future, we expect that we’ll have a blended mix of face-to-face and virtual meetings. We expect the time commitment overall to be two-three days per month.

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

Jennifer Horan | 07519 070 497 | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk

Closing date: 9am, Monday 7th June 2021

Trustee and board recruitment in the charity sector with Jennifer Horan

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Jennifer Horan

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A welcome from Dr Carol Homden CBE, Chair of Trustees

Dear Applicant,

Role of Board Trustee

Thank you for your interest in this role. In this pack, you’ll find information that’ll tell you more about our organisation and the role of a board trustee. Please note that on this occasion we’re seeking to recruit three people to join the board of trustees with effect from July. We’re particularly looking for people who:

  • Have previous experience as a charity trustee and have business management skills. Examples of the skills that the board needs include marketing and communications, human resources, EDI, legal and risk management.
  • Have experience of autism, either personally or through a family member or through a professional role.
  • May have served in a volunteer role with an NAS branch.

We’ll welcome applications from people living across the UK, including Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to response@peridotpartners.co.uk  inserting “Trustee – NAS” into the subject field. Your letter should indicate why you are interested in the role, and why you believe you have the skills and experience to meet the person specification. Details for two referees are also requested.

You also have the option to download and complete an equal opportunities monitoring form. We ask for this information for equal opportunities monitoring purposes, in line with our commitment to equality and diversity. However, you don’t have to complete this form if you prefer not to.

The deadline for submission of applications is Monday 7th June and interviews will be held during the week commencing Monday 14th June. Given the Covid-19 situation, interviews will be held via a video conference link.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any aspect of trusteeship at the NAS, please email jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk or call on 07519 070 497. We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Carol Homden CBE
Chair of Trustees

About The National Autistic Society

We are the UK’s leading autism charity. Our goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.

We were formed in 1962 by a group of parents who were passionate about ensuring a better future for their children. Today, we provide information about autism to millions of people every year, run pioneering education and social care services and influence policy, public attitudes and business practices.

Across the UK, we have around 3,000 staff employed in a wide variety of roles, from teaching staff to family support workers; campaign officers to speech and language therapists; and marketing officers to administrators. We have seven schools, over 60 social care services and a network of 117 volunteer-run branches.

You’ll find more information about us on our website: www.autism.org.uk.

What Our Vision, Mission and Values

All our work is guided by our vision, mission and values, which have been developed alongside autistic people and family members.

Our vision

We want to see a society that works for autistic people.

Our mission

To transform lives by providing support, information and practical advice for the 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, as well as their three million family members and carers.

To change attitudes by improving public understanding of autism and helping businesses, local authorities and government to provide more autism-friendly spaces, deliver better services and improve laws.

Our values

  • We learn from real experience. We’ve spent over 50 years working together with people on the autism spectrum. No one has more practical knowledge of autism. But we move with the times and we understand that there’s always more to learn.
  • We tell it like it is. We share what we have learned about autism, so that more people can make informed decisions and lead the best lives possible.
  • We inspire. We celebrate progress, open up new possibilities, spur people into action and motivate change.
  • We are courageous. We won’t accept ignorance or inequality, and we’ll never stop pushing for more understanding, greater support and a better world for people on the autism spectrum.

What we do

We have over 23,000 members, 117 volunteer-led branches and provide:

  • information, advice, training and volunteer-delivered support to millions of autistic people and families in the UK every year
  • specialist residential, supported living and day services for adults
  • specialist schools, and Cullum Units on mainstream school sites and education outreach services for children
  • employment support and social programmes for autistic adults
  • information and training for health, education and other professionals working with autistic people and their families
  • campaign for policy change in all four national governments
  • advice to drama and documentary-makers on how to portray autism accurately
  • support to employers, businesses and public services on how to be more accessible and inclusive of autistic children and adults

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


    Please download the Board Trustee Recruitment Pack and fill out this Equality Monitoring Form

    If you would like an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Jennifer Horan | 07519 070497 | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk

    To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (the supporting statement should be a maximum of two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification. Please include your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

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

    We will send an acknowledgement email within three working days from receipt. If you have not received a response, please check your application has been received by contacting:

    Autistic and other 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 job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    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.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.


    Closing date: 9am, Monday 7th June 2021
    Interviews: w/c Monday 14th June 2021

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and National Autistic Society 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 form.

    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 Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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