The Council is made up of 52 members, 26 elected by the members of the National Trust and 26 appointed by organisations whose interests coincide in some way with those of the National Trust.
Its main responsibilities:
- Holding the Board of Trustees to account: the Council is the guardian of the spirit of the Trust and its long-term objectives
- Ensuring accountability
- Shaping policy development
- Inspiring support
- Appoints the Board of Trustees
- Holds the power to remove Trustees if required
The breadth of experience and perspective which this mix of elected and appointed members brings enables the Council to fulfil its role of holding the Board of Trustees to account. It helps to ensure that the Trust takes full account of the wider interests of the nation for whose benefit it exists and to act as the Trust's conscience in delivering its statutory duties.
All members of the Council are elected or appointed for an initial term of three years and are eligible to re-stand. Members normally serve for two or three three-year terms, in order to ensure a balance of continuity and freshness.
Initially the Council will meet three of four times a year. How the Council arranges its business will be a matter largely for the Council itself to decide.
It is envisaged there will be one major discussion item on a particular aspect of the Trust’s work on the agenda for each meeting. In addition there will be a regular pattern of business throughout the year. There will also be an annual visit to a Country/Region.
The Senior Member
The Senior Member of the Council is elected by ballot. The Senior Member leads the process for the appointment of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Trust, and chairs the Council’s discussions of the performance of the Board of Trustees. The Senior Member represents members of the Council by discussing with the Chairman any widely shared concerns, and acts as the point of contact for individuals who have any issues which need to be resolved.