How we are run

Heelis, the central office for the National Trust, in Swindon, Wiltshire
We run the National Trust from Heelis, our head office in Swindon, Wiltshire National Trust Images / James Dobson

We are a large charity with a clear purpose and broad range of interests. Our governance arrangements reflect these and are designed to support and challenge our staff.

We endeavour to manage our affairs efficiently and transparently making it clear who is accountable for what.

Our professional staff run the properties and the wider organisation. Our governance volunteers serve on a range of groups intended to support our staff and hold them to account. Of these groups the starting point is the Board of Trustees which agrees plans and holds the staff to account for their delivery. The Council appoints the Board, holds it to account and debates wider issues of policy.

Read a summary of what these groups do, with a structure chart showing the relationship between them.

Governance review

In 2005 the National Trust changed the way it is run. We are using the 10-year anniversary of those changes to take stock and see if things can be improved further.

Our constitution

Underpinning our governance arrangements are acts of Parliament. The National Trust was first incorporated in 1894 as an Association Not For Profit under the Companies Acts 1862-1890.

The first National Trust Act was passed by Parliament in 1907. A number of successive Acts have since been introduced to update and, where necessary, revise our constitution to ensure the National Trust continues to be well governed and remains true to its cause.

The Charities (National Trust) Order 2005 describes our current governance arrangements and is the starting point for the arrangements in the Governance Handbook.

A message from The Secretary

" If you’ve found this part of our website hopefully it means you’re interested in how the Trust is run. We are lucky to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of all our volunteers including those who get involved in the governance groups described on these pages. If you’d like to get involved you can look out for opportunities in our governance community. "
- Paul Boniface, The Secretary