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.

Heelis, our head office in Swindon, Wilts © NTPL/James Dobson

Heelis, our head office in Swindon, Wilts

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. Other groups include Board committees, expert Panels and Regional Advisory Boards.

Read a summary (PDF/25Kb) of what these groups do, with a structure chart showing the relationship between them.

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 (PDF/905Kb).

A message from The Secretary

The Secretary, Paul Boniface © Paul Boniface

The Secretary, Paul Boniface

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 as described below.  Alternatively please email me. I’d be pleased to advise you on how you can get involved or to answer any more general questions you may have.

Governance vacancies

Appointments and elections overseen by our Board of Trustees and Council are all administered by the Trust’s Secretariat. At present, recruitment to all Regional/Country Advisory Boards and Advisory Panels is managed by the Advisory Boards and Panels themselves. We have worked hard to ensure that the election and appointment of members of our governance community is fair, transparent and open to people from every background. Here are details of our specific vacancies.