Procedure for elections to the Council

Director General of the National Trust, Hillary McGrady, presenting to the Council at their meeting in February 2022

The Council makes sure we stay true to our purpose as a charity. Council members hold the National Trust's governance to account, ensuring that we're staying true to our values and delivering on the things we'll say we'll do, both now and in the long-term.

The Council’s role

Holding the Board of Trustees to account is one of the Council’s most important jobs. This is done in a number of ways, but primarily through the annual review.

Each year, the Board of Trustees presents the Council with an annual review of its work during the year just gone, and its plans for the next 12 months. This presentation will be supported by a paper from the Board, circulated to all Council members prior to the meeting. After the presentation, there’s a full discussion of all the plans submitted, and a chance to ask the Board of Trustees questions or voice any concerns about their plans.

These discussions are crucial and, as champions of our core purpose, we'd want all of our Council members to get actively involved in debating the points and plans raised and to provide the Board of Trustees with guidance and perspective on their work.

Council members also inspire wider support for the National Trust by acting as advocates for our work among supporters, the wider public and stakeholders. This is why we welcome applications from people from every background, every walk of life, and every kind of experience. We'd like to hear from people of any age, profession or education who have a desire to help look after nature, beauty and history for future generations.

Elections to the Council

Each year we advertise for Council applications, normally starting at the end of February and closing at the end of March. The existing members of the Council then establish a Nominations Committee to oversee the election process, and to recommend which applicants are nominated for election.

The candidates will be elected either by our members, or by organisations whose interests align with our own. The results of the election are announced during our AGM, which usually takes place in October. Council members serve a three-year term, running from the AGM at which they were elected.