Skip to content

How governance appointments are made

Three members of National Trust staff having a conversation in an office
Staff at Heelis | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The National Trust recognises that one of the most important means by which openness, transparency and accountability can be achieved is through the appointment, selection or election, as appropriate, of high-calibre volunteers capable of overseeing the governance arrangements of the Trust, ensuring that it remains focused on achieving its mission efficiently and effectively.

Principles underlying governance appointments

The Appointments Committee of the Board of Trustees and the various Nominations Committees of the Council, play a key role in the process of governance appointments. They ensure adherence to the principles and standards set out in this handbook in making governance appointments. An external member sits on each of these committees to strenghten the appointments procedures.

The selection process

Before an appointment, selection or election process is initiated for any of the bodies in the governance structure, the relevant committee will take into account:

  • the aims and purposes of the body concerned
  • the knowledge, skills and experience required for the position in question
  • the intention to create a diverse and effective body
  • the intention to meet standards of good governance
  • the intention to avoid conflicts of interest

These aims will be pursued in a manner proportionate to the nature of the positions to be filled.

The Committees will ensure that selection, appointment and election processes are:

  • conducted in an open and transparent way
  • applied in a fair, equitable, objective and impartial manner
  • designed to be thorough, robust and expeditious
  • applied consistently
  • fully explained and readily comprehensible
A young volunteer room guide
Everyone is welcome at the National Trust | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Equality and diversity

The Trust is committed to ensuring that the principles of equality and diversity remain at the forefront of the selection, appointment and election processes.

Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It can be summarised in terms of equal access, treatment, shares and outcomes and is backed by legislation designed to address unfair discrimination.

Diversity is about the recognition and valuing of difference in its broadest sense. It is about creating a working culture and practices that recognise, respect, value and harness difference for the benefit of the organisation and the individual.

Read our equality and diversity policy

At appropriate stages in the selection, appointment and election processes, candidates will be invited to familiarise themselves with the Trust's Equality and Diversity Policy, outlined in Appendix A of the handbook. The policy, which has been written for the purpose of internal staff processes, applies equally to all governance appointments.

You might also be interested in

National Trust Council Chair, René Olivieri at the 2023 AGM

How we are run 

Discover how the National Trust is run, how our governance arrangements are underpinned by Acts of Parliament and how they are designed to support and challenge our staff.

Two people crouching down to look at long grass at Pentire, Cornwall

Our constitution 

The first National Trust Act passed in 1907. Successive Acts have since been introduced to ensure the National Trust continues to be well governed and remains true to its cause.

The National Trust's Annual General Meeting 2019 in the Steam Museum, Swindon

Board of Trustees 

Discover who sits on the National Trust's Board of Trustees, what experience they bring to the role and how they work together to meet the Trust's purpose.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust


Director-General Hilary McGrady has worked for the Trust since 2006, having been Regional Director for a number of regions and Chief Operating Officer since 2014.

Visitors exploring the house at Christmas at Avebury Manor, Wiltshire

Our commitment to inclusion and diversity 

We're committed to meeting the needs and expectations of a diverse society. Find out what we're doing to create an inclusive, accessible and welcoming environment for our supporters, staff and volunteers.

National Trust Council members standing in a garden listening to someone do a talk


Council applications for this year’s election have now closed. Discover how the members of the Council are elected and how they advise on important decisions, inform strategy and keep us connected to the wider public.

Three members of National Trust staff having a conversation in an office

Regional and Country Advisory Boards 

Find out more about our Regional and Country Advisory Boards and how they help the Trust deliver its strategy.

Poppies and other flowers are seen growing in the garden at Alfriston Clergy House East Sussex

Ten things you might not know about the National Trust 

Discover 10 facts about the National Trust, past and present, from our unusual founders to our red squirrel rangers.