Our February board meeting was a shorter evening meeting, but we still managed to hold valuable discussions with our time. The most prominent of these discussions resulted in the appointment of our Deputy Chair, Katie. Katie has been on the board for over a year now, and our Chair, Zara, selected her for this position as she had great expertise in policy, advocacy, knowledge of communications and charity legislation and previous experience of chairing the Scottish Youth Parliament. The board was glad to appoint her as our new Deputy Chair. Deputy Chairs are always appointed a couple of months after the Chair has been, in order to allow for a smoother process of continuity and to avoid the risk of the two highest positions on the board being new and still adjusting to their roles.
We had an extended discussion about our recruitment and the Search Group (comprised of trustees) that lead this process. Following reflections and reports of our success with diversity from last years’ recruitment, we planned and considered more efficient ways to prepare for this year’s recruitment process. Recruitment is a really important process for the board, and we prioritise accessibility, positive action and transparency throughout our process. Usually, our application process for elected trustees starts in June, with appointed trustee applications open in August. We are all happy to answer any questions or respond to any feedback you may have about these applications and would truly encourage our young people to apply. I applied through the elected process at 16 years old and felt extremely intimidated, but with the support and encouragement I had from the board I managed to persevere and am so glad that I did. I am now in the final year of my term and feel so much more confident, have gained a considerable amount of expertise in risk management, policy and governance and have felt so rewarded by knowing that my efforts have supported the British Youth Council’s young people (who I was one of not so long ago) to use their voices and make change.
Lastly we had a discussion on governance and how we work as a board. This involved us consolidating and finalising our board agreement, which we drafted up at the board handover with our newest trustees in November. Our agreement involves many things that we already do as a board, but this provides an opportunity for newer trustees to easily understand what is expected of them in their roles, hopefully making the experience a lot smoother for them. The agreement covers all sorts of ground, from ensuring our efficiency and cohesion as a board to the values that we have within board meetings and when representing the British Youth Council.
We also discussed the implementation of our Personal Development Plans, which allow us to focus on our strong and weak areas, and our goals and targets for the year ahead. This leads to further transparency for leadership roles and for us to better understand where our strengths and weaknesses lie as a collective board, as well as an awareness of what skills we should look out for when recruiting in the summer.