Why did you become a Trustee?
I became an Hft Trustee in 2007 when the CEO at the time, Brian Perowne, asked if I would consider it. I was interested in contributing to Hft’s strategic direction having been a Learning Disability Commissioner, and working on operational programmes at the King’s Fund and King’s College. It was at a good time to be involved in Hft services as there was funding to expand and develop.
What has been the most rewarding thing about being a Trustee at Hft?
Seeing real improvement in people’s quality of life has been the most rewarding thing. People have had increasing opportunities to make choices, live independently, have relationships, get jobs and choose their own support workers. Seeing people from Voices to be Heard present their views about service provision to the United Nations in Geneva this past summer was a treat.
What’s the hardest thing?
In some areas, reduced funding has meant we’ve reluctantly had to hand back services. Sometimes this is unavoidable, as we must ensure that our resources are being used in the best possible way to benefit the people we support.
How do you and the rest of the board ensure you’re being effective?
We have individual appraisals helping us to receive feedback, assess ourselves and adapt and improve. We scrutinise the organisation’s progress against performance indicators, while looking at outcomes and other performance measures provided by the senior management team. Our away days also give us an opportunity to reflect and revise.
Would you recommend becoming a Trustee and to whom?
Yes I would – although current financial constraints mean that people must be prepared to make tough decisions. I would recommend becoming a Trustee to a variety of people so there is diversity on the Board, such as Commissioners of Social Care, academics in learning disability, family members, business executives and people with learning disabilities who have a passion for making a difference.
Who is your ideal dinner guest?
There are too many to pinpoint one! Here are a few: Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Shirley Williams, Martin Luther King, Florence Nightingale, Steven Hawking, Bill and Melinda Gates.
What has been your proudest moment outside of Hft?
Managing family life and children alongside a career which took me away from home a lot.