About the role Role: Chair of the Board of Trustees, West Smethwick Enterprise Salary: N/A - Voluntary Position Location: Birmingham/Sandwell Time commitment: Five x 3.5 hour Board meetings per year, plus the Mentorship of the Director of Children's Services and occasionally representing the Charity at various events and meetings with key stakeholders. The Chair is also expected to have regular meetings with the Director of Children's Services.

About West Smethwick Enterprise

West Smethwick Enterprise CIC is a community-based charity with an aim to improve outcomes for children and families in some of the most socially and economically challenged areas within the UK. We currently provide high quality Pre-Schools for children aged between 2-5, from 5 locations across Smethwick and Ladywood in Birmingham, as well as offering family support services for children and their families within the local community.
We are also building local professional capability for the Early Years sector itself through pioneering partnerships with Higher Education providers. This initiative is primarily driven through our Pre-School centre based in Ladywood, Birmingham.

As WSE’s Chair of the Board of Trustees (BoT), you will be responsible for engaging the Trustees to support our talented, committed employees to continue growing a sustainable, resilient and agile organisation, capable of delivering an ambitious strategy; developing talent and capability; building successful partnerships and attracting suitable investment/funding.

More information about who we are can be found on our website https://westsmethwickenterprise.co.uk/ and our Facebook page West Smethwick Enterprise

West Smethwick Enterprise in a nutshell

Pre-school settings – 5
Turnover - £800k
Staff numbers – 37

Our values: Kindness, Fairness, Determination, Collaboration and Imagination. These values are deeply ingrained in our culture and the way we work with our colleagues and with the children and families we serve.

About the role

The operation and success of West Smethwick Enterprise is overseen by a capable, dedicated and experienced Board of Trustees and this is led by the Chair.

Working closely with their Board of Trustees, the Chair is responsible for ensuring that our WSE leadership team continue to deliver financial stability, strong operational grip, high quality children’s services and apply strong governance to the organisation. The Chair also plays a crucial role overseeing the development and successful delivery of the strategy.

The successful Chair will provide mentorship to the Director of Children’s services, who leads the organisation on a day-to-day basis, helping her to continue to create a climate where the wider team can thrive and achieve new heights.

The role is perfect for a leader who is an experienced people manager, passionate about supporting young children from economically disadvantaged areas to thrive, and wants to use their skills, professional network and experience for good.

It is a voluntary position, with reasonable travel costs and expenses being covered.

The Chair position is a central leadership role within WSE, with the successful candidate drawing on their skills and experience to ensure the organisation can develop to meet the growing requirement for high quality, low cost and/or grant funded pre-school education in the Birmingham Ladywood and Smethwick footprint. We are keen to hear from anyone who is passionate about our aims, has time to give and feels able to lead West Smethwick Enterprise through the next chapter of growth.

Job Description


To ensure the long-term sustainability of West Smethwick Enterprise and support it to optimise the positive impact we are able to have on the communities we proudly serve.

The Chair will hold the Board and Executive Team to account for the Charity’s mission and vision, providing inclusive leadership to the Board of Trustees, ensuring that each trustee fulfils their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the charity.

The Chair will also support, and, where appropriate, challenge the Director of Children’s Services and ensure that the Board functions as a unit and works closely with the Senior Leaders of the organisation to achieve agreed objectives.

Principal responsibilities

Strategic leadership

• Provide leadership to the charity and its Board of Trustees, ensuring that the Charity has maximum impact for the children and families we serve.
• Ensure that Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the WSE.
• Ensure that the Board operates within its charitable objectives, and provides a clear strategic direction for the organisation.
• Ensure that the Board is able to regularly review major risks and associated opportunities, and satisfy itself that systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities, and manage and mitigate the risks.
• Ensure that the Board fulfils its duties to ensure sound financial health of the charity, with systems in place to ensure financial accountability.


• Ensure that the governance arrangements are working in the most effective way.
• Encourage positive change and challenge where appropriate.
• Appraise the performance of the Trustees and the Board on an annual basis.
• Ensure that the Board of Trustees is regularly refreshed and incorporates the right balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed to govern and lead WSE effectively. The BoT should also reflect the wider local population and the families who use our services.
• Work within any agreed policies adopted by WSE.

External Relations

• Act as an ambassador for the cause and for the organisation.
• Build relationships with key partners/stakeholders as required.
• Act as a spokesperson for the organisation when appropriate.
• Occasionally represent WSE at external functions, meetings and events.

Efficiency and effectiveness

• Chair meetings of the Board of Trustees effectively and efficiently, bringing impartiality and objectivity to the decision- making process.
• Ensure that Trustees are fully engaged and that decisions are taken in the best, long-term interests of the Charity and that the Board takes collective ownership.
• Foster, maintain and ensure that good working relationships exist with and between the Trustees.
• Work closely with the Director of Children’s Services to give direction to Board policy-making and to ensure that meetings are well planned, meaningful and reflect the responsibilities of Trustees.
• Monitor critical decisions taken at meetings, ensuring that they are implemented.
• Oversee the recruitment of new Trustees as required.

Relationship with the Director of Children’s Services and wider Senior Leadership Team

• Establish and build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with WSE’s Senior Leaders, ensuring they are held to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives
• Support the Director of Children’s Services, whilst respecting the boundaries which exist between the two roles
• Ensure regular contact with the Director of Children’s Services and develop and maintain an open and supportive relationship within which each can speak openly about concerns, worries and challenges
• Liaise with the Director of Children’s Services to maintain an overview of the Charity’s affairs, providing support as necessary
• Conduct an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the Director of Children’s Services in consultation with other Trustees
• Ensure that the Director of Children’s Services has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support

Person Specification

Personal Qualities

• Demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity, its strategic objectives and cause
• Personal gravitas to lead a mid-sized and growing organisation
• Exhibit strong inter-personal and relationship building abilities and be comfortable in an ambassadorial role
• Demonstrate tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively
• Strong networking capabilities that can be utilised for the benefit of the organisation
• Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment
• Embody the values of West Smethwick Enterprise, with a commitment to fairness and to promoting equality and diversity.


• Experienced senior people manager and leader, with a strong record of motivating a team, delivering results and building good working relationships.
• Able to demonstrate a track record of sound judgement and effective decision making, with experience on a Board preferable, but not essential.
• Passion for the West Smethwick Enterprise mission and delivering high quality pre-school and children’s services in economically and socially disadvantaged communities
• Willingness to engage existing professional network across the West Midlands to further the work of West Smethwick Enterprise Experience of external representation, delivering presentations and managing stakeholders
• Experience of chairing senior meetings

Desirable but not essential

• Finance or HR professional experience/background
• Early Years sector knowledge or experience
• Overseeing preparation of bids, tenders and/or grant applications

Knowledge and skills

• Broad knowledge and understanding of the Early Years sector and current issues affecting it
• Strong leadership skills, ability to motivate staff and volunteers and bring people together
• Financial management expertise and a broad understanding of charity finance issues
• An understanding of charity governance issues


The charity’s Chair (and board members) will serve a three-year term to be eligible for re-appointment for one additional term.
The Chair would need to commit approximately 1-2 days per month to conduct the role, including travel and attending occasional events

The Vice-Chair acts for the Chair when the Chair is not available and undertakes assignments at the request of the Chair.

How to Apply

We encourage candidates to organise an informal conversation with Laura Richmond, Director of Children's Services, before submitting an application. This will allow potential candidates to understand more about the Charity and the role.

Please email [email protected] to arrange this.