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Recruiter Information

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations Logo

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
3rd Floor, Sutherland House
149 St Vincent Street

0141 332 8113


SFHA Chair

| Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
- salary n/a

Closing date

21st August 2020, at 5pm

Salary and Employment Details

Salary: The role of the chair is not remunerated although reasonable expenses for travel may be claimed

Responsible to: SFHA Board of Directors

Time commitment: At least 5 Board Meetings and Office Bearer Meetings per year, including an away day with ad-hoc single item agenda meetings as required.      

The Chair is also expected to attend committee meetings on occasion and have regular meetings with the Chief Executive and external stakeholders, including Government Ministers.

Job Description

About SFHA

The SFHA are the voice and membership body for housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. Our ambition is that everyone has a good home in a successful community, with a range of high quality, affordable, safe and accessible homes that meet people’s changing needs and aspirations throughout their lives.

Housing associations and co-operatives are central to achieving this, going way beyond the bricks and mortar with social justice built in and delivering from generation to generation.

The SFHA Board comprises of 12 Directors elected through four electoral constituencies. The Directors collectively govern the organisation on behalf of our members. The Board is accountable to the membership for ensuring that the SFHA is fit for purpose, uses resources effectively and maximises reach and impact.

Role Overview

The Chair will be required to provide leadership to the Board and ensure that Directors fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the proper governance and strategic direction of the Association, as well as complying with the relevant statutory obligations and regulations. 

Internally they will foster positive working relationships between the Board and Senior Management Team, and externally they will carry out ambassadorial functions for the Association, helping it to develop its profile and representation with all relevant stakeholders.

Role Outline

Strategic Leadership and Management

  • Lead the Board of Directors.
  • Consult with Directors where appropriate and keep them informed of all relevant matter
  • Guide the long-term future of the Association, acting in partnership with the CEO to ensure that the Association has a clear vision and strategy in place
  • Ensure that the board is able to review major risks and associated opportunities regularly, and satisfy itself that systems are in place to take advantage of opportunities and manage and mitigate the risks

Manage the business of the Board, ensuring that:

  • the board operates efficiently and in accordance with the Governance Handbook
  • the Board agenda focuses on the right issues
  • board papers meet the Board’s needs
  • the Board maintains and develops an effective interface with the Executive Management Team
  • the views of Members are sought where practicable and taken into account in Board decisions
  • Directors have an adequate opportunity to express their views
  • Directors are able to have an effective debate and form a collective view/decision
  • Ensures that the Board take steps to monitor the performance of the Association
  • Chair the AGM and any other General Meetings.

Stewardship and Governance Development

  • Promote the highest possible standards of governance
  • Ensure that the Board is able to discharge its duties and comply with its governing document, and with any other relevant legislation or regulations
  • Regularly review the Board’s governance structure and performance
  • Ensure that the committee structure of the Board is appropriate, with relevant terms of reference in place
  • Ensure that the Board delegates sufficient authority to its committees, the CEO and others to enable the business of the Association to be carried on effectively and has processes in place to monitor this
  • Address and resolve any conflicts within the board
  • Performance Management and Mentoring    
  • Ensure that the performance of individual Directors, and of the Board as a whole, is evaluated at least once a year
  • Ensure appropriate action plans are put in place and implemented as a result of the Board evaluation
  • Ensure that a properly constructed induction programme is provided for new Directors

Decision Making   

  • Make decisions on urgent issues arising between Board meetings; ensure such decisions are reported to the Board and minuted at the next Board meeting.
  • Make decisions on any matter on which the Board is unable to make a decision where given specific delegated authority to do so by the Board.

Ambassadorial and External Relations

  • Work in partnership with the CEO to:
    • maintain an effective relationship with Members and other key stakeholders
    • represent the organisation internally and externally in accordance with SFHA policy.
  • Carry out ambassadorial functions for the Association helping it to develop its reputation and representation with all relevant stakeholders
  • Attend functions where it is important SFHA is represented and chairing such events where necessary
  • Open relevant SFHA events and support with the chairing of plenary sessions where required
  • Alongside the Chief Executive, address any potential conflict with external stakeholders

Relationship with the Chief Executive and the wider management team

  • Establish and build a strong, effective and a constructive working relationship with the Chief Executive, ensuring s/he is held to account for achieving agreed strategic objectives
  • Support the Chief Executive whilst respecting the boundaries which exist between the two roles
  • Ensure regular contact with the Chief Executive and develop and maintain an open and supportive relationship within which each can speak openly about concerns, challenges, and opportunities
  • Liaise with the Chief Executive to maintain an overview of the organisation’s affairs, providing appropriate support as necessary
  • Conduct an annual appraisal and remuneration review for the Chief Executive in consultation with the Finance Audit and Risk Committee and other trustees
  • Ensure that the Chief Executive has the opportunity for professional development and has appropriate external professional support
  • Ensure that the Chief Executive facilitates professional development for the executive team and staff.

Person Specification

Directors are required to engage in an appropriate level of scrutiny, constructive debate and challenge, and to provide positive feedback and support to the management team.  The skills, knowledge and experience required collectively by Chair of the Board are noted below.

Experience and Expertise

  • Able to challenge and take action in accordance with sound governance procedures
  • Able to chair complex discussions and lead debates in an open and inclusive manner and to summarise appropriately
  • Ability to encourage Directors to question and challenge issues constructively, promoting understanding
  • Ability to manage meetings, ensuring all necessary business is completed while allowing time for appropriate discussion of agenda items.
  • Understanding of regulatory frameworks, specifically those of the Scottish Housing Regulator and wider sector related legislation, and strategically driving appropriate compliance
  • Experience of operating at a senior level within organisations, ideally those of comparable size and activity to our organisation
  • A track record of leading and motivating senior teams to deliver a strategic vision and positive, consistent culture
  • Experience of succession planning and oversight of executive and/or non-executive leadership change

Knowledge of 

  • Good understanding of the social, economic, and political environment in which our organisation operates, including an understanding of current issues in social housing
  • Financial awareness and is able to understand and evaluate budgets, business plans and annual accounts with emphasis on ensuring value for money and supporting strategic investment priorities.
  • Understanding and ability to articulate the organisation’s purpose, strategy and values

Skills and abilities

  • Good all-round business acumen
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