Appointment of the Group Board Member & Subsidiary Chair (Discovery)


Thank you for your interest in role of Group Board Member & Subsidiary Chair (Discovery).

The Group is working towards Better Lives for More People, our strategy for 2025, created to deliver better lives for the people we support, their families and our colleagues. When we use the term Group, we mean everyone and this includes our subsidiaries Discovery, Outreach3Way and Dimensions Cymru.

We are a values-driven employer, structured to deliver in a localised way that places important decisions close to the people that they affect.  Today, Dimensions supports 3,500 people and employs 7,000 colleagues across England and Wales. That makes us one of the largest not-for-profit providers of support for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in the country. Scale is not important for what it is but for what it enables us to do: it helps us invest in our learning and development; to draw on the expertise of the people we support and their families so their influence permeates throughout Dimensions; and to amplify their voices as we expand our contribution beyond our boundaries, targeting key sector issues.

We know that many sector challenges are complex and will be with us beyond our current strategy. People with a learning disability still die too young.  There are still two and a half thousand people with a learning disability and/or autism living in hospital and too many that leave find themselves just moved into a different locked facility.  The age of those being admitted is getting younger, with increasing prevalence of autism.  Most also experience mental ill-health that increases the support that they need and decreases their chance of moving on.  People are still being abused in publicly-funded care homes and hospitals.  Thirteen hundred young people leave residential schools and colleges each year to live in ‘out-of-area’ placements, away from their families and significant relationships.  Purchasers are still seeking more for less. Lack of investment in the sector means that salaries are still too low and so attracting people to come to work in our sector – and stay – remains hard, even though I know there are people out there with the right values.

In the very early days of the pandemic we set ‘Keeping the people we support alive’ as the first of only three organisational objectives (the others were ‘Keeping our workforce safe, healthy and focused on our first objective’ and ‘Emerging from the pandemic fit for the future’). We have not come through this unscathed and I would never wish to minimise the suffering of people we support, their families and our colleagues who have faced the virus directly. However, as a Group we believe our myriad of responses to the pandemic has helped us adapt and improve much of how we operate. In short, our experiences and how we are emerging will help us deliver our exciting and challenging strategic aspirations.

I see things that inspire me every single day.  I look at our organisation and I see the passion, engagement and values that we need to give people great lives. I see people we support voting, getting jobs, learning new skills, finding new friends and being heard.  People with a learning disability and/or autism achieving what, for most of us, are the critical cornerstones of life.  Just as satisfying are the everyday things: seeing people make their own dinner, contribute to making a cup of tea, shop online, go to the doctor. Seeing the people we support need us less! And it makes me proud.  Proud of them and proud of my colleagues who help to make it happen.

But we are not content – there is still much to do and much to improve. We need to ensure we match our ambition, a core value, with our capacity.  I know that we can, and do, get it right for people; that we have acquired the knowledge and the experience to help people live better lives.  However, we need more good people in support roles, more good leaders, leaner processes, stronger systems, some new skills and greater diversity, especially across our leadership. More Dimensions people delivering more Dimensions support to help more people need us less.

To help achieve our strategy, Dimensions is governed by a Group Board that brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience. We also know that our governance arrangements must reflect the wide interests and perspectives of the people we serve – both the people we support and the colleagues who work for us. This particular role is of huge strategic importance to the Group. In addition to working with the Group Board to ensure the organisation is well led, efficient and effective, you will also Chair the subsidiary Board of Discovery.

Our subsidiary – Discovery – is the largest provider of learning disability and autism support in Somerset. Discovery was commissioned by Somerset County Council as a joint venture with Dimensions in 2017 to deliver high-quality support. This includes supported living, registered care, outreach, respite, crisis support, day support and supported employment: 1,200 colleagues deliver ambitious, effective and personalised support for those with learning disabilities, behaviours of distress, autism or complex needs in Somerset.

We are delighted that Somerset County Council has requested that Discovery continues to run learning disability and autism services across Somerset for a further two years up to March 2025 (the maximum possible under the terms of the current contract), but we must now plan for the future. As Chair of Discovery you will ensure that this important organisation helps to deliver the Group Strategy of Better Lives for More People.

If you feel this role could be of interest and you are excited by the future of the Dimensions Group and of Discovery, please submit an application.

Nick Baldwin

About us

Dimensions is a large and complex organisation supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, including people with complex needs. We enable thousands of people to have greater choice and control over their lives. The people we support and their families are at the heart of everything we do, and we want every one of them to have a great life with excellent outcomes. We were one of the pioneers of person-centred support packages for people with learning disabilities and autism, and our drive for innovation continues with our Dimensions Activate support model.

From a few hours each week to intensive support for people with behaviours of distress, complex needs and profound and multiple learning disabilities, we involve the people we support and their families in all levels of their support. Our intent is to make everything we do personalised to the individual, and our team are ambitious for each and every person we support. We believe passionately that people do best outside of institutions and when living near family and friends.

Our relationships with our colleagues are important to us, and we set high standards for ourselves as an employer; we recognise a union, we offer an award-winning career development scheme, and we partner with Roffey Park for our leadership development programme. We are financially and commercially sustainable, we have grown significantly over recent years, and our accounts show an underlying surplus. In line with our values we aim to be exemplar and a leader within the sector. We work hard to develop a ‘Louder Voice’, enabling the people we support and their families to raise the issues that matter to them and to add value to the sector beyond our boundaries.

Dimensions is also the parent to four subsidiaries:

Outreach 3 Way


Dimensions Personalised Support

Dimensions Cymru

The Dimensions Group has for some time now been growing year on year. We recognise that in order to thrive in an industry where margins are low and risks are high, we need to operate at a significant scale. We will continue to look for opportunities to support more people through continuing expansion, but we will do so with caution and discretion. We will only be able to reach our goals if we continue to change and adapt, to ensure that Dimensions remains at the forefront of innovation in social care. Our Group Board Members are at the heart of our success, setting the strategy and taking responsibility for ensuring that the people we support are given the opportunity to live life to the full. We are committed to a continuous programme of Board rotation and improvement: diversification in all its forms can and will enable us to continue to develop and grow, assisting us to provide better support to more people.

Dimensions is strongly values-driven, and we expect everyone to demonstrate our five core values:

  • Ambition, helping people be the best they can be
  • Courage, being brave enough to make a difference
  • Integrity, being honest and fair in all the things we do
  • Partnership, working with other people to make a bigger difference
  • Respect, treating everyone fairly and knowing that everyone’s voice is important

We are proud of how we engage and communicate with all our stakeholders. Openness and transparency are at the heart of what we do and informs how we talk about ourselves. You can find details of what’s important to us here:

About our Group Board (Dimensions (UK) Limited)

Constitution Dimensions (UK) Limited – Charitable Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (Reg. No. 31192R).  It is also a Registered Provider of social housing with the Regulator of Social Housing (Reg. No. 4648) and a not for profit organisation with exempt charitable status. Dimensions Somerset SEV Limited (known as Discovery) – a Company Limited by Guarantee (Reg. No. 10257343), a Registered Charity (Reg. No. 1172574) and a Social Enterprise.
Size of Board Dimensions (UK) Limited – Max 12, Includes 2 co-opted members
Discovery – Maximum 10 Trustees
Pay Full Group Board Member – £9,000
Additional payment of £3,000 for Committee Chairs / Subsidiary Chairs
Terms of office Full Group Board Members/ Trustees – 3 years (may be re-elected for up to a further 3 years)

*The Dimensions (UK) Limited Board is co-terminus with the Outreach 3-Way Board, which is a Company Limited by Guarantee (Reg. No 1474488) and Registered Charity (Reg. No 278140) and the Dimensions Personalised Support (DPS) Limited Board, which is a Private Limited Company (Reg. No 11596744).

To view our governance structure chart, please click here.

About Discovery

Dimensions Somerset SEV Limited (known as Discovery) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dimensions (UK) Group which has an established track record in the delivery of care for people with learning disabilities for more than 40 years. Formed in 2017, Discovery is a ground breaking partnership between Dimensions and Somerset County Council and we are a social enterprise that works in partnership with the people we support, families, carers, colleagues and a wide range of organisations countywide. Some of the surplus we make is reinvested into improving services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism in Somerset through the Discovery Community Fund.

We are driven by our values. People with learning disabilities and their families are at the heart of everything we do and we want every person we support to get more from their life. As a values-led organisation, we expect everybody to demonstrate our five core values:

  • Ambition: helping people be the best they can be
  • Courage: being brave enough to make a difference
  • Integrity: being honest and fair in all the things we do
  • Partnership: working with other people to make a bigger difference
  • Respect: treating everyone fairly and knowing that everyone’s voice is important

Our Governing Board

Discovery is governed by a board of trustees including those with lived experience. For more information about the leadership of Discovery you can visit

To read more about what is currently happening at Discovery, please click here.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Dimensions has come a long way on their journey to promote equality and respect diversity since the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 legislation.

Having developed a vision for how we wanted to embed respect and fairness, we developed a robust strategy that shaped our focus and intent.


We strongly believe in promoting equality, celebrating diversity and ensuring inclusion – for the people we support, the people we employ and wider society.

We strive to be an organisation which reflects and responds to the diverse range of communities in which we work, and aim to create an inclusive culture that understands, respects, encourages and celebrates the individual differences of the people we support, employ and work in partnership with.

We believe that the diversity of our staff team is one of our strengths and so we are committed to ensuring that it reflects the diversity of society as a whole at all levels of the organisation.

At the Dimensions Group, we value you as you – not despite your diversity, but because of it.

All colleagues are encouraged to share their diversity information, and this along with survey analysis, our staff forums, equality impact assessments and diversity champions’ network helps shape our priorities and focus on meeting the diverse needs of our colleagues and the people we support.

Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, together with our dedicated volunteer diversity champions who work in different areas across Dimensions in operations and business support, work to deliver our equality and diversity strategy. The Board, Leadership Group and Executive Team support the agenda and are committed to delivering our equality and diversity objectives, and the Chief Executive, Rachael Dodgson, is personally passionate about this. This means that all areas of Dimensions have a part to play in ensuring colleagues and the people we support are respected and valued.

Dimensions has come far, but there is still more to do. We have taken, and continue to take, steps to address the balance of ethnic diversity of our senior managers. Signing up to the Race at Work Charter and the five principles also demonstrates our commitment to equality for our colleagues who are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

We have set measures to recruit and retain colleagues with a disability and specifically a learning disability. We have been transparent in our commitment to both of these, and use positive action in recruitment.

As Disability Confident Leaders, we are open to supporting the wider community in sharing our learning and experience. Achieving the Louder than Words charter has enabled us to understand the needs of our deaf colleagues and people we support as well as those with hearing loss. We have invested in assistive technology to support colleagues who have hearing loss, dyslexia, and English as an additional language.

We have championed the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities with having a presence at Pride events, and listening and learning from our colleagues in transition. We are continually striving to be as inclusive as possible and make adjustments wherever we can.

Recently the Board and Executive Team participated in an Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership session. This has enabled them to reflect on what we need to do differently and has spearheaded some actions in how they operate at this level. We are developing resources to use in day to day situations to enable colleagues to reflect on the decisions they make so they can challenge themselves and each other.

We have also developed training on bullying and harassment so that colleagues know how to recognise it, deal with it, and reduce it. We give every colleague the opportunity in their 1-1s to raise any issues or barriers in their work that relates to their diversity.

Furthermore, we are delighted to say that the Dimensions group has officially been recognised as a 2022 UK’s Best Workplace™ for Wellbeing, by Great Place to Work® UK!. Dimensions has been recognised as a Great Place to Work® in previous years and we’re proud to be able to add this new wellbeing accolade to our achievements.

Please click here to view the Dimensions Group outline to our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion of all colleagues.

The role

Group Board Member & Subsidiary Chair (Discovery)

Job reference:

Accountable to: Chair of Group Board

Group Board members are responsible for ensuring the management control, accountability  and good conduct of Dimensions and its subsidiaries and are required to:

  • Ensure Dimensions adheres to its purpose and mission;
  • Guard organisational culture and values;
  • Develop the vision and strategy with the Group Executive Team;
  • Ensure the organisation is well led, efficient and effective;
  • Provide scrutiny, challenge and support to the Group Executive Team;
  • Be open and transparent in accounting to all Dimensions’ stakeholders;
  • Add value by contributing advice and assistance according to individual expertise; and
  • Act as an advocate and ambassador for Dimensions.

Dimensions Group Board Members are also a Trustee of Outreach 3-Way, which is a Registered Charity, and a Director of Dimensions Personalised Support Limited. The three Boards (Dimensions, DPS and Outreach 3-Way) are co-terminus.

The Chair of Discovery is responsible for:

  • Providing the Subsidiary Board with leadership;
  • Ensuring effective governance of the Subsidiary, including efficient conduct of meetings and that all Subsidiary Board Members are able to express their views;
  • Establishing a constructive relationship with and supporting the Subsidiary Managing Director;
  • Ensuring the Subsidiary Board meets it legal duties and responsibilities as a Registered Charity; and
  • Ensuring the Subsidiary Board fulfils its objectives and key functions in line with its role as a subsidiary of Group.

 We are looking for someone who shares our Group vision of Better Lives for More People.

 Core duties

  • To have a good understanding of the objectives and priorities of the Dimensions Group.
  • To foster good working relationships and shared understanding, and promote effective communication across the Group with Board and Committee Members and respective Executive Teams.
  • To provide challenge in a constructive manner and to support and provide advice to the work of the Boards and Committees.
  • To apply skills, knowledge and personal or professional perspective to the discussions and decisions the Boards and Committees make.
  • To apply perspective to situations and have a balanced and objective view in order to  consider the needs of different parties in coming to conclusions.
  • To contribute to and share responsibility for the Boards and Committee decisions, including their duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and independent judgement.
  • To exercise independent judgment and to act only in the interests of the Dimensions Group as a whole, and not on behalf of any individual or entity.
  • To lead by example and maintain the highest standards of governance conduct and demonstrate relevant knowledge of organisational governance.
  • To manage Subsidiary Board Meetings, ensuring the business is effectively conducted and that all Subsidiary Board Members are given the opportunity to express their views.
  • To take decisions delegated to the Subsidiary Chair. Where decisions are required urgently between board meetings, to do so with the advice of the Subsidiary Managing Director and following as wide a consultation with Board Members and executives as possible.
  • To support the Subsidiary MD through a dotted line management arrangement.
  • To participate in reviews of individual, committee and Board performance and measures designed to develop capacity and effectiveness.
  • To lead the performance review for Subsidiary Board Members.
  • To have a strong commitment to enabling choice and control for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
  • To look beyond Dimensions Group at issues affecting the learning disability and/or autism communities in the UK.
  • To represent the Subsidiary and the Group.
  • To prepare for and attend committee meetings, away days, training/development events and other internal and external events as required.

Please note this job description is not exhaustive and reflects the type and range of tasks, responsibilities and outcomes associated with the role.

In additional to the above you are expected to:

  • Undertake other duties from time to time as required by the Group Chair of the Board.
  • Maintain confidentiality in accordance with our data handling & protection policy and procedure.

Equality & Diversity

Promoting equality, celebrating diversity and ensuring inclusion is fundamental to us in Dimensions. We are committed to equality of opportunity for all, and applications are encouraged regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships.

To reflect our ambition and commitment to be more representative in our governance structures, we particularly encourage and welcome applications from young people, people with a disability, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people from the LGBTQ+ community.



Please use this in conjunction with the advertised requirements. The criteria will be considered as part of the shortlisting stage and interviews.


  • Non-Executive experience.
  • Experience of senior leadership at Board level or equivalent.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and listening skills: Be able to relate to people at all levels in the organisation, possess tact and diplomacy and the ability to form positive working relationships and partnerships with people both inside and outside Dimensions. Able to question, challenge and negotiate appropriately and effectively.
  • Ability to apply perspective to situations and have a balanced and objective view in order to consider the needs of different parties in coming to conclusions.
  • Possess confidence to challenge, ask questions appropriately and keep to an appropriate level of detail.
  • Experience of being a Chairperson (desirable).

Knowledge and understanding 

  • An understanding of Dimensions Group’ values and commitment to the support of vulnerable people.
  • A strong track record of achievement in his or her chosen field – in the public, private or voluntary sectors (desirable).
  • Some knowledge / understanding of the social care sector (desirable).
  • Experience of social enterprises (desirable).


  • Acts with integrity: What he/she does is grounded in what they believe. Demonstrates high professional standards, understands accountability and is open and honest in dealings with others.
  • Builds a positive culture: Keen to enhance the performance of the organisation through promoting positive change and challenging ineffective systems, processes and behaviours.
  • Supports Meetings: Takes an active role in ensuring that meetings are focused and productive. Prepares thoroughly in advance, contributes actively and fosters an environment that encourages others to contribute.
  • Builds relationships: Works hard to develop and maintain effective relationships with Non-Executives, staff and external parties through openness and respect and showing a genuine interest in other people’s perspectives.
  • Demonstrates intellectual rigour and analytical insight: Able to process information quickly, act decisively and find novel solutions to problems. Takes a balanced view considering the needs of different parties and maintains objectivity despite personal values and beliefs.
  • Communicates clearly: Able to translate complex messages so that others can understand; to influence a wide range of audiences and acts as an ambassador for the organisation, seeking out opportunities to promote the work of Dimensions in both internal and external forums.
  • Demonstrates resilience: Remains positive even during difficult times and displays maturity when faced with criticism.

To download a copy of this Job Description and Person Specification, please click here.

Practical arrangements

Practical arrangements for group board member & subsidiary chair role

You should expect to commit around 2025 days per annum for attending Board meetings, Committee meetings, and other ad-hoc meetings, including with Dimensions and Discovery Councils,  attending Listening Events and visiting the people we support in their homes. You should also allow additional time for reading papers, e-mails, etc. We do not expect the total time commitment to exceed 40 days in total over the year.

There are 6 Group Board Meetings every year, plus an Away Day and a Joint Meeting with the Dimensions Council.

The remaining dates for 2022 are:

  • 3 August 2022 (possibly observe)
  • 28 September 2022
  • 12 October 2022 – meeting with Council
  • 10/11 November 2022 – Away Day
  • 30 November 2022

There are six Discovery Board Meetings every year. The remaining dates after the appointment for 2022 are:

  • 27 October 2022
  • 8 December 2022

The Board meetings normally comprise of around a three hour Board Meeting starting in the morning plus a strategy/CPD session of 2 hours, which is sometimes separate. The Away Day and joint meeting with Council may be different.

There is going to be a mix of virtual and face to face meetings throughout the year.

Any face to face meetings of Group Board meetings would normally be held in central London.

Any face to face meetings of the Subsidiary Board would normally be held in Somerset.

You may be asked to join a Group Committee, meetings of which are held virtually on a quarterly basis.

Some overnight stays may be required in the future.

All new Board and Committee members receive a comprehensive induction, which includes support around preparation for meetings and pairing people with an experienced Member.

Terms of appointment

  • Remuneration – £12,000 p/a (£9,000 for group board membership plus an additional £3,000 for chairing the subsidiary board).
  • Tenure – Full Group Board Members will be appointed for a 3-year term but may then be re-elected for up to a further 3 years

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to Dimensions. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on Wednesday 15 June 2022.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1461

To reflect our ambition and commitment to be more representative in our governance structures, we particularly encourage and welcome applications from young people, people with a disability, people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Applications should consist of:

1. A full CV including the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
2. Please complete a covering letter of no more than 2 sides of A4 which answers the following questions:

  • What motivates you to join our Board and why will you be successful?
  • What will you bring of yourself, your life experience and your perspective to the Board?
  • As a Board Member, how will you apply the Dimensions values (Ambition, Courage, Integrity, Partnership, Respect) when helping us to make decisions?

3. Please use the following link to complete an online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley:

  • Helene Usherwood on +44(0)7719 322 669 or
  • Elyse Turner-Pearce on +44 (0)7808 648 559 or


Closing date: noon on Wednesday 15 June
Longlisting: Wednesday 22 June
Preliminary interviews with AQ:  23 June – 1 July
Shortlisting: Wednesday 6 July
Visits to the people Discovery support in their homes: 12 and 14 July
Panel Interviews: Thursday 28 July