Appointment of a Family Co-opted Group Board Member

Welcome

Thank you for your interest in a position at the Dimensions Group.

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 across Dimensions in all its forms, including Discovery, O3W and Dimensions Cymru.  Where you read ‘Dimensions’, we mean everyone. We currently support 3,500 people and employ 7,000 colleagues across England and Wales.  In common with the majority of organisations and sectors, the Covid 19 pandemic has posed problems in relation to how we deliver our services. We have responded well but will need to continue to innovate and improve in response to the ever changing world in which we operate. To read more about how we are coping during the current crisis, please take a look at our news blog.

Our outgoing strategy, Dimensions 2020, was the framework upon which we built the organisation I see today – a values-driven employer, structured to deliver in a devolved, localised way that brings important decisions close to the people that they affect.  In fact, we are one of the largest not-for-profit providers of support for people with learning disabilities in the country. Scale is not important for what it is but for what it enables us to do: to invest in learning and development; to draw on the expertise of people we support and their families so their influence permeates throughout Dimensions; to amplify their voices as we expand our contribution beyond our boundaries.

We have achieved a huge amount, yet whilst Dimensions has changed significantly, sadly many sector issues endure.  People with a learning disability still die too young. Covid has had a dreadful impact on the people we support, affecting their day to day lives as well as leading to significant death rates at a relatively young age. There are still two and a half thousand people with a learning disability and/or autism living in hospital and too many that leave will find themselves in locked facilities.  The age of those being admitted is getting younger, with increasing prevalence of autism.  Unsurprisingly, most now also experience mental ill-health that increases the support that they need and decreases their chance of moving on.  The television is still showing people 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.  The 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.  I could go on…

But I also see things that inspire me, every single day.  I look at our organisation and I see all 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.

Where I perceive a gap is between our ambition – a core value – and our capacity.  I know that we can – and do – get it right for people; that we have acquired the knowledge and the experience to deliver better lives.  However, we need more good people in support roles, more good leaders, leaner processes, stronger systems and some new skills to do more.  More Dimensions people delivering more Dimensions support to help more people need us less.

Our strategy for 2025 describes a series of high-level aims that we will apply to five strategic pillars.  It tells you how we will build upon Dimensions 2020 to make our evidence-based support available to people when they need it most.

To help achieve our Strategy, Dimensions is governed by a Board that brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience about the sector we work in. However, we also know our governance arrangements must reflect the interests of the people we serve – including the people we support, their loved ones and the colleagues who work for us. Having someone around the table who can bring their perspective and lived experience of having a close family member with learning disabilities and/or autism is invaluable, and we want this experience on our Board.

If you feel that this role is of interest to you then please do submit an application.

Nick Baldwin
Chair

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 challenging behaviour, 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

Discovery

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. We will 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 board;

Constitution 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
Size of Board Max 12, Includes 2 co-opted members
Pay Co-opted Group Board Member – £5,000
Terms of office Co-opted Group Board Member – 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). Only full Group Board Members are Trustees of Outreach 3-Way and Directors of DPS Limited.

There is also Dimensions Cymru, a Company Limited by Guarantee (Reg. No. 12531369), and Registered Charity (Reg. No. 1191485).

Co-opted Board Members are expected to be fully involved with, and have the opportunity to influence all aspects of the Group Board’s work. Ultimately, however, they are not Directors of the Parent Company or Trustees of the subsidiary Charities and do not have the associated rights or personal liabilities.

To view our governance structure chart, 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.

Vision:

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, Steve Scown, 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.

The Board, Executive Team and the Leadership Group have all undertaken unconscious bias awareness which all colleagues have access to. 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.

Recently the Board and Executive Team participated in an 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. It is the intention that this will be cascaded to Leadership Group and then all managers.

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.

The most recent Great Places to Work survey results were in the highest scoring areas relating to promoting equality and respecting diversity; evidence that demonstrates that colleagues feel able to be themselves and that they are valued not despite their diversity, but  because of it.

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

The role

Family Co-opted Group Board Member

Job reference:
AQ1093

Role Description

Accountable to: Chair of Group Board

Purpose of the role

We seek to work in full and equal partnership with the people we support and their families and friends.  It is their unique contribution and the inherent knowledge and experience of people we support and their families that helps us shape the services we provide and how we function as an organisation.

Making sure we work well with families can be a challenge for us. We acknowledge that we don’t always get this right, but we’re committed to working hard to build understanding, to listen and to work together in partnership.

Having someone working with the Dimensions Group Board who can participate from a family perspective is part of that commitment.

At a governance level the purpose of this role will involve providing support, scrutiny and challenge to ensure that we stay true to our values and commitment to working in partnership with families.

We are looking for someone who:

  • Has lived experience of having a close family member with a learning disability and/or autism, and who is or who has been in receipt of specialist or significant support services (this may be support from Dimensions or another provider/service)
  • Can bring the perspective of this lived experience to the Board’s discussions and decision-making
  • Shares our vision for better lives for more people

Co-opted Board Members are expected to be fully involved with, and have the opportunity to influence all aspects of the Group Board’s work. Ultimately, however, they are not Directors of the Parent Company or Trustees of the subsidiary Charities and do not have the associated rights or personal liabilities.

The Group Board is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the management control, accountability and good conduct of Dimensions and its subsidiaries;
  • Ensuring Dimensions adheres to its purpose and mission;
  • Guarding organisational culture and values;
  • Developing the vision and strategy with the Group Executive Team;
  • Ensuring the organisation is well led, efficient and effective;
  • Providing scrutiny, challenge and support to the Group Executive Team;
  • Being open and transparent in accounting to all Dimensions’ stakeholders;
  • Adding value by contributing advice and assistance according to individual expertise;

Core duties

  • To facilitate and engage with all discussions and decision-making processes at Board level, based on the principles of inclusion and meaningful contribution. This will include understanding and assessing complex information in order to make those decisions.
  • To apply knowledge gained by having lived experience to the discussions and decisions made by the Board.
  • To look at the wider picture of our work with families and friends, not just support services provided to your own family member.
  • To look beyond Dimensions at issues affecting the learning disability and/or autism communities in the UK.
  • To participate in reviews of individual, committee and Board performance and measures designed to develop capacity and effectiveness.

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 Chair of the
  • Maintain confidentiality in accordance with our data handling & protection policy and procedure

Practical Arrangements

You should expect to commit around 15 days for attending Board meetings, Committee meetings, and other ad-hoc meetings, including with Dimensions Council and attending Listening Events. You should also allow additional time for reading papers, e-mails, etc. We do not expect the total time commitment to exceed 25 days in total.

There are 6 Group Board Meetings every year, plus an Away Day and a Joint Meeting with the Dimensions Council (representatives of the people we support). The dates for 2022 are:

2 February 2022; 30 March 2022; 26 May 2022; 3 August 2022; 28 September 2022;

11 October 2022 (meeting with Council); 8/9 November 2022 (Away Day); 30 November 2022

The Board meetings normally comprise of a 3 hour Board Meeting starting in the morning plus a strategy/Continuing Professional Development session of 2 hours, which is sometimes separate. The Away Day and joint meeting with Council may be different.

The successful candidate may be asked to join a Group Committee – these Committees typically meet 4 times a year. Committee meetings are around 3 hours.

There is a mix of virtual and face to face meetings throughout the year – each year, it is anticipated that up to half of the Group Board Meetings would be face to face, and 1 or 2 of the Committee meetings each year.

Face to face meetings in the future would normally be held in central London, unless they were arranged to coincide with visits to a region or services (this would normally only be for some of the Group Committees, or for the Group Board meeting with Dimensions Council).

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.

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.

 

Person Specification

Please use this in conjunction with the advertised requirements. The criteria will be assessment during the shortlisting stage and interviews. The following are considered essential:

Skills

  • The ability to facilitate and engage with all discussions and decision-making processes at Board level, based on the principles of inclusion and meaningful contribution. This will include understanding and assessing complex information in order to make those decisions.
  • The 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.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and listening skills, including the ability to communicate clearly.
  • The ability to relate to people at all levels in the organisation, and possess tact and diplomacy and the ability to form positive working relationships and partnerships with people both inside and outside Dimensions.
  • Possess confidence to challenge, ask questions appropriately and keep to an appropriate level of detail.

Knowledge and understanding

  • An understanding of Dimensions’ values and commitment to the support of vulnerable people.
  • A good understanding of the challenges that face people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Attributes

  • Have a close family member with a learning disability and/or autism, and who is or who has been in receipt of specialist or significant support services (this may be support from Dimensions or another provider/service).
  • A strong commitment to enabling choice and control for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
  • Reliable, enthusiastic and committed.

It is desirable but not essential that you have relevant knowledge of organisational governance. You should demonstrate a commitment to building knowledge and skills in this area.

Terms of Appointment

Family Co-opted Group Board Member

  • Remuneration – £5,000 p/a
  • Tenure – Co-opted Group Board Members will be appointed for a 3-year term.
  • Meeting Location – We are reviewing our meeting arrangements, but it is anticipated that Group Board Meetings will return to be mostly face to face, although there may be some held virtually. It is anticipated that the majority of Committee meetings each year will be virtual. Face to face meetings in the future would normally be held in central London, unless they were arranged to coincide with visits to a region or services (this would normally only be for some of the Group Committees, or for the Group Board meeting with Dimensions Council).
  • Time Commitment – c.25 days per year, which includes preparation for and attendance of Board meetings (daytime meetings; around 5-6 hours each).

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 Friday 5 November 2021.

Completed applications should be uploaded at www.andersonquigley.com/candidates using the reference AQ1095

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 Opportunity Form

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Rob Hilyer on +44(0)7719 325 771 or Elyse Turner-Pearce on +44 (0)7808 648 559.

Timetable

Closing date: Friday 5 November
Longlisting: Friday 12 November
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: w/c Monday 15 November
Shortlisting: Friday 26 November
Service visits: w/c Monday 29 November
Final Panel Interviews (in person) Friday 10 December