Appointment of Trustee


Dear Candidate,

Thank you very much for your interest in becoming a Trustee at Discovery (Dimensions Somerset SEV Limited), the largest provider of learning disability and autism support in Somerset.

We were commissioned by Somerset County Council in 2017 to deliver high-quality support. This includes supported living, registered care, outreach, respite, crisis support, day support and supported employment. We support people with learning disabilities and autism to have a louder voice, greater choice and control in their lives. Our 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 a social enterprise and a registered charity which means that any additional surplus that we generate is re-invested back into local communities. It also means we are not limited to funding solely from one source, allowing us to seek other ways of generating income in the future to create opportunities for those with learning disabilities and/or autism.

We have a locally based Board to ensure we are responding to local community needs. This is made up of individuals familiar with the local area, its families, carers and needs. Our Trustees play a vital role in the present and future success of the organisation and these roles provide an opportunity for people with diverse skills to become involved in a genuinely local social enterprise serving the needs of people across the whole of Somerset.

As part of our commitment to understand, listen and work together in partnership with families, we are looking for someone to join our Board as a Trustee who can bring their perspective – gained through a close family member – of working with support providers to improve outcomes for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

This is a critical appointment; please take the time to read the information on this site to decide if this role is for you and if you feel you can make a lasting contribution to Discovery and the people that we serve. For a confidential conversation with our recruitment partners, please contact Rob Hilyer on +44(0)7719 325 771 or Elyse Turner-Pearce on +44(0)7808 648 559.

We very much hope that you will consider making an application and look forward to hearing from you.

Delyth Lloyd-Evans

About Us

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. More than half of any 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 –

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

The Role

Accountable to: Chair of the Discovery Board

Purpose of the role:

The Board of Trustees are responsible for the overall governance of Discovery, developing the organisations aims, objectives and goals in accordance with the governing document, legal and regulatory guidelines.

Trustees are required to:

  • Ensure foresight so Discovery adheres to its purpose and mission for the public benefit
  • Ensure Discovery complies with its governing document and the law
  • Ensure Discovery is accountable
  • Act with reasonable care and skill and in Discovery’s best interests
  • Manage Discovery’s resources responsibly
  • Guard organisational culture and values
  • Ensure the organisation is well-led, efficient and effective
  • Provide oversight, scrutiny, challenge and support to the Discovery Executive Team
  • Be open and transparent in accounting to all stakeholders
  • Add insight and value by contributing advice and assistance according to individual expertise
  • Act as an advocate and ambassador for Discovery

Discovery’s vision for Somerset is for people with learning disabilities and their families to gain more control over their support, make more day to day choices, live in high quality and fit for purpose buildings and have the same opportunities as everybody else from a service that is good value for money. Over half of any surplus Discovery makes is returned direct to projects within the local community in Somerset.

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 Discovery Board as a Trustee 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 Discovery 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

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 participate in reviews of individual, committee and Board performance and measures designed to develop capacity and effectiveness.
  • To comply with the duties of being a Charity Trustee.

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 Discovery Board.
  • Maintain confidentiality in accordance with our data handling & protection policy and procedure.

Practical Arrangements

You should expect to commit around 8-10 days for attending Board meetings and other ad-hoc meetings, including with Discovery Council, attending Listening Events, observing Group Committees and your review meetings with the Chair. You should also allow additional time for reading papers, e-mails, visiting services, etc.

There are 6 Board Meetings every year, including an Away Day.

The successful candidate will be invited to attend the last meeting in 2021 which is to be held virtually on 21st December.

The dates for 2022 are:

27 January 2022; 24 March 2022; 19 May 2022; 28 July 2022; 27 October 2022; 7/8 December 2022 (Board & Away Day)

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, or a Joint Meeting with Council, The Away Day may be different.

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 Board Meetings would be face to face.

Face to face meetings in the future would normally be held in Bridgwater.

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

Trustees are encouraged to engage outside of Board meetings in the following ways:

  • Service visits and/or team meetings at least twice per annum
  • Group meetings/committee meetings/event at least once per annum
  • Council at least once per annum
  • Listening events at least once per annum

Equality & Diversity

Promoting equality, celebrating diversity and ensuring inclusion is fundamental to us in the Dimensions Group. 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.


  • 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 Discovery and the wider Dimensions Group.
  • Possess confidence to challenge, ask questions appropriately and keep to an appropriate level of detail.

Knowledge and understanding

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


  • 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 Discovery 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 an understanding of the role of a Charity Trustee and commitment to building knowledge and skills in this area.

Candidates should ideally live in or around Somerset or have a close connection to the work of Discovery and the region. 



  • The role of Trustee is not remunerated
  • Expenses will be covered for travel to and from venues
  • Trustees serve a term of 3 years which may be extended for a further 3 years
  • Trustees will require an Enhanced DBS check to be carried out as part of the on-boarding
  • To protect your health and safety, the health and safety of our other employees, the people we support, and to meet the Government’s regulations around mandatory vaccinations in care homes, Trustee appointments are conditional on you being vaccinated against Covid-19 (and any advisable supplementary vaccinations and boosters relating to Covid-19). Your failure to fulfil these requirements without good reason may lead to your appointment being terminated

How to Apply

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

Should you wish to discuss any of these roles 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

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV
  • A covering letter setting out:
    • What motivates you to join our Board and why will you be successful?
    • What will you bring of yourself, your lived experience and perspective to the Board?
    • How would you summarise your understanding of being a Charity Trustee?
  • Please also include the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please complete the following Equal Opportunity Form.
  • Please download, complete and return the following Fit and Proper Persons Declaration to

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference number AQ1219.