Chair Job Description

As provided by National Office.

Role summary

  • To provide inclusive and democratic leadership of the Board of Trustees (the committee). 
  • To ensure the committee fulfils its responsibilities for the overall governance, strategic direction, financial stability, administration, and sustainability of the U3A. 
  • To ensure the U3A applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its charitable objects/purposes, abides by its governing document (the constitution), and complies with charity law and other relevant legislation.  
  • To ensure the U3A upholds the guiding principles. 
  • To oversee adherence to the terms and conditions of affiliation to the Third Age Trust. 
  • To ensure the effective and efficient administration of the U3A. 
  • To safeguard the good name and values of the U3A organisation. 

Main responsibilities

Please note: 

  • The specific tasks listed below are in addition to the statutory requirements and responsibilities of Trustees of charitable organisations in the UK as laid down by the relevant regulatory bodies. 
  • Some U3As may decide to delegate some of these tasks to other members of the committee e.g. the Business Secretary.   

Committee Meetings 

    • To plan the meeting agenda in advance with the Business Secretary and agree on any papers to be circulated with it. 
    • To chair committee meetings ensuring that: 
      • the meeting starts and ends on time. 
      • all necessary business is covered. 
      • discussions involve everybody and are not dominated by a few people. 
      • discussions remain focussed on the stated agenda items. 
      • clear decisions are reached following a unanimous or majority vote of the committee.  
      • a timetable for implementation of actions/decisions is agreed. 
    • To be impartial and encourage objectivity in decision-making. 
    • To encourage all members to put forward new ideas and initiatives for discussion. 
    • To provide a casting vote in the event of an equal split. 
    • To agree the annual cycle of dates for committee meetings. 

Annual General Meeting (AGM) 

    • To write a Chair’s report for the Annual Report and Accounts and ensure the final draft of the Annual Report is presented to the committee for approval in good time prior to the AGM. 
    • To chair the AGM ensuring that the business of the meeting is conducted according to laid-down procedures and any existing standing orders. 
    • To arrange an induction for newly elected Trustees so they start with a sound knowledge base. 
    • To ensure the bank signature mandate is updated as required. 


    • To ensure the committee complies with its constitution and remains focussed on the U3A’s stated charitable objects/purposes and its aims.  
    • To facilitate the committee to determine the strategic direction and short and long term aims of the U3A, set its policies, define its goals, set targets and evaluate performance.  
    • To ensure the U3A applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects/purposes. 
    • To ensure that the U3A abides by the guiding principles and ethos of the U3A movement.  
    • To protect and manage any property and assets belonging to the U3A. 
    • To ensure that all Trustees clearly understand their duties and responsibilities and can make best use of their particular skills so they can become fully engaged and involved.  
    • To ensure all board decisions are implemented in a timely manner. 
    • To ensure that the committee reviews activities once they have taken place, to highlight what if anything can be learned and improved.  
    • To develop a strong team ethos within the board and maintain positive working relationships dealing with any conflicts which arise quickly and constructively. 
    • To encourage the committee to review its own effectiveness and consider whether individual roles can be better organised and/or distributed.  
    • To ensure the committee reviews risks on a regular basis and puts measures in place to mitigate any which are identified. 
    • To discuss succession planning and ways of encouraging members to volunteer for the committee. 


    • To ensure the committee agrees and regularly reviews an appropriate level of reserves and where funds should be placed. 
    • To ensure financial transparency through detailed disclosure of financial information to the committee.  
    • To be constantly aware of the financial position of the U3A through regular communication with the Treasurer. 

U3A Members

    • To ensure the U3A has maximum impact for its members. 
    • To ensure new members are welcomed and supported and understand the ethos and self-help nature of the organisation. 
    • To ensure that all possible methods are used to achieve the best level of communication possible between the committee and the members. 
    • To establish a procedure for members to provide feedback, raise issues and suggest new initiatives to be brought before the committee for discussion.  
    • To ensure all volunteers feel valued and supported. 
    • To ensure that the committee regularly reviews its structure, ways of working and relationship with the membership. 
    • To attend U3A functions and host monthly meetings as required. 

External contacts

    • To liaise with local organisations and to be the first point of contact. 
    • To attend network, regional and national meetings as appropriate. 
    • To be a spokesperson and an ambassador for the U3A ensuring that the local community is aware of what the U3A is and does. 
    • To represent the U3A at external functions, meetings and events. 

On completion

    • To carry out a comprehensive handover to the new Chair.