CLES is seeking a new Chair for its board of Directors/Trustees

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This is an exciting and unique opportunity to Chair the UK’s leading member and research organisation dedicated to local economic development.  Celebrating 30 years anniversary and with a new business plan in place, CLES aims to maintain and develop its status as the go to Centre for progressive ideas – showing how we can build more socially just and inclusive local economies.  In this work the Chair will work with fellow board members and with the staff team.  It is expected that the successful applicant will be well networked and will be comfortable in public sector, national/local politics, media, commercial and academic settings.

Chair – Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

The chair will be responsible for:

  • holding the Board and Executive Team to account for the Charity’s mission and vision, providing inclusive leadership to the Board of Trustees, ensuring that each trustee fulfils their duties and responsibilities for the effective governance of the charity;
  • supporting and, where appropriate, challenging the Chief Executive and ensuring that the Board functions as a unit and works closely with the entire Executive of the charity to achieve agreed objectives;
  • developing the Chair role as an ambassador and the public face of the charity in partnership with the Chief Executive;
  • holding the position for at least 3 years;
  • ability to commit up to 1 day a month, including:
    • Chair CLES board meetings and any sub committees (once a quarter);
    • Meet with Chief Executive on a regular basis.

 Job Specification

Values and behaviours

  • Demonstrates a strong and visible passion and commitment to the charity, its strategic objectives and cause;
  • Personal gravitas to lead a significant national organisation;
  • Exhibits strong inter-personal and relationship building abilities and is comfortable in an ambassadorial role;
  • Demonstrates tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen, influence and engage effectively;
  • Strong networking capabilities that can be utilised for the benefit of the charity across the public, social and commercial sectors;
  • Ability to foster and promote a collaborative team environment;
  • A personal commitment to equality and inclusion, and diversity
  • Operates with integrity and openness.


  • Experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level;
  • Successful track record of achievement through their career in a relevant field;
  • Experience of charity governance and working with or as part of a Board of Trustees;
  • Experience of external representation, delivering presentations and managing stakeholders;
  • Experience of chairing meetings and events.

Knowledge and skills

  • Broad knowledge and understanding of research, local government, local economies and current issues affecting it;
  • Strong leadership skills, with the ability to motivate and bring people together.


  • Financial management expertise and a broad understanding of charity finance issues;
  • Good understanding of charity governance issues.

CLES actively welcome applications from all sections of society. Our aim is to be truly inclusive and we are committed to a culture where diversity is celebrated. We particularly welcome applications from individuals with lived experience of many of the complex challenges that communities face. As women and members of ethnic minority groups are currently under-represented on the CLES Board, we would encourage applications from members of these groups. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Chair of CLES job description

How to apply

To apply please submit a CV and full cover letter to Laura Symonds:

Laura Symonds,Office Manager, CLES, Express Networks, 1 George Leigh Street, Manchester, M4 5DL

T: 0161 236 7036


For an informal and confidential discussion about the post, please contact Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of CLES on 0161 236 7036.

Closing date for applications: Monday 23rd January 2017 

For more information about the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, please visit

CLES is an equal opportunities employer, registered charity number 1089503

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