Our board of trustees

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Our trustees come from all walks of life and all parts of the UK. Elected by our members, they have a wide range of skills and talents, enabling them to manage The Fostering Network effectively. They are all passionate about improving foster care for children and young people in the UK, and about the role of The Fostering Network in achieving this.

Trustees are custodians of an organisation and govern its strategic direction. Our elected trustees are passionate about making a difference and improving foster care for children and young people in the UK, and they bring skills and experience which enable them to govern a successful charity and democratic membership organisation like The Fostering Network. With a turnover of more than £7 million per year, more than 100 staff and tens of thousands of members, the organisation needs business brains and strategic thinkers on its board.

What is expected of trustees

Trustees are elected for a five-year term, and are expected to attend four board meetings in London each year. In addition, each trustee sits on one of two sub-committees of the board, which each meet quarterly in London. Board-related expenses are paid. Trustees also support staff by attending a range of other events.

In addition to using their skills and experience to help guide and shape the direction of the organisation, being a trustee can also bring personal and professional benefits. These include learning about the management and strategic decision making of a charity, working with a diverse group of people with the same common goal, enhanced employability and the satisfaction of ensuring that The Fostering Network is making the biggest possible difference for foster carers and fostered children.

Trustee elections 2018

Nominations are open from 31 July for the 2018 election to The Fostering Network’s board of trustees, and will close at 5pm on Friday 28 September 2018.

There are currently two vacancies, at least one of which must be filled by a candidate who fosters or works for a member fostering service or is a member of an affiliated group in Wales. We are particularly looking for trustees who are strategic thinkers with senior commercial management, financial, marketing or high-level fundraising skills, experience and connections.

Anyone standing for election must be a member of The Fostering Network, either as an individual foster carer or an employee of an organisational member, or a member of an affiliated organisation. The successful candidates will be announced as new trustees at the annual general meeting towards the end of the year.

To stand for election as a trustee, you need to complete and return a nomination form. You can download the nomination form to complete it; all forms must be printed out and returned by post with original signatures. If you would like to be sent a hard copy of the form to complete or have any other queries, contact pa@fostering.net or call 020 7620 6433.

Download a nomination form

Our current trustees

Nigel McCartney (chair) Nigel fosters with his wife and two children. The family has experience of autism and cerebral palsy in school aged children.
Nigel has run his own technology company since 1991 and has 15 years’ experience as a school governor.

Janet Smith (vice chair)

Janet was brought up in a fostering family and worked as a social worker for a number of different Scottish local authorities and a voluntary adoption agency from 1974 until 2015. Janet took up the role of chair of the Scottish advisory committee of The Fostering Network in October 2015.

Mervyn Erskine (treasurer)

Mervyn has been a foster carer since 2001, and recently retired as director of a large computing services company. He and his wife have fostered more than 50 children.

Lynn Ashburner

Lynn is a respite foster carer, and a retired business school research academic and management consultant in the public sector.  She has experience at board level as a non-executive in the NHS and as a school governor.  She has also been a fundraiser for a children's charity and worked as a play volunteer in a children's hospice.

Julie Barclay-Clark 

Julie has fostered since 2009 with her family specialising in working with children with special needs. She has previously been a trustee for Children 1st - West Berkshire and holds a first class honours degree in Business Management and Marketing.

Susanna Daus  Susanna has specialised in fostering and adoption since the 1980s, and is now a senior manager in a local authority. Susanna was elected chair of the board of trustees in December 2015.
Gregory De Smidt

Gregory is registered manager for a small independent fostering provider with a good knowledge of service delivery in the UK. Gregory has delivered The Skills to Foster training for a number of years and has experience of providing respite care.

Ian Dixon

Ian is an independent fostering consultant. He has more than 31 years of social work experience, in both the public and private sector.

Daisy-May James

Daisy-May is a social worker who fostered for many years. She brings valuable insight, knowledge and understanding from her role as a social worker and foster carer.

Gary Pickles 

Gary is an experienced social worker who is currently director of Raising Aspirations which campaigns to raise the profile of the foster carer. He has been a supported lodging provider and was a member of The Fostering Network Mockingbird Family Model project board.