Chair of BUCS Board

London (Central)
Expenses paid
30 Apr 2019
30 May 2019
Trustees & Chair
Part Time
Contract Type

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for sport in higher education, and is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. It was formed in 2008 from a merger between British University Sports Association (BUSA) and University College Sport (UCS), and brought together the organisation which provided the competitive structure for university sports with the body which represented the interests of the professionals working in the sector.

The organisation’s strategic focus is to deliver ‘The best university sport experience in the world’. BUCS is a membership organisation, and the current strategy was developed with and by members, for members, covering the full spectrum of higher education sport; from physical activity and social and recreational sport, through to the inter-varsity competitions, leagues and tournaments, up to performance sport.  BUCS is in a strong position to have a significant impact on the delivery of physical activity and sport.  

The recent sport review has meant BUCS is creating a competition offer best suited to members and students to enhance the student sport experience, and ensuring an appropriate level of competition across all sports is accessible for all types of student-athletes.

Sport is increasingly important to HE institutions not only for the student experience, but also in developing a fit and healthy population.  Sport is often shown to be have a positive impact on mental health and well-being, and BUCS research has also demonstrated the employment benefits of participating in sport.

BUCS is currently celebrating the centenary of university sport and will be looking to develop and enhance its strategy from 2021 and beyond.

Whilst these are exciting times for HE sport, there are also challenges to be faced.  Continuing to developing member services and enhance the student experience whilst maintaining financial sustainability will be one of the key challenges the organisation faces in the future.

The current Chair, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, has led the organisation since 2014 and will complete his final term in December 2019.  

The new Chair, who will take up the role in December 2019, will lead the organisation to continue achieving the vision of a world class higher education sport and physical activity experience, creating the most engaged university communities in the world.  BUCS has recently embarked on an ambitious programme of modernising its digital presence to take it forward into the next decade, as well as carrying out a thorough review of all its sporting programmes to ensure value and impact for students and institutions. 


The Chair will provide leadership and direction to the Chief Executive and Board in accordance with the Articles of BUCS.  As BUCS is a registered Charity, as Chair, along with the Board, you will be a trustee and should have particular regard to the duties outlined by the Charity Commission:

  • make sure you are eligible to be a charity trustee
  • ensure the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
  • comply with the charity’s governing document and the law
  • act in the charity’s best interest
  • manage the charity’s resources responsibly
  • act with reasonable care and skill
  • ensure the charity is accountable

The Chair is also primarily responsible for:

  • chairing meetings of the Board;
  • the leadership of the Board, and ensuring its effectiveness on all aspects of its role;
  • chairing general meetings;
  • setting the Board’s agenda and ensuring adequate time is available for discussion of all agenda items;
  • proactively addressing and managing any conflicts of interest;
  • promoting a culture of openness and debate; and
  • ensuring that communications with stakeholders are “effective”.


  • Provide strategic leadership to BUCS and the HE sport sector to deliver the organisation’s strategic vision
  • To lead the organisation through the development of the BUCS Strategy 2021 onwards
  • Provide line management to the CEO including support and constructive challenge
  • Ensure the Executive are delivering against strategic objectives
  • To deliver significantly improved profile to sport as an integral part of the student experience including through strong influencing of Vice Chancellors and University decision makers
  • To lead the organisation to greater national and international public profile, to place HE sport in the public consciousness
  • To ensure membership needs, and the needs of students, are being met by the organisation
  • Maintain a focus on equality and inclusion in all aspects of BUCS work
  • Act as advocate and proponent of HE sport at all times
  • Provide leadership and advice to CEO and staff for the continued development of sustainable funding and commercial income growth, to reduce reliance on membership funding
  • Provide linkages and contacts in government and non-government agencies and organisations, nationally and internationally, for the benefit of members and students in HE sport
  • Continue to improve and strengthen organisational and sector relationships with NGBs, National Sports Councils and other national and international agencies.

Person Specification

  • Be a proven leader, with outstanding business, communication and advocacy skills, with demonstrable skill in influencing and inspiring others at all levels
  • A strong understanding of the national sports landscape in the UK, with particular understanding of HE sport and its structures and challenges
  • A proven leader with strategic insight
  • Significant Board experience in a complex landscape, where partnerships and external relationships are key to delivery
  • A clear understanding of charity and sport sector governance
  • A strong personal commitment to high performing organisations, personal integrity, fairness and equity
  • A strong connection with and understanding of Higher Education and the link between sport and success
  • A collaborative and diplomatic leader
  • Have sufficient time available to commit to the organisation

Term: The position is for a term of 3 years.  At the end of this term the incumbent may wish to offer themselves for a further 3 year term.  The maximum length of service is three terms of 3 years.

An honorarium is available for the role of Chair.  Reasonable expenses related to BUCS business will be reimbursed, in line with BUCS expenses policy.

Time commitment: around 20 days per annum (this includes 4 Board meetings per annum, a Board & Staff Engagement day, BUCS AGM, BUCS Annual Conference, ad hoc meetings, reading time and various professional development and sport events)

Location: BUCS head office is located in Southwark, London and most Board meetings would take place at this location.  Other meetings and events take place around Britain usually at member institutions.

For further information on BUCS, please visit the website at

Should interested parties require further information or wish to speak to the CEO or current Chair, please contact Claire Livesey, Company Secretary, at

Application Process

Candidates should submit a CV and cover letter outlining their skills, experience and suitability for the role to the Company Secretary, Claire Livesey, by email to

As Chair of a charitable organisation certain criteria must be adhered to.  All applicants should ensure they are eligible to serve as a trustee of a charity.

Please provide 2 referees who may be contacted with your permission. This may occur prior to interview, but not without permission of the candidate.

Applications will be assessed against the stated criteria by the Nominations Committee, and a shortlist will be invited for interview.  The proposed interview date is 20 June 2019.  Interviews are likely to be held in central London.

Deadline for applications is Friday 31 May 2019.

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