Roles and resources

One of the key factors for success in the start up process is being clear on who does what, and why they are doing it. This sheet identifies the main roles, and also summarises the funds and other resources likely to be needed.


Trusts may start 'bottom up' or 'top down': the idea may stem from a group of local residents looking for a means to tackle problems beyond the scope of existing groups, or a council officer or member looking for more resources or partners in the private sector or local community. Whatever the starting point, a few individuals will play key roles.

In the early stages those roles may not be clear, but this list should help clarify who best does what as the process evolves. Headings are given later for the financial and other resources likely to be needed.

In all cases it is important that those involved are honest about their motives and competences. Don't be afraid to ask: 'What's in it for them?' and 'What do they have to offer?' Try and identify the personal outcomes people are after, and work out ways in which they dovetail rather than conflict.

The information sheet on
Guidelines and principles should help clarify some of the issues.

The initial champion

Wherever the suggestion for a Trust starts, someone must carry the idea forward with enthusiasm. Useful qualities are:

This role is generally not easy for a consultant or anyone obviously looking to create a job for themselves, because their motives are likely to be questioned by the others they are seeking to involve. The champion may be an organisation - perhaps a council or quango - but in practice it is still important that one individual can carry the idea through the early stages.

Steering group members

The initial champion will rapidly need to bring together a steering group more representative of local interests, with contacts and skills. This group may change and expand its membership during the process, and will eventually give way to the Board of the Trust.

Ideally the group should 'shadow' the mix of representation likely on the Board.

If a Trust is sponsored 'top down' the initial group may be officials, but they should rapidly move to the role of advisers. They will not, generally, be Board members and the longer they take a central role the less likely others are to take ownership of the Trust idea.

Useful qualities in steering group members are as for the initial champion, plus:

Consultants and potential employees of the Trust should not be members of the steering group, but rather act as advisers. This establishes the division between policy and implementation which will operate when the Trust is established with Board and staff.

Main sponsors and/or funders

A Trust may cost £10-£20,000 to set up, and more than £70,000 a year to run. An early task for the steering group is to fundraise for the setting up costs - unless they have them - and prepare a bid document to funders for longer-term core costs.

If the process is 'top down' the sponsors and funders may be among the initial champions and steering group.

It is important that sponsors and funders are clear from the outset on their stance and principles, including:

One way to help clarify the outcomes funders or sponsors are looking for would be to try and fill out the case study format for the Trust as they would like it to be in, say, five years time. See the Case study and Vision sheets.

Development officer

During the setting up process someone must do the substantial amount of day-to-day work and act as development officer. This role is described in detail on the Development officer and Feasibility study sheets. It should be filled by someone operating locally and responsible to the steering group. Among the tasks they will undertake are:

This is one of the most difficult roles because of the temporary nature of the position and the range of skills required. It may be filled by someone from a sponsoring organisation, supported by consultants. Although tasks may be shared, it is important that one person has ultimate responsibility to pull the many strands together.

Consultants and advisers

These may include:

In each case prepare clear briefs and contracts or agreements.

The nature of roles will be substantially influenced by the resources available for the process. Some 'bottom up' Trusts have been started by a steering group sharing most of the tasks among themselves on a voluntary basis. Others have been started by sponsors who use consultants and make an early appointment of an executive director to undertake development work. In general the process seems most successful if:


Anyone starting a small business would expect to invest substantial time and money in market research, marketing, establishing the company and developing first products or services. The same should apply to a Development Trust if it is to be successful.

The cost in money terms will depend on how far those involved invest the equivalent of 'sweat equity' and how far they have to buy in help.

As with a small business, the first money is the most difficult. Funders will want to see a clear vision of what the Trust will do, and support from local interests - but these are just what the first investment of time and money will develop. For that reason it is important to present your ideas effectively, with good materials. The budgets likely to be needed are:

Communication materials

At first you will be able to get by with a few A4 sheets. Later you may require some or all of the following materials:

If you can raise the funds it is worth briefing a good graphic designer and writer/researcher to help develop material - it will pay off in local credibility and fund-raising. Costs may range from a a few hundred pounds for DIY materials to several thousand using professional designers and writers.

Development officer and offices

The post is likely to require at least two days work a week, with a budget for temporary premises and equipment. If fully costed this might amount to £6-7000.


Events are likely to include:

Costs will depend on how much assistance you have to buy in, but could be £2-5000 if fully costed.

Legal costs

Fees for advice from a solicitor on the constitution and incorporation of the company could be £1000 - more if you have to negotiate a lease on premises.

Staff recruitment

Allow for advertising and other expenses.

Consultancy and training

This might include:

Costs will depend on specific circumstances, but could total several thousand pounds.

Office and equipment

Core costs will depend on whether you have to rent an office and buy equipment, or can share space in the early days.

© David Wilcox Tel +44 (0)1273 677377. Fax: +44 (0)1273 677379. These information sheets may be freely distributed with this attribution, but not republished as a whole.
Partnerships Online : The Guide to Development Trusts and Partnerships: other sheets