Grant Committee member with expertise in Digital Technology and Accountability

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Location N/A

Position Part time

Salary 0

Application deadline 19 April 2021
The application deadline for this role has passed



The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) wishes to appoint a co-opted member to join its Power and Accountability Committee from September 2021. The Committee is looking in particular for someone with experience of the interplay between digital technology and issues of power and accountability.

Under the Power and Accountability programme, the Trust makes grants to support groups working to strengthen corporate accountability, democratic accountability and responsible media, and currently also to support responses to COVID-19 and structural racism. This voluntary role is an opportunity to inform the decision making of one of the main UK funders on issues of accountability.  

JRCT is an endowed, charitable Quaker foundation based in York, England. The Power and Accountability Committee currently comprises four members of JRCT’s board of trustees, together with three co-opted members, supported by two staff. Further information on the history, structure and work of the Trust can be found on our website.

The Trust’s Power and Accountability Programme is working towards a vision of a world in which power is more equally shared, and in which powerful institutions are more responsive and accountable to wider society and more aligned with the long-term public interest.

JRCT is a responsive grant maker and we seek to support a variety of approaches that support systemic change from groups with ideas, expertise and passion across our broad programme areas. The programme mainly funds work in the UK, with a small number of grants for wider pan-European work. For details on the work we fund see our grants policy for the programme.


The role of a co-opted member is to complement the trustees’ grant-making knowledge with expertise in digital technology. This is a cross cutting area of interest which has relevance for all of our funding themes.  Co-optees contribute to reflections on the context within which we make our grants and advise on which new applications to support as well as other issues that arise in our work. We are looking for someone with knowledge of the policy landscape and current challenges and opportunities and an awareness of organisations working in the field. For current work areas, please read our grants policy. To see the organisations we fund, have a look at our recent grant awards.

The main work of the committee is assessing grant applications. Co-opted members are fully involved in this process, which includes reading and commenting on proposals, and contributing at the committee meetings, as well as sometimes meeting with applicants. Overall, the role requires a total commitment of around six days per year as outlined below, including three days for committee meetings, two days for meeting with applicants, plus some additional time for reading and commenting on applications.

The committee usually meets three times a year, typically in February, June and October. These meetings are usually in central London, and typically run from 11.00 to 15.00, although during the pandemic we are holding meetings over zoom. Co-optees also participate in assessment meetings with applicants.  This commitment is variable, but typically might require one or two days during the year, usually in London, although, again these meetings are currently held via zoom. 

The appointment would be for three years in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal for a further period of three years.

This is a voluntary role, but all reasonable expenses are paid - including travel, accommodation and childcare if required. We will also meet claims towards loss of earnings incurred as a result of working for the Trust if applicable. We want to ensure financial concerns are not an obstacle to committee membership, so if you are interested in the role but have any financial concerns that would deter you, please don’t hesitate to speak to us. 


The committee is seeking an individual who will be able to contribute effectively to the full range of the committee’s work, offering particular expertise on the implications of the growth in digital technology for issues of democratic and/or corporate accountability and responsible media. 

For example, this could include expertise in how digital technology is being used to enhance or undermine democratic processes, including elections, approaches to improve accountability and transparency of tech companies/ digital platforms and developing responses to issues of online hate and digital rights or misinformation.

Relevant work that we fund currently includes: provision of digital platforms to support public engagement with democracy, legal scrutiny of the use of algorithms in public sector decision making, and action to address online hate on social media.

The successful candidate is likely to have direct experience of working in the tech sector, either through working in a corporate setting or start up enterprise, or in an NGO or activist role to support systems change. We are looking for someone who has a good understanding of mechanisms for improving accountability in relation to the growth of digital technology and its impact on people’s daily lives.

Co-optees are expected to have some knowledge of the voluntary sector, but could themselves be working in, or have a background in, any sector. Experience of grant-making is desirable but not essential.

We aim to ensure the committee is as diverse as possible, including men and women, younger as well as older people and people from Black and minority ethnic communities.

Co-optees should be in sympathy with the Quaker values of the Trust, which include a commitment to equality and the unique worth of every individual, to nonviolence, and to honesty and integrity. JRCT welcomes applications from people of any faith or none.

Please note

JRCT operates a conflict of interest policy in respect of all its programme areas. Applicants are requested to fully disclose professional associations with any former or current JRCT grantees. Ideally, we prefer to appoint individuals who are not directly involved in organisations that currently receive funding or are likely to seek funding from the Trust.

To apply

To express an interest

If you would like an informal discussion about the role, please contact Katharine Knox on to arrange a call.

To apply, please send us:                                                   

  • Your contact details, including e-mail address
  • A statement, of not more than 750 words, describing what you would bring to the role
  • A current CV.

Please send us this information by e-mail to:

The closing date for receipt of applications is Monday 19 April 2021. All applications will be acknowledged. If we are interested in appointing you, we will arrange a video (zoom) call to discuss this further, provisionally on Thursday 29 April – please keep this date free if possible. 

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