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Legal and regulatory context

Ambitious about Autism (‘The Charity’) is a charitable company limited by a guarantee regulated by the Charity Commission and Companies House. 
Its charitable purpose is ‘to advance the health, education, welfare, and care of those with autism and similar conditions. 

The Charity is governed by a Board of Trustees who are also the Directors and Members of the Company.

Ambitious about Autism has established the Ambitious about Autism Schools Trust (‘The Trust’) to enable the development of The Rise School and further free schools. The Trust is a multi-academy trust, a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity regulated by the Department for Education (DfE). 

The Trust’s charitable purpose is ‘to advance education in particular through alternative and special needs provision’ and is complementary to that of the Charity. 

The Trust is governed by a separate Board of Trustees who are also Directors of the Company. The Trust has five members whose remit is to ensure that the

Trust’s Board of Trustees is effectively discharging its responsibilities. Ambitious about Autism is a corporate member of the Trust, three of its members are Trustees of Ambitious about Autism and one member is the Chair of Governors of the TreeHouse School.


Charity and Trust Board responsibilities 

Each Board of Trustees of the Charity and the Trust is legally responsible for the effective governance of their charities: 

•    developing its mission, vision, and values
•    setting its policy and strategy
•    ensuring the effective management of its resources  
•    ensuring development and delivery of its plans and budgets
•    ensuring effective systems of internal control and risk management
•    appointing or co-opting Trustees  
•    appointing the CEO and supporting and holding them to account
•    ensuring effective stakeholder communication and engagement
•    ensuring good governance
•    ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. 


These arrangements include:

Joint Trustees and Honorary Officers

There are five Trustees on each of the Charity and Trust Boards and three Trustees who are Trustees of both Boards. The three Trustees in common serve as the joint Chair, Vice Chair, and Treasurer of the Charity and the Trust. 


A joint Committee structure

All the Trustees of the Charity and the Trust are members of a Joint Group Board Committee which supports the two Boards of Trustees in ensuring effective oversight of the Charity and the Trust. The Joint Group Board Committee leads in the development of joint strategy, policy, and plans for the approval of each Board, and in overseeing their implementation. It is supported by a number of sub committees:

A Finance and Resources Committee supports in providing effective oversight of the Charity and Trust’s systems of planning, resource management, performance management and reporting, and internal control and risk management.

A Nomination and Remuneration Committee supports in the process of Trustee recruitment, governance review, and development, appointment and performance review of the joint Chief Executive, setting executive pay and staff reward and remuneration strategy and policy.

An Education Committee supports in ensuring effective oversight of the development and delivery of education services and receives reports from individual School/College Governing Bodies.

School/College Governing Bodies support in ensuring pupils/learners achieve excellent progress and in promoting their health, welfare, and safety; ensuring high standards of professional practice; School/College development; compliance with Charity and Trust policies, education legislation and guidance; supporting and holding the Head/Principal to account, and ensuring high standards of governance.

A Charity Investment Sub Committee supports the oversight of investments on behalf of the Charity’s Board of Trustees.

A Trust Audit Committee to direct and oversee the programme of external audit and internal scrutiny on behalf of the Trust’s Board of Trustees.


A joint Executive Leadership Team 

A joint Chief Executive is responsible for the effective management of the Charity and the Trust and is supported by a joint Executive Leadership Team


Ambitious about Autism Youth Council

The Ambitious about Autism Youth Council comprising 15 autistic young people aged 16–25 helps to shape and influence the Charity and Trust’s policy and plans. 


Diagram of our governance arrangements

Diagram of our governance arrangements