How we are governed

RNIB received our Royal Charity in 1949 and is governed by Royal Charter and Bye-Laws, under Royal Charter and Bye-Laws.

RNIB's Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is responsible for taking the major decisions that affect our organisation, including appointing our Chief Executive.

Kevin Carey became Chair of the Board on 23 July 2009 and began a second term of office on 19 July 2012. He is supported by two other Honorary Officers:

  • Derek Child, Vice-Chair (Internal Affairs)
  • Ellie Southwood, Vice Chair (External Affairs)

Association with Action for Blind People

We work in association with Action for Blind People. Including the Honorary Officers, we have 18 trustees. Sixteen of these officers are blind or partially sighted.

Our Trustees are:

  • Kevin Carey (RNIB Group Chair)
  • Derek Child (RNIB Group Vice Chair: Internal Affairs)
  • Ellie Southwood (RNIB Group Vice-Chair: External Affairs)
  • Linda Bancroft
  • Margaret Bennett
  • Heather Giles
  • Tanya Lawler
  • David Quigley
  • Mike Nussbaum (Chair of Action for Blind People)
  • Tony Rucinski (Chair of RNIB Cymru)
  • Ken Reid (Chair of RNIB Scotland)
  • Paul Ryb
  • Mike Townsend
  • Simon Finnie
  • Ian Jentle
  • David Mann (Chair of RNIB Northern Ireland).


RNIB also has a number of committees, including:

  • Executive Committee
  • Governance Committee
  • RNIB Group Audit Committee
  • Country Committees representing RNIB Scotland, Cymru and Northern Ireland.

In addition, there are now a series of "Programme Boards" which have been put in place to support RNIB's strategy.

RNIB consultative bodies

In 2009, we established two consultative bodies: the UK Members' Forum, which is supported by Regional and Country Member Forums; and the Vision 2020 Voluntary Sector Forum.

UK Members' Forum

The UK Members' Forum is for representatives of RNIB members, giving them a direct link to RNIB's most senior governing body. This helps to identify and shape major strategic, policy and service issues. These issues go forward to the Board of Trustees.

Local Member Forums have been set up (nine in England and three in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) to support the UK Members' Forum. This will help members to influence RNIB and provide more local events and interaction between members.

All RNIB members are invited to their nearest forum and each forums is represented on the UK Members Forum.

Vision 2020 Voluntary Sector Forum

The Vision 2020 Voluntary Sector Forum is part of Vision 2020 UK. It enables the national organisations of and for blind and partially sighted people to come together as equal partners to talk about issues of importance, including how organisations are contributing to the development of the UK Vision Strategy.

Our royal patron, President and Vice Presidents

Our patron is HM The Queen and our President is Dame Gail Ronson DBE, who is the first female President and only the ninth in RNIB's history.

Dame Gail has a wealth of experience in the charitable world and this, coupled with her boundless energy and enthusiasm, makes it extremely exciting for us to have her as our President.

RNIB Vice Presidents

Our Vice Presidents, who have made a significant contribution to the work of RNIB, are:

  • Sir John Beckwith CBE
  • The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP
  • Richard Brewster
  • Professor Ian Bruce CBE
  • Jeremy Bull
  • Haruhisa Handa
  • Euclid Herie
  • Lady Joan Jarvis
  • Lord Colin Low of Dalston CBE
  • Penny Lancaster-Stewart
  • Sir Mike Rake
  • Dr Dermot Smurfit
  • Rod Stewart CBE
  • The Rt Hon Earl of Stockton
  • Sir Duncan Watson
  • Trevor Pears CMG.

Enquiries about governance and membership

For general queries on governance please email or call 020 7391 2359.

To find out how to get involved in your local member forum or to become a member contact or phone: 0303 1234 555.

Donate now

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most. Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

Donate now