There was no election for Board directors in 2023 as there were just three candidates for the three places arising from the end of three-year terms. They will serve from 2023 to 2026.

The results are formally announced at the AGM (on 15 July 2023 in London, on 13 July 2024 in Edinburgh) and are available online, which also has results for previous years. Election results are also listed in the first issue of Railwatch following the AGM.

The list of current Board directors is shown in Who's Who.

You can read the Railfuture Election Addresses for previous years:

Elected Positions

There is a maximum of nine elected directors of the company. During the year the Board may co-opt other directors to perform certain roles, but they will only remain in office until the next AGM, and are free to stand for election. The Board has done this in 2017 and 2020.

Each year the directors will appoint from within their number the posts of Chair and Vice-Chair. Individual directors will also take responsibility for national groups e.g. Passenger, Infrastructure, Freight & Logistics, Communications, and for Membership, Governance, Finance and IT, and so on.

Directors are elected for a term of three years (or less if replacing someone who stood down early); three directors retire each year by rotation.

All current Railfuture members, and representative or alternate of each affiliated organisation and corporate body, (i.e. in current subscription) are entitled to vote. Railfuture 'supporters' and 'subscribers' are not entitled to vote.

Appointed Officers

The following officers of the company are appointed by the Board:
  • Company Accountant
  • Company Data Controller
  • Finance Officer (referred to as Treasurer in the Articles of Association)
  • Membership Secretary (New members)
  • Membership Administrator (Renewals)
  • Sales Officer
These officers do not necessarily have to be elected directors, in which case they would report to another specific director. Applications should be sent directly to the chair.

The Board also appoints a Company Secretary, and the Electoral Returning Officer.

Eligibility to Stand as a Director

Anyone who is a fully paid-up individual member (or first named person on a joint membership), regardless of how long they have been a member, is entitled to stand for director. They must be nominated and seconded by a fully paid-up member at the time the nomination is submitted, and to be a director they must meet the criteria set for providing Directors’ Insurance.

The Board of Directors welcome new candidates who will increase the experience and diversity of the board.

The board needs a variety of knowledge, understanding and skills amongst the directors that include company management, project management, finance/accountancy, corporate governance, data protection, legal, human resources, information technology (especially websites and databases), marketing as well as railway matters, both as rail users and professionals working within the rail industry. Directors with a strong understanding of modern high-quality campaigning methods, particularly effective use of social media, would be most useful. It is not necessary for every director to have a deep understanding of the railway, but knowledge of what rail users want is very useful. Basic IT skills such as use of email and video meetings are essential.

If you are interested, please review the Election Addresses at the links above to see where you may be able to fill gaps in the board's experience and skills, then contact one of the of existing directors.

Responsibility of Directors

Although Railfuture exists to campaign for a bigger better railway, the directors’ responsibility is managerial and strategic. Directors are legally required to act in the members' best interests. They are responsible for corporate governance, defining strategy, and setting the policies for the organisation to campaign on. Sound judgement and a vision for the future are vital. The directors manage the company to enable Railfuture volunteers to campaign professionally and effectively for the company’s aims, making available funds available for initiatives which are beneficial to members, properly focused and managed, and value-for-money. It is not the immediate responsibility of the directors to campaign, although many do so within their branch activities.

To retain their position directors must attend at least one Board meeting a year but should aim to attend all three (see below), and undertake tasks in accordance with the Business Plan. Travelling expenses are paid to attend national meetings, although guidelines approved by the Board recommend waiving the first £10 for each meeting.  

In September 2013 the Board decided that in order to maximise transparency all directors will be subject to compulsory disclosure of their expenses and these will be published each year on the website. In March 2014 the Board also adopted a mandatory Code of Conduct for Directors - view here or download here - which is based on the Nolan Committee principles for conduct in public life. Failure to adhere to the code of conduct could lead to a director being removed.

All directors are expected to be active within the Society, such as working with their local branch or leading one of the national groups.

The main officer positions require a considerable amount of time to be dedicated to Railfuture business.

Electoral Returning Officer

Click to view or download the instructions issued by the Board to the Electoral Returning Officer.

Nomination Forms

The two forms to be completed are:

Election Timetable

Nomination forms must be returned by 1 February each year by post or by e-mail. The end date is final and no excuse (such as mail strike) will be accepted. It is strongly recommended that the completed papers are returned earlier so that mistakes can be notified and corrected.

Election ballot papers will be sent out to members in March, usually with the April edition of Railwatch. Completed papers must be received (or votes recorded online) by late April or very early May (as specified on the paper).

Election results will be announced at the AGM, and directors will take up their role immediately, once they have been registered with Companies House.

Prior to the election results being announced at the AGM candidates may withdraw. However, from the point of announcement onwards losing candidates have no automatic right to fill any positions vacated even if one of the successful candidates did not become officially registered as a director or does not complete their full term of office.

The first meeting of the new Board will be in June/July.

Board Meetings

When elected the Companies House form and a Railfuture director’s interests form must be completed. The latter lists anything that could clash with Railfuture’s independence, such as having shares in, or being a director of, a TOC.

The three Board meetings are in June/July, November/December and February/March. All are on Saturdays, usually 13:00-17:00. They are currently held in London or Birmingham, but location is based on what is most convenient for the majority of the nine Board members.

At the June/July Board people are appointed to the national groups, and as formal points of liaison with our 14 branches. The meeting sets the dates for the remainder of the year (the first for the new Board) as it gives new directors a chance to influence the dates.

At the November/December meeting the budget for the next year is agreed. 

At the February/March Board the accounts for the previous year are approved. Directors alone are legally responsible for this.

Attending the Board meeting is the only time that you need to give, other than to read and respond to e-mails of which there are more than quite a few! Obviously you can take part in other activities, according to how much spare time you have. It is good if you can attend the AGM and conferences.

Directors do not represent their local branch – they represent the interests of all members equally and must act in the interests of the membership as a whole at all times.

Further Information

For further information about the election process, please contact the Railfuture Returning Officer, currently Chris Bates, by email: chris.bates at railfuture.org.uk.