Join the Opus ‘Heart’ Board!

Opus would like to ask you to join its ‘Heart’ board, one of three newly-created boards which will steer the future direction of our work in Sheffield and beyond. We believe your skills and experience would be an asset to Opus on this journey.

To apply: Please send an expression of interest detailing why you would like to join the Heart Board and why you think you would be right for the role to by Friday 18th September 2020. Interviews will take place w/c Monday 21st September.

We want to recruit to this board specifically because we’re changing our business model due to Covid-19 and the long-terms effects of this on the arts and culture sector. This is therefore a particularly exciting and challenging time for the team and the members of this board will be essential in navigating the company’s way forward.


Sheffield-based social enterprise Opus Independents Ltd (a company limited by guarantee) recently made the decision to widen its membership, keeping in mind its ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet and profit.

In November 2018, Opus members voted unanimously to create three classes of member to sit on three distinct boards:

  • The Hand board, made up of current employees who have been in post for at least six months – including the company’s directors (management board), who have no special status or additional voting powers.
  • The Heart board, made up of former employees, supporters, stakeholders, friends and advocates of the company.
  • The Head board, made up of experienced professionals with expertise in relevant fields.


The Heart board is responsible for ensuring that Opus operates true to its social mission and its stated company values. Members will guide and advise the company on its current portfolio of projects and help formulate new areas of work.

It is a group of people who are passionate and enthusiastic about Opus’ core values and who are committed to supporting the company’s many projects. The Heart board must operate independently and hold the directors to account but may contain stakeholders, partners, audiences, participants, volunteers and former employees. The Heart board should offer a deep understanding of why Opus exists and where it came from, challenging it to innovate and taking a ‘big picture’ view of the social objectives of its projects, partnerships and collaborations.

Through its interactions with the Hand and Head boards – which are responsible for maintaining day-to-day operations and providing expertise and scrutiny, respectively – the Heart board is a crucial element of the company’s governance, acting as the ‘angel on its shoulder’. The Heart board should be representative of the communities in Sheffield and or the social mission that Opus is dedicated to achieving.

Person Specification

  • Individuals must share the company’s core values.
  • Individuals must engage regularly with the company’s outputs, be it through reading the magazine or attending events.
  • Although we don’t expect all individuals to be experts, individuals must have a commitment to learning about best practice in the sectors Opus operates in; including ethical and social business practice, project management, arts, community engagement, participatory decision-making and activism.
  • Individuals are active professionally or personally in areas such as local communities, independent trade, activism, the arts and journalism.
  • Individuals must have a working knowledge of Sheffield and other like-minded organisations in the UK and beyond.


The remit of the Heart board is to help define and ultimately enforce the core values of Opus, applying its knowledge of the company and its objectives to decision-making in a way which keeps the company on track.

While the Heart board is encouraged to scrutinise finances, for example, its core responsibility is to act as the conscience of Opus, question anything that falls outside the company’s ethical framework, and re-focus and re-emphasise the importance of its social aims when required.

Areas for discussion at Heart board meetings may include, but will not be limited to: Opus values (enforcement and any suggested changes), staff wellbeing, new projects, new partnerships and collaborations, suggested systems changes, public and stakeholder engagement, key social issues and their connection to Opus, concerns around the conduct of Opus, and the Friends of Opus scheme (public supporter subscription).

The agenda for Heart board meetings will be set by the Chair, with the following guidance regarding discussion points:

  • The decision or issue relates directly to the upholding of, or suggested amendment of company values.
  • The decision or issue affects the experience of, or involvement in, the Friends of Opus scheme.
  • The decision or issue has been prompted by feedback from members of the Friends of Opus scheme or other company stakeholders.
  • the Heart board.
  • The decision or issue will be discussed at the Opus AGM.

The Role

Being part of the Heart board involves:

  • Attending 4 meetings per year, plus the Opus AGM.
  • Advocating for Opus to external organisations and individuals and flagging up potential opportunities for the company.
  • Maintaining a good working knowledge of the organisation by attending its events and keeping up to speed with its output.
  • Meeting other Heart board members outside quarterly meetings as part of a working group formed around a specific area of work (where appropriate).
  • Being able to contribute up to 7 hours per month in order to contribute to working groups or problem solve issues that have arisen in board meetings.

Being a member of the Heart board is:

  • A voluntary position, although reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.
  • A legal responsibility, in that all members are joint owners of the company but not a director or registered on Companies House.

Vote Weighting

The Heart board is not an advisory board, because its members have binding votes on key decisions. But while Opus members of all three classes have a vote, votes are ‘weighted’ as follows:

  • Hand board – 60%
  • Heart board – 20%
  • Head board – 20%

This decision was taken to ensure that Opus is fundamentally a ‘worker-controlled’ company. This means that if current employees (the Hand board) vote unanimously in favour of a motion, it will always pass.

Opus members will review this vote weighting system at the 2019 and 2020 AGMs.

About Opus

Opus Independents is a not-for-profit, independent organisation based in Sheffield, working in culture, politics and the arts to encourage and support participation, activism and creativity.

Opus has become one of the most high-profile arts and culture organisations in the city. The company is a unique local organisation with a large portfolio that spans many areas of work.

This is a great opportunity to become part of an organisation that runs over 100 events a year, reaches hundreds of thousands of people across the region and is dedicated to maximising the social impact of its work.

Opus currently has 14 members of staff, 6 full-time and 8 part-time, working out of its office space on Hill St, off Bramall Lane. Current Opus projects include Now Then Magazine, Festival of Debate, Opus Distribution and Wordlife.


Leave a Reply