Parkinson’s UK has begun the search for the charity’s first general counsel and company secretary to support planned growth and strategic development.

The new GC will have a senior role within the charity and report directly to Parkinson’s UK CEO Steve Ford, its chair Mark Goodridge along with the other 10 members on the board of trustees.

The new GC will also be responsible for a three-strong team, including the assistant company secretary and their team of two governance coordinators.

Parkinson’s UK director of organisational development Carolyn Nutkins said: ” The General Counsel will be key to helping us deliver our plans to develop ground-breaking partnerships with leading research organisations, academic institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

“The new role also reflects important changes in the charity sector, including GDPR, to help us ensure we are working efficiently and effectively.”

Parkinson’s UK recently closed its applications for the role of assistant company secretary and expects to appoint a candidate in the near future.

The GC will be focused on company, commercial, IP, data protection and charity law. The role will focus mainly on corporate transactional and commercial matters in the charity.

Mental health charities have been slow in their uptake of legal heads. However last year, Siemens general counsel and company secretary Claire Carless joined St Andrew’s Healthcare. She was tasked with looking to expand its services and mental healthcare provisions.

Nutkins said: “It is a really exciting time for the charity. As we reach a tipping point to find better treatments for Parkinson’s, the General Counsel will play a vital role to help us improve the lives of the 127,000 people affected by Parkinson’s in the UK.”

At present, the charity is the largest funder of research into Parkinson’s disease in Europe, employing more then 480 staff with an annual budget of £37m for 2017.

The charity was founded in February 1969 by Mali Jenkins and currently counts actress Jane Asher, whose brother-in-law was diagnosed with parkinson’s, as its president.

Parkinson’s UK was approached for comment.