Lead charity trustees guidance published by The Chartered Governance Institute

London, 5 November 2019 – The Chartered Governance Institute has today published guidance on the role of lead charity trustees in England and Wales. The guidance reaffirms the importance of collective responsibility and highlights certain considerations charities should take into account when appointing a lead trustee. It also provides a specimen lead trustee role description to help charities with effective governance practice in this area.

According to Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit) at The Chartered Governance Institute:

“The charity sector has seen increasing calls for individual trustees on boards to be appointed to lead on specific aspects of a charity’s activities, such as safeguarding, staff welfare, digital or fundraising. Such practice already occurs successfully in other sectors and there is no reason why the practice cannot benefit the charity sector - providing trustees keep in mind the notion of collective responsibility and do not abdicate their legal duties by deferring unquestioningly to the board ‘expert’.

“When considering introducing a lead trustee, the board should have regard to the intended outcomes for the charity; boardroom dynamics and the impact any lead trustee might have on board effectiveness; and how lead trustee(s) will inform and enhance board meetings and decision making. Assessing the ongoing benefits of having a lead trustee in place will also be critical if charities are to effectively ensure that the practice is benefiting them.”

Key considerations include:

  • Benefits and drawbacks
  • Time commitment, skills and experience
  • Training and support
  • Clarity about the purpose of the role
  • Reporting arrangements
  • Decision-making authority
  • Performance reviews.

The guidance is available to download for free at www.icsa.org.uk/knowledge/charity-resources

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For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager:

mbrookes@icsa.org.uk  
+44 (0)20 7612 7072
+44 (0)7890 649 143


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Chartered Governance Institute is the qualifying and membership body for governance with over 125 years’ experience of educating and supporting governance professionals. With a Royal Charter purpose of leading ‘effective and efficient governance and administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’, we provide professional development, guidance and thought leadership, and work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards. Website: www.icsa.org.uk

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