17 July 2015
The Charity Commission (CC) has updated its guidance for trustees detailing their responsibilities.
The updated guidance explains their responsibilities and what the regulator expects from them in a format that makes it easier to understand and apply. The updates were made following a period of consultation in autumn 2014.
The ‘Essential trustee’ guidance breaks down the role of the trustee into six clear duties: ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit; comply with your charity’s governing document and the law; act in your charity’s best interests; manage your charity’s resources responsibly; act with reasonable care and skill; and ensure your charity is accountable.
According to the CC, the new version aims to make it easier for trustees to understand their key legal duties and avoid many of the basic errors that often lead to serious problems. The guidance is clearer, shorter, includes links to other guidance, and sets out lessons from the commission’s work.
The guidance also comes with an at-a-glance summary for trustees.
The new essential trustee guide aims to help trustees to be confident about fulfilling their responsibilities as a trustee, and is designed to help trustees make decisions as a team. But for those trustees who don’t take their legal duties seriously enough, the guidance is the standard against which they will be measured, the CC adds.
William Shawcross, Chairman of the CC said: ‘Trustees are the backbone of charities; without their tireless efforts many organisations would not achieve all that they do. We want trustees to feel confident in knowing what their duties are and empowered to carry them out.
‘I hope this new clearer guidance will help them do just that. I encourage all trustees to read it, all prospective trustees to read it and for the charity sector itself to join us in promoting this as far and as wide as possible, because it is in all our interests that trustees understand their roles better.’