Charity trustee competence matrix

Recent charity scandals have reinforced the urgent need for trustees to understand their role and duties and to perform them effectively. As trustees are responsible for the general control and direction of a charity it is important they are able to execute sufficient oversight over senior staff (where applicable) to ensure not just that legal requirements are met but that the charity’s culture and values are embedded throughout. Given that trustees are generally unpaid and have limited time to give to the role, it is essential that the board has the appropriate mix of skills, experience, knowledge and attributes to deliver good governance for the charity and its beneficiaries. 

To assist charity trustees in navigating the governance arena, ICSA has developed this competence matrix. The matrix highlights factors that would indicate the competency of individual trustees, and boards collectively, highlighting what a trustee and boards should be able to demonstrate. It covers minimum legal requirements alongside suggestions as to what would make a board more effective in helping the charity achieve its objectives.

The matrix therefore provides a useful opportunity to discuss the collective strengths of the board and to identify areas where additional time, reading, support and training is required to enable the trustee body to be as effective as possible in leading and controlling its charity for the benefit of the community it seeks to assist.

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