This week is the annual celebration of trustees. Here at Peace Partners the trustees play an important role and make an incredible difference at board level, working together to make important decisions on strategic development. We are looking for a Trustee with a focus on fundraising. If your interested please find more details here.
What does it take to be a Trustee? Listen below.
We are delighted to welcome Didge Hatcher as a new member of the trustee team, who felt compelled to find out more about the role and discovered the following:
Didge says: "I have been involved with various charities over the years but have never really known what Trustees actually do, apart from being very trustworthy! So ‘Trustee Week’ seemed a good opportunity to find out more and maybe dispel a few myths. As well as the duties outlined here trustees often have specialist skills which can contribute to the success of the charity i.e. financial, administration etc. The full article can be found here.
As part of Trustees’ Week 2017 new research was published about charity trustees in England and Wales. Find out more about Taken on Trust research on GOV.UK
There are approximately 196,000 charities in the UK: 167,000 charities in England and Wales, 24,000 in Scotland 5,000 registered in Northern Ireland. Just over 1 million trustees of which some 850,000 are in England and Wales, 180,000 in Scotland and 30,000 in Northern Ireland.
From recent research it is known that just under half the UK’s trustees are women. The average trustee in England and Wales is 59 years old. There are also many young trustees with some 86,000 trustee positions held by 16 to 34 year olds of which 2,611 are in Northern Ireland.
Trustees are responsible for a charity’s management and administration and are guided by the six legal duties which apply to trustees of any charity in England and Wales.
The six duties are as follows:
1. To ensure the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit The Charity Commission says that trustees must ensure the charity is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up and for no other purpose. This means they should understand the purposes of their charity, plan what the charity will do and set goals, be able to explain how the charity’s activities can further it’s purposes and understand how the charity can benefit the public by carrying out it’s purposes.
2. To comply with the charity’s governing document and the lawTrustees must ensure the charity complies with it’s governing document and charity law requirements, including reporting and accounting and any other laws that apply to the organisation. Trustees are expected to take reasonable steps to find out about legal requirements and seek appropriate professional advice when needed.
3. To act in the charity’s best interestsTrustees must do what they decide will best enable the charity to carry out its purposes and make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term. They should also avoid putting themselves in a position where their duty to the charity conflicts with personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body. Nor should they receive any benefit from the charity unless it is properly authorised and is clearly in the charity’s interests, this includes anyone financially connected to the trustee, such as a partner, dependent child or business partner.
4. To manage your charity’s resources responsiblyTrustees must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly, they must make sure the charity’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes and avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk. They should take special care when investing or borrowing and not over commit. They should ensure that they comply with any restrictions on spending funds or selling land.
5. To act with reasonable care and skillTrustees are responsible for governing a charity and so must use reasonable care and skill, taking appropriate advice when necessary. They should also give enough time, thought and energy to the role.
6. To ensure the charity is accountableTrustees must comply with statutory accounting and reporting requirements. They should also be able to demonstrate that the charity is complying with the law, well-run and effective. Accountability should be demonstrated within the charity, particularly where responsibility has been delegated to volunteers."
Meet the Peace Partners trustees and team here.
GOV.UK / Charity Commission for England and Wales: The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do (CC3) (2015)
Knowhow Nonprofit: Legal duties of trustees (2017)
The Guardian: What every new trustee of a charity must know, by Ian Joseph (2011)
Article by Didge Hatcher.