Responsibilities of Charity Trustees


Earlier this month the Charity Commission released a report into one of our much loved local charities. They were responding to three allegations of a lack of oversight by the trustees of the charity.

The Charity Commission found that there was a failure to plan and to make adequate risk assessment in relation to an event which led to significant losses. There was also a loan to a senior employee which was not approved by the whole board of trustees in advance. In addition, they found that the trustees did not exercise sufficient control over the CEO in relation to the issues assessed.

As a result an action plan has been issued to improve governance via a policy of trustee training, review of risk management procedures as well as updating certain procedures and controls.

Interestingly, the report says that at the time the trustees felt that they were appropriately overseeing the event mentioned and were acting in the best interest of the charity in relation to the loan. We heard at the beginning of August about the collapse of a very well known children’s charity which was also subject to criticism over the sufficiency of governance and controls and these are not the only publicised cases.

There is a lot of guidance available on governance, control and risk assessment but there are no rules as such and each charity is different so what is sufficient for one charity may not be sufficient for another.

To help our charity trustee contacts we have been hosting events considering the risks that charities face and some of the remedies that may assist in risk management. Our last session was run on 22nd July 2015 and the next one will be on 30th September 2015 at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club in Meriden.

If you would like to attend a seminar or discuss trustee training with us please contact Sarah Flint, Associate, Corporate & Specialist Services on 0845 177 5500, by email or use our on-line contact form

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