Charity Trustee Responsibilities Updated

Most people within the charity sector, in addition to several outside, have been aware that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the National Audit Office (NAO) severely criticised the Charity Commission for England & Wales (CCEW) in 2013. In order to address some of these criticisms, the CCEW has been making changes to the responsibilities of Charity Trustees in order to promote public trust and although there is further work required, the PAC noted that there was ‘good early progress.’ To assist in disseminating the changes, the CCEW is sending it’s newsletter to all trustees for whom they hold a valid email address. Some of the key points include:

charity trustee responsibilitiesCharity Trustee Responsibilities

A number of updates have been made to ‘The Essential Trustee (CC3)’, the most significant of which are around clarification of what the commission expects from trustees. The guidance distinguishes between what trustees ‘must’ do (legal requirements) and what they ‘should’ do (minimum standards of good practice). They wanted to make it more obvious that trustees are expected to comply with specified good practice unless they can specifically justify why they are not e.g. because they are fulfilling the same requirements in a different way.

The Head of Policy at the CCEW, Jane Hobson, described it in a press release: “The changes to our ‘Essential trustee’ guidance aim to make things clearer for trustees, and help them govern their charities better. It’s vital that trustees understand what we expect of them, and the revised guidance provides a clear, succinct and up to date picture. Trustees’ basic legal responsibilities have not changed, nor has our role as regulator. The changes around ‘must’ and ‘should’ shouldn’t affect most charity trustees, who already take their role seriously. It’s a case of trustees understanding that ‘should’ means ‘really should’ – not maybe, if you feel like it.”

The number of bulletins now being produced by the CCEW make it difficult to keep up to date but it is well worth reading the annual report as many of the key areas are summarised. If nothing else, you may learn something from reading about the mistakes of others.

Small Charity Week
Get involved in Small Charity Week! This year Small Charity Week runs 15-20 June 2015. It celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector which makes an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities and causes across the UK and the rest of the world.
There’s a wide range of events going on so check out the website and follow @SCWeek2015 to see how you can get involved.

If you would like us to review your charity’s financial systems or look at your existing governance arrangements please don’t hesitate to contact us: or 01280 818776.


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