Volunteers – charity trustees meeting in the ‘new normal’
Our charity trustees met for their quarterly board meeting by video conference on Tuesday night, the ‘new normal’ way to meet during Covid-19, and we send a warm welcome to our newly elected Chair of the charity trustees, Martin Hurst. The role of the trustees is to ensure that our charity is well-governed, and that we are fulfilling our charitable purpose in the best possible way.
The Charity Commission lays out a comprehensive set of responsibilities in its publications laid out around these 6 pillars.
- Charity Trustees must ensure that everything they do helps to achieve the purpose for which the charity is established. This requires trustees to have an understanding of the charity’s purposes as set out in the governing document, what the charity intends to achieve and how its activities will support its purposes and how this benefits the public.
- Charity Trustees must comply with the charity’s governing document and the law. This requires a proper understanding of the governing document and the provisions that are set out in it and an understanding of charity law and other laws applicable to the charity. If necessary, the trustees will need to take advice.
- Charity Trustees must act in the charity’s best interests. This entails making decisions in the best interests of the charity and ensuring that there is no conflict with any personal interest or any other entity the trustee may be involved with. The trustee may not receive any benefit from the charity unless authorised to do so in its governing document.
- Charity Trustees must manage the charity’s resources responsibly and must act in a prudent manner so that the assets of the charity are used solely for the fulfilment of the charity’s purposes, risks are not taken and when making investment decisions on behalf of the charity either in relation to funds or land, appropriate advice is taken.
- A Charity Trustee must act with reasonable care and skill and take advice when necessary. Reasonable in the circumstances depends on any special knowledge or expertise of the trustee and whether the trustee is a professional trustee or paid. Trustees should recognise when they should take specialist advice.
- Charity Trustees must ensure the charity is accountable and complies with all statutory accounting and reporting requirements. Trustees need to be aware that the Charity Commission requirements on the production of accounts vary depending on the type of charity and the levels of income and that failure to submit accounts to the charity commission is a criminal offence.
All charity trustees are volunteers
It’s a responsible job, but one that brings a lot of satisfaction, can encourage corporate social responsibility and is a way for many to both learn new skills and offer skills from their own portfolio. The trustee board at Zetetick housing are all volunteers and give up their time and hard work because they want to contribute to something they care about. They have a wide range of experience in business, charity, housing, finance, social care, learning disability, autism and mental health, and their leadership is vital to our success. Without charity trustees our charity couldn’t carry on, so thank you for all your efforts.