Charity Commission issues guidance pack for novice trustees

The Charity Commission has created a welcome pack for the more than 100,000 charity trustees who take up positions each year, focusing on the main duties of the role and governance responsibilities

The pack provides essential information to help trustees of newly registered charities or existing established charities to understand governance basics, financial filing requirements and how the Charity Commission can offer support. It also suggests practical steps that can be taken to carry out trustee duties effectively.

From 30 April, the pack will be emailed to all new trustees who register their email address with the Charity Commission. Existing online charity accounts can be amended to add additional trustee email addresses and information.

This guide will be emailed to all new trustees to introduce them to the role so that they have a basic understanding of their duties and responsibilities. 

In addition to practical advice, it stresses the importance of meeting the three mandatory filing requirements each year. These include:

  • charity register details must be up-to-date at all times. These include details of trustees, the charity name and the contact. If there are inaccuracies the charity contact must let the Commission know. This information is public and can be a valuable tool for presenting information about the charity. Use the Commission’s charity details service to update your information
  • annual return - all charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs), must send an annual return. All other charities must do so if their income is over £10,000; below this figure charities should use the annual return to update their income and expenditure details on the register
  • accounts - there are different accounts filing requirements for different types of charities. All CIOs must send the Commission their accounts and trustees’ annual report. Any other charity must do so if its yearly income is over £25,000 and all other registered charities must have their accounts available to send to us or anyone else on request.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive at the Charity Commission said: ‘As a trustee you will be able to use your skills and experience, and have a direct influence over a cause you care about.

‘It is a rewarding role, but there are responsibilities meaning you will need to give up enough time to help your charity succeed. You should use your first six months to really get to understand your role and responsibilities. This short guide tells you what to expect in your first year and where you can get more detailed advice.

‘Charities have a special place in our society because they are committed to helping others. This creates a level of trust from the public that we must protect. You will need to help run an effective charity that shows how it operates for the good of others.’

The content of the welcome pack was tested with stakeholders from across the charity sector and will also be publically available on the Commission’s website to use as refresher training.

Charity Commission charity trustee welcome pack issued 30 April 2018

Report by Sara White


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