Lessons for Charity Trustees
One lesson to have come out of the investigations and coverage into the closure of Kids Company has been that trustees of charities should demonstrate leadership and have a good grasp on matters, particularly financial, that impact on the running of the charity.
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report highlights a number of points which are valuable for all charitable trustees including; leadership, a willingness to challenge assumptions and a knowledge of the area underpinning the charity. Even where trustees delegate their functions to staff and volunteers it is essential that they maintain an understanding of the decisions being made in their name.
Whilst being a trustee, particularly of a charitable organisation, can be a rewarding and prestigious role what is certainly clear from the report is that good intentions alone will not suffice as ultimately it is the trustees who are accountable for the actions of the charity.
Following on from the report the Charity Commission has published a helpful poster for charity trustees to assist them in questioning the finances of their organisation. Whilst this is brief in respect of the guidance on offer it undoubtedly acts as a useful prompt.
If you are considering becoming a trustee of a charity it is important that you consider your obligations and ensure that you have a good understanding of the charity.