Theresa Mills
Associate Solicitor
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Date Published:21 Aug 2017 Last Updated:23 Oct 2021

Should I become a Charity Trustee?

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Being a charity trustee can be really rewarding and a great way to meet amazing people.

If you are, or are considering becoming, a charity trustee however, it is important that you are eligible and familiar with your obligations.

A trustee of a charity must:

  • Be 18 (or 16 in respects of some Charitable Incorporated Organisations and companies)
  • Not have an unspent conviction for a dishonesty or deception offence
  • Not be bankrupt or subject to an IVA
  • Not have been removed as a company director for wrongdoing.

The Charity Commission are the regulatory body for charities in England and Wales and they helpfully publish guidance to assist trustees

They set out the 6 main duties of a charity trustee as follows:

  1. Ensure the charity is acting for the public benefit
  2. Comply with the law and the charity’s governing documents
  3. Always act in the best interests of the charity
  4. Responsibly manage charity’s resources
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill
  6. Be accountable and meet with reporting requirements

Any decision a charitable trustee makes should be made with these 6 principles in mind and therefore it is important that trustees take an active rather than passive role within a charity.

From my personal experience as a charity trustee, I would encourage trustees to be as active as possible within their charity not only to comply with your trustee duties and to better understand the true impact and benefit that the charity provides but also because it can be a really rewarding experience.

Even the most well intentioned trustee may want assistance with maintaining documents, meeting reporting requirements and
keeping up to date on charities law. If you would like advice on any aspect of being a trustee please contact a member of our charities team on 01202 525333