‘Here to help’: Commission launches new push on trustee guides as sector faces challenging year
The Charity Commission is launching the next stage of its campaign to raise awareness of core trustee duties and guidance available as the sector faces challenges ahead.
Today (2nd February 2023), the Charity Commission is launching the next stage of its campaign to raise awareness of core trustee duties and the guidance available to charities.
The Commission has developed a collection of short and engaging guidance on issues ranging from safeguarding people to managing conflicts of interest. Dubbed the ‘5-Minute Guides’, the collection serves as a basic toolkit for trustees who are managing the many demands of running a charity.
The latest phase of the campaign, running from 2nd February to 16th March, aims to raise awareness of, and boost use of, the 5-minute guides. The regulator hopes this will increase knowledge and understanding of essential trustee duties. This comes as charities face additional challenges due to cost-of-living pressures.
The Commission’s latest research shows that around 98% of trustees feel ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ confident in managing or governing their charity but, when questioned on basic role requirements, on average, trustees answered just 7 out of 10 questions correctly - demonstrating a knowledge gap that could lead to unintentional governance failings.
The core suite of 5-minute guides cover the following subject areas:
- Delivering purpose – advice on how to use your charity’s governing document, how to deliver on your charity’s purposes and the law.
- Managing finances – advice on how to ensure your charity’s money is safe, properly used and accounted for.
- Conflicts of interest – advice on how to identify and deal with conflicts of interest in your charity.
- Making decisions – advice on how to make valid trustee decisions that are in your charity’s best interests.
- Reporting information –advice on how and what you need to report to the Commission.
- Safeguarding people – advice on your responsibilities to keep everyone who comes into contact with your charity safe from harm.
- Political activity & campaigning – advice for charities that want to support, or oppose, a change in government policy or the law.
Paul Latham, Director of Communications and Policy at the Charity Commission, said:
We know that this will be a tough year for charities. When approaching difficult decisions, we want trustees to feel certain of the rules in these uncertain times. Our 5-minute guides act as a core syllabus – offering trustees engaging, informative content covering the basics all trustees should know. With advice readily available, we encourage trustees to refresh their knowledge and fill any gaps so that they can best serve their charities – and those who rely on them.
The Commission’s guidance is not yet the first port of call for many trustees. Commission research shows that they often first seek advice from a fellow trustee or colleague (70%) or look online (59%). However, an overwhelming majority of trustees who use the regulator’s guidance find it helpful (94%) and most (89%) trustees who have used the 5-minute guides would recommend them to others.
The previous campaign phase in 2022 saw the percentage of surveyed trustees aware of the 5 Minute Guides rise from 23% to 40%. Furthermore, of the trustees who have read one or more of the 5-minute guides, 39% reported to have taken or intend to take an action as a result of reading them.
The full collection of 5-minute guides can be found at: Advice and guidance for Charity Trustees – Getting the most out of being a charity trustee
Notes to editors:
Out of hours press office contact number: 07785 748787
- The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its purpose is to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
- The Charity Commission data comes from ‘Charity trustee research 2022’ which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-into-public-trust-in-charities-and-trustees-experience-of-their-role/charity-trustee-research-2022
Latest News from
Regulator to investigate Al-Tawheed Charitable Trust over event held at its premises14/02/2024 09:15:00
The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry to investigate serious concerns over the misuse of charity premises.
Charity Commission announces next Chief Executive08/02/2024 09:10:00
David Holdsworth takes up role in July
Regulator investigates anti-poverty charity06/02/2024 12:20:00
The Charity Commission’s concerns include potential conflicts of interest and related party transactions at Big Help Project.
Regulator investigates spiritualist charity as disputing trustees and finances spark serious concerns01/02/2024 10:15:00
The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into Trust Property Held In Connection With The London Spiritual Mission.
Regulator orders charity linked to fake Covid-19 ‘cure’ to shut26/01/2024 10:25:00
The Charity Commission concludes its inquiry into The Kingdom Church GB and bans preacher for 15 years.
Education charity receives Official Warning from regulator22/01/2024 14:20:00
The Charity Commission has issued an Official Warning to One Young World over breaches of trust.
Helen Stephenson's opening address at ICAEW Charity Conference19/01/2024 12:20:00
Helen Stephenson's yesterday reflected on the role of finance professionals and ‘finance trustees’ in the charity sector.
Regulator to investigate wild cat conservation charity over failure to file accounts12/01/2024 09:05:00
The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into The Cat Survival Trust over trustees’ compliance with legal duties and fulfilment of its charitable objects.