The Charity Commission held its annual public meeting earlier this month, which considered the key issues affecting charities in the UK presently, highlighting a general slide in public trust and confidence and reinforcing the importance of compliance and enforcement in order to preserve the integrity of charitable entities.
There are approximately 185,000 charities in this country and in 2015/16, there were 2117 serious incidents (for example fraud, theft, money laundering or issues with the safeguarding of beneficiaries) reported to the Commission and 1248 occasions of the Commission using its legal enforcement powers.
The Commission reiterated the importance of the role and responsibilities of charity trustees in the effective administration of charities, emphasising that poor governance is at the root of mismanagement and misconduct in charities.
The Commission referred to the ‘Essential Trustee’, whereby a trustee should:
These are no doubt core principles, although in practice do little by way of instruction where a trustee is involved in a complex decision making process.
Thankfully, the Commission has also produced guidance which elaborates on what constitutes the ‘Essential Trustee’.
For further information, the Guidance can be found here
I wrote in an earlier blog on 12 September 2016 of the difficulties that trustees face on occasions where their charities are embroiled in or are facing litigation, which can be found here