Who are trustees?

Charity trustees are individuals who form the governing body of a charity. They maybe known as trustees, directors, board members, governors or committee members. Trustees are responsible for controlling the management and administration of a charity. Further information about trustees and the role of trustees in fundraising is available from the trustee and governance advice section, Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Commission.

What are a trustee's responsibilities?

Trustees have, and must accept, ultimate responsibility for directing affairs of their charity, ensuring that it is solvent, well run and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it was set up.

Ensuring compliance

Trustees must ensure that their charity complies with charity law and the Charity Commission, as well as other legislation and regulators. They must also ensure the organisation is meeting the requirements, charitable purpose and objects, set out in the charity's own governing document. Trustees must act with integrity and avoid any personal conflicts of interest or misuse of charity funds or assets.

Duty of prudence

Trustees must ensure that the charity is and will remain solvent, therefore they need to understand and be kept informed of the financial position of the organisation. They must ensure the charity's funds and assets are used wisely, and only to further the purposes and interests of the charity. They must also avoid actions that bring undue risk either financially or to the organisation's reputation.

Duty of care

Trustees must exercise reasonable care and skill, using personal knowledge and experience to ensure that the charity is well run and efficient. They must also consider getting external professional advice on all matters where there maybe material risk to the charity, or where the trustees maybe in breach of their duties.

What can trustees do?

The powers of trustees are set out in the governing document so this should always be checked to see if an activity is allowable for the organisation.

What else do we need to know?

There is a range of information sheets and resources on trustees and governance including the trustee and governance advice section. Training is also available locally for trustees through Courses for Communities. Alternatively, contact your local county voluntary council or WCVA's Helpdesk for advice and support on trustees.