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Charity Trustee

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Trustees have the overall legal responsibility for a charity. The law describes charity trustees as ‘the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity’.

Trustees work collectively as a board and take decisions at formal board meetings. Once a decision has been collectively made all trustees are bound to support that decision.

Trustees generally need to be over the age of 18. They cannot have been previously disqualified as a trustee or company director, be an undischarged bankrupt or have certain unspent criminal convictions.

All trustees should be able to demonstrate values such as honesty and integrity. They should be committed to the charity’s aims and values.

In addition, there are many different skills, experiences, attributes and areas of knowledge that we welcome from our trustees:

  • The ‘hard’ skills – legal, financial, management and so on – which are necessary to understand some of the complex decisions to be taken
  • The ‘soft’ skills – boards of trustees need people who can encourage team working, problem solving, asking difficult questions, decision making and, yes, to make people laugh!
  • Trustee boards should understand the communities they serve. People with knowledge of the community – for example, as users of services or as local residents – can make very valuable trustees.

Prospective Trustees will be required to sign a Trustee Declaration and complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check.  Knowledge of a charity’s field of work or good people skills are just as important as technical knowledge or professional expertise. Trustees can and indeed should supplement their own skills with professional advice where required. Indeed, an effective trustee board should draw on a range of skills, knowledge, experiences and attributes.

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Charity Trustee

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