Qualifications Required For Charity Trustees
In order to be eligible to act as a charity trustee an individual must:-
- Be over 18 years – children over 16 years can be appointed as Directors of a charitable company – though care is needed. Children are not always liable for the consequences of their actions which may sometimes pass to their parents. Trustee indemnity insurance may not cover minors.
- Be eligible under the terms of the Charities constitutional trust document – for example, some governing documents may debar appointment of those subject to mental health restrictions.
- Not have been disqualified from acting either by a previous order of the Charity Commission or subject to disqualification as acting as a company director (whether or not the charity is to be a limited company) including:-
- Un-discharged bankrupt
- Convicted of a serious criminal offence
- Repeatedly failed to comply with the law relating to companies
- Been subject to a BERR investigation
The Charity Commission do undertake checks on those intending to act as Trustees and acting whilst disqualified is unlawful – although it is possible to apply to the Charity Commission for special permission – if the circumstances warrant this.
Tips when recruiting charity trustees include:-
- Ensure that all prospective trustees are made aware of the classes of individuals who may be disqualified.
- Ensure that a specification of the skills required to administer the trust are established (eg financial, fundraising etc)
- Make sure that your board of trustees collectively have the range of expertise necessary to supervise all of the functions of the charity - operational, financial and regulatory issues
- Ensure that all trustees are fully trained as to their responsibilities and fully understand the level of time commitment required to properly fulfil their obligation.
Lawson Lewis Blakers are able to help with training charity trustees and run a programme of seminars of topical interest to all those involved in the Charity sector. We are also able to advise charities/trustees facing regulatory issues (e.g. from the Charity Commission)