Trustees’ Week 2018: Why should you become a trustee?

Trustees’ week is a UK wide, annual event which highlights the important role that trustees play in the governance of charities and encourages individuals to become involved in the management of charities by becoming trustees.

As Trustees’ Week 2018 comes to a close we look at why becoming a Trustee means taking on responsibilities. However, it also creates opportunities to learn, develop new skills and make a positive impact.

What is a trustee?

Trustees are individuals who are responsible for the management and control of a charity. They must make all key decisions involving the charity and are accountable for the governance of the charity and its overall strategy.

Although becoming a trustee is a voluntary position, trustees have a fundamental role in the management of charities. It has been estimated that there are over 1 million trustees throughout the UK, 180,000 of which are in Scotland.

Who can become a trustee?

In Scotland, it is possible for anyone to become a trustee, provided they can comply with their duties. It is a role which can be carried out by younger through to older generations and by people with different backgrounds, experiences and skills. The participation of a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skills means that the governance of charities can truly benefit from a wide range of approaches and perspectives.

The only category of individual who cannot become a trustee are those who are disqualified from acting. This includes those with an unspent conviction for dishonesty, those who have been disqualified from being a company director and those who are a discharged bankrupt. However, OSCR (the Scottish Charity Regulator) has the power to waive the disqualification and allow individuals falling into the descriptions above to become trustees, if it deems this appropriate.

What duties must trustees comply with?

The duties which trustees in Scotland must comply with fall within two categories:

1. General duties
These duties require trustees to act in the interests of the charity and to act in compliance with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

2. Specific duties
In addition to the general duties, trustees have five specific duties regarding:

1. the provision of information about the charity to the public;
2. the charity’s fundraising activities;
3. financial record keeping and reporting;
4. updating the charity’s details to ensure that the information on the Scottish Charity Register is up to date; and
5. reporting to OSCR by supplying certain information.

Compliance with these duties is important because non-compliance is deemed to be misconduct. OSCR may take action against trustees in breach of their duties. However, OSCR have stated that if a trustee has acted honestly and reasonably, their conduct is unlikely to be treated as misconduct.

Why become a trustee?

Despite the various duties trustees must comply with, becoming a charity trustee is generally a fulfilling experience. It is a way for individuals to volunteer their time and expertise to make a contribution to the charitable sector. It can enable trustees to “give something back” and get involved in a cause they feel passionate about.

Further, becoming a trustee can allow individuals to discover new interests and meet new people, as well as developing new skills and offering individuals management experience. Such experience can be invaluable to those wishing to further their careers.

Conclusion

Although trustees carry a great deal of responsibility, being a trustee is both an interesting and rewarding role. It is an invaluable opportunity to learn new skills and enhance your experience in a new context.

MacRoberts offers general and tailored training sessions for trustees as well as advice on all aspects of governance.

This article was co-authored by Charlotte Fleming.

Latest updates from @MacRoberts

  • Yesterday, the Government announced much-needed measures to support self-employed workers through this period of un… https://t.co/qJvw9jMWbs 27/03/2020
  • Have you caught up with our latest #Employment #Law & #HR Update webinars? Listen now for an overview of recent inf… https://t.co/VbLYFF1BjW 27/03/2020
  • In these uncertain and challenging times, #caveats are a sensible step for peace of mind & risk management for all… https://t.co/D5gbb42nIQ 27/03/2020
  • Do you have questions about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? Our #Employment #Law team looks at the key points… https://t.co/iGNopWPPzQ 27/03/2020
  • Do you have questions about how COVID-19 will impact your business? Our dedicated hub seeks to provide answers to s… https://t.co/tMZ4g8RqIl 27/03/2020
  • This week has seen everyone at MacRoberts make the transition to #workingfromhome in order to safely continue to pr… https://t.co/m7tsMBnIQE 27/03/2020
  • As organisations readjust their working practices within the context of COVID-19, we look at the status and importa… https://t.co/XPOAvnpWVy 26/03/2020
  • Another day of #LockdownLife down: we are checking in with our team members regularly to make sure everyone is doin… https://t.co/IXKyD65rpQ 26/03/2020
  • Do you have questions about how COVID-19 will impact your business? Our team answers some of the most frequently as… https://t.co/J19yrHqtvx 26/03/2020
  • The Government has set out a number of measures designed to support businesses through COVID-19 disruption, namely… https://t.co/aMgmu3kR5n 25/03/2020
  • We are continuing to provide our clients with expert legal advice during these challenging times, and everyone at M… https://t.co/YaJ6CQojog 25/03/2020
  • How could a #caveat help you? In these uncertain and challenging times, having a caveat in place can ensure… https://t.co/nZ0tbecskX 24/03/2020
  • Everyone at MacRoberts is working from home & we will continue to provide our clients with expert legal advice duri… https://t.co/UaIZMXrs3x 24/03/2020
  • MacRoberts is here to support you, your families & your businesses: Our guide contains answers to some of the most… https://t.co/PGXzegaT3P 24/03/2020
  • On Friday, the Government announced a new #Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to provide support for #employers and… https://t.co/Eya9WIna6H 23/03/2020