NCVO Good Trustee Guide
We were delighted to sponsor the recent NCVO publication of the Good Trustee Guide, which provides comprehensive information about a trustee’s role, and guidance on developing an effective trustee board.
At the launch event Sarah Atkinson, the Charity Commission’s Director of Policy, welcomed the Guide, saying that the events over the summer highlighted the fact that trustees must be more than ‘glorified cheerleaders’ and must combine the responsibilities of being guardians of their charity’s mission with asking the difficult questions.
The Guide is timely in that it reflects the updated Charity Commission guidance, ‘The Essential Trustee’ and Sarah praised the fact that the Guide does more than reframe the guidance, improving it with practical tips.
12 ESSENTIAL BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES AT A GLANCE
1. Set and maintain vision, mission and values
The trustee board is responsible for establishing the essential purpose of the charity as set out in the objects of its governing document. The board is also responsible for guarding the ethos and values of the charity.
2. Develop strategy
Together, the trustees (and chief executive where employed) should develop a long-term strategy. Meeting agendas need to reflect the key points of the strategy in order to keep the organisation on track.
3. Establish and monitor policies
The trustee board creates a wide range of policies to govern organisational activity. These may include human resources, financial controls, safeguarding, risk management, volunteer management and selection of beneficiaries.
4. Ensure compliance with the governing document
The governing document is the rulebook for the charity, and the trustees must ensure it is followed. In particular, the charity’s activities must comply with the charitable objects in the governing document.
5. Ensure accountability
The trustees should ensure that the charity fulfils its legal requirements to be accountable. This will include publishing annual reports and accounts. The charity should also be accountable to other groups that are sometimes known as stakeholders: donors, beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and the general public.
6. Ensure compliance with the law
Trustees are responsible for checking that all the charity’s activities are legal.
7. Maintain proper fiscal oversight
Trustees are responsible for effectively managing the charity’s resources and funding so it can meet its charitable objects. The trustee board secures sufficient resources to fulfil the mission; monitors spending in the best interests of the charity; approves the annual financial statement and budget; protects the charity against liability by providing insurance; seeks to manage risk for the charity; ensures compliance with the law.
8. Respect the role of staff/volunteers
The trustee board recognises and respects the domain of staff and/or volunteer responsibility. It also creates policy to guide staff and/or volunteer activities and safeguard the interests of the charity.
9. Maintain effective board performance
The board keeps its own house in order. It engages in productive meetings, effective committees with adequate resources, development activities and regular reviews of its role. The board is also responsible for overseeing trustee board recruitment.
10. Promote the organisation
Through their own behaviour, their governance oversight and their activities on behalf of the charity, trustees enhance and protect the reputation of their charity. They are good ambassadors for the charity.
Where staff are employed:
11. Set up employment procedures
The trustee board creates comprehensive, fair and legal personnel policies. These protect the charity and those who work for it. They cover recruitment, support, appraisal, remuneration and discipline.
12. Select and support the chief executive
If necessary, the trustee board creates policy covering the employment of a chief executive. It also selects and supports the chief executive and reviews their performance.
The full version of the report is available at a cost of £30 for non-members and £21 for members via the NCVO website or a summarised version can be downloaded free of charge, below:
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