Regulator launches ‘5-minute guides’ to support trustees

The Charity Commission has launched a set of ‘5-minute- guides' to support trustees on issues such as tackling conflicts of interests and financial oversight.

The guides have been launched to coincide with Trustees’ Week (2-9 November) to promote the role of trustee boards among the public and encourage more to take on the role.

The guides cover five areas explaining the basics of:

• Financial oversight
• Achieving a charity’s purposes
• Good decision making
• Addressing conflicts of interest
• What to file with the Commission and what support is available

The aim of the guides is to make it quicker for trustees to check what is expected from them and where to find more detailed information. The content and design of each guide has been tested among trustees. This included an online survey, focus groups and liaising with charity sector organisations.

They are also part of a pledge by the Charity Commission to make it easier for trustees, who are mainly unpaid volunteers, to access information.

“Volunteer trustees are the bedrock of the charity sector,” said Charity Commission chief executive Helen Stephenson.

“Without their commitment and dedication charity would simply not be possible. When I started at the Commission, I said our guidance and advice needed to become more available and accessible to trustees, to help them deliver on the causes they support and champion. These new 5 minute guides are an important milestone in our delivery on that promise.”

She added: “Our 5-minute guides are designed with real trustees and real situations in mind. They recognise that good governance is not a bureaucratic detail – it underpins the delivery of a charity’s purposes to the high standards expected by the public – and is all the more important in the midst of this pandemic which is impacting civil society so heavily.

“I hope trustees, both new and experienced, read and use them to help them fulfil their charity’s purpose for the public benefit.”

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