Charities - Power of Trustees

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
Stephen Green
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Joined: 6 Dec 2010, 7:47pm

Charities - Power of Trustees

Postby Stephen Green » 6 Dec 2010, 8:07pm

I have recently had dealings with, well more like a battle with a local land charity set up by my local parish council. It has proved to be impossible to make this charity accountable for its actions and the Charity Commissioners were useless doing everything possible to avoid taking action. In the end the issue is going to court. The management of Charities are all powerful and in this case even the parish council can not control the charity it set up. This could happen to the CTC members who could find they loose control of their own club and are then powerless to rectify matters. I urge with great passion borne of having dsealt with a charity (Yes real experience of it - a problem which has been going on over a year now) DO NOT vote for charitabe status. It could mean total loss of control by the members.

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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Charities - Power of Trustees

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Dec 2010, 9:16pm

I think the "only" way this would affect the CTC is that trustees are responsible for the proper running of the charity, rather than being responsible to members. Part of the case for conversion seems to include the argument that trustees would be elected as councillors are now, which may well be so, but their obligations would be quite different.

Several years ago my wife was asked to be a trustee of a small local charity. I researched the obligations for her.

If charity trustees are ever inflexible in their dealings with others, I think it's generally because their legal advisors tell them that's the correct approach. A recent headline-making example is the RSPCA losing megabucks in a legal battle over a legacy. There'll be a lot of collecting tins to rattle to pay the legal costs ... e-11890872

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Joined: 28 Jan 2007, 9:33pm
Location: East Cornwall

Re: Charities - Power of Trustees

Postby dodger » 7 Dec 2010, 5:32pm

I'm a trustee of a charity and it's clear that the key obligations of a trustee are to ensure that the charity abides by its memorandum and articles of association, that it operates legally and that it remains solvent. There is no explicit duty to members, although this should be covered under the mem. and arts.
The charity commissioners are rarely involved, except when a scandal threatens and I believe their numbers are to be reduced under the current squeeze, so the chances of them helping in times of trouble are debatable, given the sheer number of charities out there.
Trustees are personally liable for the operation of the charity, and that includes any debts incurred if acting recklessly, illegally or against the mem. and arts.
The challenge for CTC members is to ensure that the mem. and arts. are appropriate, that trustees are fully accountable to members and that they can be voted on/off the board.
One of the most important duties of trustees is to ensure they elect a good chairperson as a bad one can cause huge problems and they are not necessarily easy to remove.