(Version July 2005)
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for charitable activity. This is one of a series of reports that present our case-working experience, supplemented by additional research. Their purpose is to help increase understanding of an issue. They are part of our mission to help charities maximise their impact, comply with their legal obligations, encourage innovation and enhance effectiveness.
Charities exist to create a better society. They operate for many different purposes, and in many ways. But they are united by their visions of a world without poverty, cruelty, disease, injustice or inequality. In England and Wales charities have long been a mainspring of positive social change. Behind them stand their trustees, who have the ultimate responsibility for running them.
Those trustees make a huge difference both to the charities and the communities they serve, and they do an excellent job. They devote time and effort, mostly without payment, to ensure a high quality of service to users and the wider community.
In the course of our casework, we see many examples of good practice in all sizes and types of charity. But when things go wrong and we get involved, we find that the root of the problem can often unfortunately be the governance provided by the trustees.
Effective trustee recruitment and induction is one of the underpinning principles of the forthcoming Code of Governance for the Voluntary and Community Sector(1) . The Code states that, as a matter of best practice, a trustee board needs to have a diverse range of skills, experience and knowledge to run an organisation effectively. It also states that trustees should make sure that they receive the induction, training and ongoing support they need to carry out their duties effectively.
It is therefore crucial that charities get the recruitment, selection and induction(2) of new trustees right. That is why in 2002 we published Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction, the first of our series of Regulatory Studies.
In that study we illustrated good practice and explained where there was room for improvement.
We made a commitment to consolidate our existing guidance in this area into one booklet. This will now be published as part of our CC range of leaflets(3). We also said that we would update our publication The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity(4). We have now done this and recruitment and selection is one of the areas we look at when we visit charities as part of our Review Visits programme.
We find that our publications about trustees and their responsibilities(5) are those most commonly requested by our customers, reflecting the enthusiasm in the sector for trustees to "get things right".
This report presents the findings of new research we have carried out into the processes and perceptions of trustee recruitment, selection and induction. You can see our survey findings in full in Annex A of the report. Where possible, we use examples to illustrate best practice. We also refer to areas where our other publications can give trustees specific guidance. This report does not replace the initial report, but develops the topic and should be read in conjunction with it.
It is aimed at all trustees of charities, and others who are involved in trustee appointments. The principles involved may also be relevant to charities recruiting key employees and volunteers.
Most charities will recruit trustees from time to time. For some, this will happen annually; others will do so less often.
The process of finding and welcoming new trustees to an established board is an excellent opportunity to evaluate and improve on the charity's effectiveness.
In our experience, boards of trustees are more likely to:
Our casework shows that failure to give enough attention to certain key areas in the recruitment process can and does lead to problems. Where such problems arise, we find that their root is frequently the governance provided by the trustees. Often, difficulties result from trustees not knowing or understanding their responsibilities; or not having access to basic information about the charity's structure and remit.
While we have seen many examples of good practice, research for our earlier report found that few charities paid enough attention to the recruitment process and the opportunities it gives. We are pleased to see from our new research that there appears to have been an overall improvement in this area.
See Annex B for definitions of very large, large, medium and small charities.
In general, the use of such tools increases with the size of the charity, so that two thirds of large or very large charities use one or more of these methods. We recognise that larger and more complex charities will need a more formal and structured approach to recruitment. We do believe, though, that smaller charities also benefit from considering these issues, albeit with a more proportionate and simplified approach. Such measures neither need to cost a great deal nor add significantly to the trustees' workload.
While we welcome these signs of improvement, we are disappointed with our findings in other areas:
In Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction, we stressed that recruitment solely by word of mouth or personal recommendation can result in a board that is not diverse and can give a perception of exclusivity which alienates the charity's users and wider stakeholders. Our new research has shown that 66% of large and 72% of very large charities find it difficult to attract new trustees with the right skills. Charities may find that wider and more inclusive methods of recruitment will make it easier to attract the right people. Being able to demonstrate openness and transparency can also, in the longer term, help to increase the public's confidence in charity. There are some examples of different methods in the main report.
This is echoed by our analysis of the trustee details we hold on our database, which shows that only 0.5% are under the age of 24. Conversely, 76% are aged 45 and over. Again, charities that wish to increase the diversity of the trustee board may need to think of alternative, wider methods of recruitment.
Some people are legally disqualified from acting as trustees. We expect charities to check that prospective trustees are eligible to act. A basic level of check is essential for any prospective trustee, as it is a criminal offence to serve as a trustee if disqualified from doing so. More rigorous checks are necessary if the trustee is to have direct contact with vulnerable people. The failure to make checks on the eligibility of prospective trustees is apparent across all four income bands, suggesting that it stems not just from a lack of resources.
Trustees may not be paid for carrying out their role, but this does not mean they are 'amateurs' or unprofessional. Trustees are responsible for their charity's assets and activities and have a legal duty to act prudently and within the boundaries set by their charity's governing document.
Clearly, the type of induction programme necessary for new trustees will vary with the size and nature of the charity. In all cases, though, as a matter of good practice, we would expect there to be some procedures in place to familiarise a new trustee with the charity's aims and procedures.
We are pleased that our new research shows that there has been some improvement in good practice in this area. New trustees are now more likely to be given the key information they need to act in an informed and responsible manner from the early stages of their time with the charity.
However, there is still room for improvement. Our findings show that across the four income bands, 39% of charities we surveyed still do not provide new trustees with a copy of the charity's governing document.
The governing document is an essential part of the induction process as it lays out the charity's constitutional aims and limitations. Providing new trustees with a copy need not be expensive or time consuming. We maintain that all trustees of charities, whatever their size and nature, need a copy of the governing document to be able to take up their role with confidence.
We welcome the improvement we have seen in some areas, and have found some excellent examples of good practice from the smallest to the largest of charities.
However, we would urge those charities that do not do so already to adopt as many as possible of these examples of good practice. Our experience tells us that they work, and that they improve the ability of trustee boards to work more effectively. And a well-balanced board of trustees can only increase the efficiency of the charity - and so enhance its contribution to society.
At the end of March 2005, the Commission held details of over 890,000 individuals currently acting as trustees of registered charities. Some of these will be trustees of more than one charity. Between them they look after around 190,000 charities with a combined income of over £36 billion. This figure excludes trustees of unregistered and exempt charities. Overall, we estimate that there are currently more than a million trustee positions in England and Wales.
Trusteeship is an opportunity to give something back to the community. It is also a chance to learn new, diverse skills and ways of working. Each trustee has a role in the charity's operation, and no one trustee is more important or accountable than any other. Although trustees are not usually paid for their services(7), this does not mean they are 'amateurs' or unprofessional.
Trustees have an important say in the way the charity supports and provides services to its users. Whether the charity is a small, local project or a national household name, its trustees have the final responsibility for the management and administration of their charity. They must act prudently at all times in the best interests of the charity and its users, and are personally accountable for the proper management of the charity and its assets.
From our case-working experience we see many excellent examples of good practice. However, we also see that when things go wrong, poor governance can be part of the problem. The charity can get into difficulty when the trustees are not aware of, or do not pay proper attention to, their responsibilities.
While trusteeship is a skill which, like any other, develops with time, it follows that a new trustee is more likely to be effective and confident in his/her dealings with the charity if the recruitment, selection and induction process is well handled from the outset.
A robust and comprehensive programme of recruitment, selection and induction that is proportionate to the size of the charity will help to:
Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction (RS1) and Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30) provide further information on best practice and guidelines on recruiting trustees,
CC3 - The essential trustee: what you need to know (PDF 342Kb) answers some of the more common questions you may have about trusteeship and the duties of trustees.
Payment of Charity Trustees (CC11), and Operational Guidance (OG92) explains when trustees can and cannot be paid.
A number of organisations offer guidance and training to charities in this area including NCVO, the National Association for Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS), the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and the Ethnic Minority Foundation (EMF).
Key survey findings(9)
Most charities will need to recruit new trustees from time to time. Some will do so annually; others may need to recruit only occasionally(10).
Whether recruitment is the responsibility of the existing trustees or whether other arrangements apply (for example, election or nomination by a membership), trustees have a clear role in overseeing the management of an open and efficient process.
The charity's governing document is a crucial first point of reference. We often see problems where the charity has not checked that its recruitment procedures meet the terms of any conditions in the governing document. To make sure that the charity's time, effort and resources are not wasted, the starting point for recruitment is to check the rules in the governing document.
It is useful for the trustees to consider once in a while if these rules are still appropriate. For example, it may be that there are not enough trustees to share the workload - or perhaps the board is so large it is unwieldy. A small change to the governing document may increase the charity's effectiveness.
In our experience, to operate effectively, a trustee board needs a diverse mix of skills, backgrounds and experiences. As well as professional skills such as financial, legal and management, a charity will also benefit from people:
From time to time, it is a good idea for a charity to carry out an analysis of the skills that the board needs to run the charity successfully. It is then possible to look at the board's current composition to see if any key skills are lacking. A vacancy on the board is an ideal time for the other trustees to bring in new ideas and enthusiasm and to ensure that the trustee body remains fresh.
If the charity's governing document states that some or all of the trustees must retire after a certain period of office, the trustee board will find it beneficial to consider the effect that that loss of skills and experience will have on the operation of the charity. If they are aware that this will happen, they will be able to plan more effectively for the future
St Oswald 's Hospice is a very large charity based in the North East which provides specialist support and care to adults and children who have life-limiting conditions.
We recently visited the charity as part of our Review Visits programme and found that it had a clearly defined recruitment, selection and induction process which works well and is regularly reviewed.
The charity uses various methods to recruit new trustees to ensure that the board is inclusive and representative of all its users. Interested candidates are then invited to a meeting with the charity's chair and Chief Executive. This gives both sides an opportunity to find out more about each other, not least that the candidate understands the commitment needed of a trustee. Wherever possible, trustees are recruited in groups of two or three so that they can support each other in their new roles.
The trustees have developed a detailed induction process which is reviewed from time to time. The most recently appointed trustees are invited to contribute to that review to determine whether it can be improved from their experiences.
New trustees are given a range of key documents. This includes the charity's governing document, the last three sets of accounts and annual reports, the current business plan, minutes of recent trustee meetings and a guide to being a trustee. Role descriptions are in place for trustees and honorary officers to clarify their particular roles and responsibilities.
As a result, the trustees have a good understanding of their responsibilities and potential liabilities; attendance at trustee meetings is generally good; and the charity rarely experiences problems in recruiting and retaining trustees.
When prospective trustees have a clear idea of the demands and responsibilities of the role from the outset, the recruitment process is more likely to succeed. This is true both in attracting suitable applicants and retaining new trustees.
An accurate trustee job description can help by giving prospective candidates a realistic idea of, for example, how much time they will need to devote to overseeing the management and administration of the charity. It is an opportunity to outline the types of duties the role will involve and any particular skills needed(11) as well as any support that will be given, such as an induction tour or ongoing training.
Spending a little time at the outset considering these issues will help to ensure that:
For example, the role of treasurer may be best filled by someone with accountancy or financial experience. Someone with skills in leadership, mediation and facilitation may make a good chairperson.
Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30) and Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction (RS1) give further ideas for charities preparing to recruit.
For details of how to amend the governing document, see Alterations to governing documents: charitable companies (OG47) and Small Charities: Transfer of Property, Alteration of Trusts, Expenditure of Capital (CC44) or Amending Charities' Governing Documents: Orders and Schemes (CC36).
Charity Trustee Networks produces a help sheet for trustee recruitment: "Recruiting Trustees: Avenues for Support"
Key survey findings
Once the charity has identified any skills and experience it needs to complement the existing trustees, it must decide the best way to attract new applicants.
Our 2001 survey showed that trustees who broaden their recruitment practices and adopt more transparent methods find it easier to build an inclusive, diverse, vibrant and effective governing body.
We have seen some evidence in our latest survey that there has been a small increase in charities across the income bands using wider methods of recruitment. Networking with other charities and advertising in the press are both now more popular than they were in 2001(13).
However, in our earlier report we remarked that current practice in seeking trustees relied to a striking degree on word of mouth and personal recommendation. This seems to have increased, with over 80% of all charities now using these methods to attract and recruit new trustees compared with almost 70% in 2001(14).
We accept that this method of recruitment is valid and can succeed in certain circumstances. However, we find that where it is the only or main method the trustees use, it is the one most likely to restrict the pool of potential trustees and could result in the charity being viewed as exclusive. Charities which use only this method may find that they are missing out on a wider pool of skills which would improve their effectiveness. Being able to demonstrate openness and transparency in the recruitment process can also, in the longer term, help to increase the public's confidence in charity.
Where trustees are, for example, elected or nominated by the membership, advertising for new trustees would not normally be an option. However, by carrying out a skills audit as mentioned earlier, the existing board can still present the membership with a 'wish list' of the type of skills that would be desirable for a prospective trustee to have.
Nor does advertising have to be an expensive advert in a national newspaper. Our casework shows charities advertising vacancies in a variety of ways:
Our 2004 survey showed that charities in the large and very large income bands in particular think it is difficult to attract trustees with the right skills. We also found that charities that never have difficulty recruiting trustees were less likely to use word of mouth and personal recommendation than those that do(15).
It is reasonable to assume that, when deciding how to find new trustees, charities are more likely to attract the 'right' candidates for their charity if they:
We welcome the awareness we have seen during our research that diversity on the trustee board is important. A charity with a diverse board of trustees is more likely to:
Almost a third of respondents to our survey said they find it difficult to attract young people to act as trustees. In addition, analysis of the trustee details we hold on our Register(16) shows that 76% of trustees are aged 45 and over. It is acknowledged that those with a younger age profile are less likely to have free time because they tend to have heavier commitments to family, work or both.
It is perhaps surprising, though, that only 0.5% of trustees are under the age of 24. Charities may need to consider adopting new methods of recruitment if they wish to attract trustees from this age group.
Details of trustees on the Central Register of Charities
Charities that wish to attract groups which are currently under-represented on their trustee boards may find they need to think of new ways to engage with those groups. Our research for Village Halls and Community Centres (RS9) for example, indicated that charities were more likely to succeed in recruiting 'young' trustees if the charity itself engaged with young people in its activities
This is an example of how a skills audit can be used to identify gaps in a trustee body and so aid the recruitment process.
Age Concern Wakefield District is a medium-sized charity and its purpose is to promote the health and well being of older people in the Wakefield district.
The charity has a comprehensive induction programme which covers many of the principles of good practice highlighted in this report.
It recently carried out a skills audit of the trustee board to identify any gaps in expertise of its trustees.
A manager of one company they contacted felt this would be an opportunity for one of his staff to help the charity and at the same time broaden that person's accounting experience and knowledge of the voluntary sector. The charity has since appointed this person, who is still in his 20s. By carrying out a skills audit and widening its recruitment methods, the trustee board has gained not only a better balance of skills but also improved its diversity by expanding the range of life experiences and perceptions among those serving as trustees.
This was the first time the charity had recruited trustees in this way and it appears to have been very successful
Another way to ensure that the charity's board of trustees is truly diverse is to make sure its users or stakeholders are represented. We very much welcome user involvement as a way of helping a charity achieve its aims more effectively. Charities that would like to go down this route should be aware that there is potential for conflicts of interest. Our leaflet Users on Board (CC24) aims to help charities foresee and avoid problems.
We believe that diversity is an important factor for accountability and public confidence. We welcome the growing emphasis by charities on diversity in recruitment of trustees. We propose this as a further reason for charities to seek to rely less on traditional methods of recruitment and more on methods which are inclusive and transparent.
Key survey findings
Whether the trustees are personally involved in the day-to-day running of their charity, or have support from a network of employees, they have a unique and key role to play in guiding its management and administration.
Trustees are more likely to be effective from the outset if they have been given a clear idea of the type and extent of their duties and responsibilities.
Among charities taking part in our survey, the most frequent reason given (by 82%) for having difficulty attracting new trustees was that people could not find the time.
However, only 22% of all charities surveyed provided a 'job description' before recruitment. It is reasonable to assume that, if more charities did so, for example stating the number of trustee meetings in the year and the other duties involved, the fear of not having enough time to spend on the charity's business may be alleviated.
Fear of the responsibilities and legal liabilities attached to trusteeship was another common difficulty in recruiting, cited by 53% of all charities.
Trusteeship is a responsibility that should be taken seriously. There are indeed cases where trustees have been held personally liable for their actions, but the number is exceedingly small. If trustees act prudently, lawfully and in accordance with their governing document, then any liabilities they incur as trustees can be met out of the charity's resources. If a charity gets into difficulty through honest mistakes, we will almost always be prepared to work with the trustees to rectify matters.
A charity is more likely to attract prospective trustees if it:
Anecdotal evidence from our Review Visits team suggests that there tends to be a patchy understanding of the disqualification requirements laid down in section 72 of the Charities Act 1993.
Some people are legally disqualified from acting as trustees. It is a criminal offence to serve as a trustee if disqualified from doing so. We therefore expect charities to make eligibility checks on prospective trustees appropriate to their area of operation.
We ask trustees of all new charities seeking registration to sign a declaration that they are not disqualified. We expect charities to continue to make the necessary checks on prospective trustees to ensure their eligibility. Depending on the charity's circumstances, these checks may be no more complicated than asking new trustees to sign a declaration that they are eligible to act(19).
However, in charities where the trustees (and volunteers) have direct contact with users who are vulnerable, for example, because of their age or mental health, more vigorous background checks to ensure their suitability are necessary.
The Charity Commission received information that one of the trustees of a charity on our Register had an unspent conviction for theft. The charity's principal object was the relief of poverty.
We opened a formal inquiry, under section 8 of the Charities Act 1993, and found that only two of the five appointed trustees played an active part in the running of the charity. One of these two had been acting as a trustee while disqualified by section 72 of the Charities Act 1993. The remaining trustees said they were unaware of the charity's activities and did not know what their responsibilities to the charity were.
We were concerned about the administration of charity funds so, as a temporary and protective measure, we froze the charity's bank account.
After making further enquiries, we found that the two active trustees were using the charity to receive housing benefit allowances in respect of properties owned by the two trustees themselves and one other private landlord. The housing benefit was paid to the charity which in turn took a 'donation' from the benefit before passing the rest to the landlord or the tenants. Our view was that some of the charity's funds had been used by the trustees, for travel expenses to landlord's meetings, on business unrelated to the charity. This constituted an unauthorised private benefit.
We were informed by one of the active trustees that the charitable status had been sought for reasons other than charitable purposes.
The inquiry concluded that under the circumstances the charity's position was untenable. We therefore removed it from the Register and referred the matter to the police. The individual concerned was found guilty of acting as a trustee while disqualified and supplying false information to the Commission and received a Community Punishment Order.
In certain cases the Charity Commission has the power to grant a waiver and allow a person disqualified from trusteeship under section 72(1) of the Charities Act 1993 to accept a trustee post. We only agree in those cases where the charity can clearly demonstrate that the waiver is in the best interests of the charity.
It is disappointing that only 23% of charities responding to our survey said they carry out checks on the eligibility of prospective trustees to serve on the board.
Although we know that this can be a sensitive area for trustee bodies, we have seen instances where failure to make these checks has embarrassed the individual and the charity, leading to the inconvenience of undergoing the recruitment process afresh. In extreme cases, the charity's good name, the welfare of its users or even its existence could be at risk.
CC3 - The essential trustee: what you need to know (PDF 342Kb) answers some of the more common questions asked about trusteeship and the duties of trustees.
Users on Board (CC24) looks at users who become charity trustees in particular, as this type of involvement raises complex issues that need to be addressed.
Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction (RS1) and Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30) contain more information about who can and cannot act as a trustee; what charities can do to check that a person is eligible to act; and what steps we take to ensure that those checks have been made.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) provides extensive information and support for charities recruiting, selecting and inducting new trustees. It runs Trustee Bank, a resource to help find or fill trustee vacancies and delivers training on various related topics.
Involving Young People and Recruiting and Supporting Black and Minority Ethnic Trustees, (both by Tesse Akpeki and published by NCVO) give guidelines on good practice in recruiting young and Black and Minority Ethnic trustees.
The Trustee and Governance team at the NCVO also deliver a number of different training packages, including "Building an inclusive/diverse trustee board".
"TheLaw as it affects the Recruitment and Retention of Trustees", Valerie James, appears in Charities, Governance and the Law: the Way Forward ( Ed Debra Morris and Jean Warburton). This essay gives an analysis of circumstances which may disqualify people from being trustees and the liabilities involved in being a trustee.
Most charities, including virtually all the larger ones, provide new trustees with some information as part of the induction process:
Our 2001 survey showed that too many charities were expecting newly recruited trustees to come to terms with the demands of the job without access at the outset to basic information about their charities' activities, finances and constitutional aims and limitations.
We recognise that the requirements for an induction programme will vary depending on the charity's size and nature. However, some form of induction is necessary for every new trustee. All need a clear idea of their duties and responsibilities if they are to make an effective and valuable contribution from the outset.
Many of our recommended hallmarks of an effective charity depend on the trustees having access to certain basic information. For example, we referred earlier to the fear of perceived legal liabilities resulting from trusteeship. In fact, the greatest risk to individual trustees and their charity comes when trustees do not direct its activities with reference to its governing document.
Trustees need access to this document to ensure that the charity's aims and planned activities are not in breach of trust.
We are pleased to note from our 2004 survey that there has been some improvement in this area, and through our casework we have come across many good practice examples in individual charities.
"Ensuring that new trustees have an effective induction should not only ensure that the new trustees are retained and do not become disillusioned and leave, but also that they quickly become an effective and useful member of the board of trustees."
London Play, Induction Pack
London Play was set up in 1998 to support and co-ordinate out-of-school play services for children across London. The charity is constantly seeking new ways to support adventure playgrounds, and, as one of the Media Trust's chosen projects, is making a recruitment film to attract new members to adventure playground management committees (trustees) as part of its contribution to the Year of the Volunteer 2005.
The charity has put together a comprehensive trustee induction pack for adventure playgrounds to use. It has drawn the pack together from various sources, including Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction (RS1). The pack is freely available on its website and is a helpful guide to people who are new to being trustees.
The pack is a comprehensive document which covers every stage of the recruitment and induction process. It tells readers what a trustee is and gives advice on how to make the best of the role. It clearly explains when individuals may be disqualified from being a trustee and how to manage potential conflicts of interest.
The pack includes sample job descriptions and person specifications for board members, chair, secretary and treasurer. It also contains skills and self-assessment monitoring forms so that applicants can consider the qualities they can bring to the charity and the board members can decide the role new members would best be able to carry out.
London Play shows its commitment to diversity by including in the pack an equal opportunity monitoring form and a trustee meeting availability and preference survey.
It also shows commitment to recruiting and retaining trustees through a checklist for a trustee induction pack; a checklist for a new trustee; and suggestions for review meetings between new trustees and the chair.
We would now like to see charities build further on this positive trend, and Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30) gives further guidance on this.
New trustees are more likely to feel welcome to the charity, and start making a positive difference sooner if:
Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30) contains more information about who can and cannot act as a trustee; what charities can do to check that a person is eligible to act; and what steps we take to ensure that those checks have been made.
The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity (CC60) focuses on the achievements, performance and impact of an effective charity as well as the principles we expect charities and their trustees to adhere to. These are overarching principles rather than a list of legal requirements. The booklet is mainly aimed at charities with an income of £250,000 and above, but recognises that different types and sizes of charities may have different ways of achieving each Hallmark.
You can find London Play's induction pack on its website, www.londonplay.org.uk
Charity Trustee Networks offers trustees mutual support by encouraging and developing self-help trustee network groups providing cost-effective, peer-to-peer consultancy and mentoring.
Induction is just the start of the learning process. It should be seen as forming part of a broader agenda of ongoing training for new and existing trustees.
We do not explore this area in detail in this report. However, it is worth noting that organised, formal courses are not the only way for trustees to gain training. Our earlier report said that there is a wealth of guidance and training opportunities available to trustees. We found, though, that a substantial number of charities do not use good practice tools or meet good practice recommendations. Research for our report Milestones: Managing key events in the life of a charity (RS6) found evidence that trustees tended to 'reinvent the wheel' rather than learning from others' experience or taking advantage of the advice and guidance produced by established organisations.
We recommended in our earlier report that there was scope for the development of better and more comprehensive training material for new trustees and others in the basic requirements and skills of trusteeship. Our research for this report has revealed that there have been welcome improvements in this area, not least a forthcoming national hub of expertise in governance(22); and the Voluntary Sector National Training Organisation's recent successful bid to develop national occupational standards (NOS) in this field.
We have also seen excellent examples of both individual charities and umbrella bodies putting together comprehensive, user-friendly information packs to support both new and existing trustees in the recruitment, selection and induction process.
We are pleased overall with the positive trends we have seen in this area, and look forward to further improvements.
The Charity Trustee's Handbook , Mike Eastwood , Directory of Social Change, 2001, is a starter guide for new trustees.
Working For A Charity is a registered charity which aims to increase understanding of the voluntary sector and to encourage new people, resources and skills to join and strengthen the sector. Among other courses, it runs a charity induction course designed to meet the needs of individuals who have recently been appointed to positions of responsibility, whether paid or unpaid.
1. The proposal for a code of governance emerged in 2004 following discussions between NCVO, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), Charity Trustee Networks and the Charity Commission; and a subsequent consultation led by NCVO and ICSA.
2. Recruitment, Selection and Induction of Charity Trustees (RS1)
3. Finding New Trustees: What you need to know (CC30)
4. The Hallmarks of an Effective Charity (CC60)
5. Notably CC3 - The essential trustee: what you need to know (PDF 342Kb) and Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction (RS1)
6. See Annex B for definitions of very large, large, medium and small charities.
7. There are some exceptions. Occasionally, the governing document may make an explicit provision for payment of trustees. In some circumstances, we may be prepared to authorise certain payments. See Payment of Charity Trustees (CC11) and Payment of Trustees (Operational Guidance 92) for further details
8.There are many publications that trustees can use on recruitment, selection and induction, and these lists are just a small sample. They do offer a good starting point. Where not cited here, contact details for all organisations mentioned are in Annex D.
9. Full survey findings appear in Annex B
10. Even if the charity's governing document does not say that trustees must resign after a certain period, the board should still consider from time to time whether recruiting new trustees could bring fresh ideas and improve the charity's effectiveness.
11. For example, the role of treasurer may be best filled by someone with accountancy or financial experience. Someone with skills in leadership, mediation and facilitation may make a good chairperson.
12. This is just a small sample of the guidance and support available. Where not cited here, contact details for all organisations mentioned are in Annex D
13. Networking with other charities 9% (2001: 6%); advertising in the press 6% (2001: 3%)
14. Respondents to the survey were asked to tell us all of the methods of recruitment they use, so a proportion of these may also use other ways of recruiting. However, no other single method was used by more than one in ten charities.
15. 73% as opposed to 90%
16. This data is based on information we collect annually from registered charities as part of our compliance and data accuracy programme. Individuals' dates of birth are NOT made available to the public.
17. This data is from the 2001 census, available on the National Statistics website.
18. Clearly not everyone in this age band would be eligible to hold a trustee position. No-one under the age of 18 can be trustee of a charitable trust or unincorporated association. But a person under 18 can be a director of a charitable company
19. You can find a model declaration form on our website in the section on guidance for charities. Other organisations such as NCVO also produce sample trustee declarations of eligibility for new trustees
20. This is just a small sample of the guidance and support available. Where not cited here, contact details for all organisations mentioned are in Annex D.
21. This is just a small sample of the guidance and support available. Where not cited here, contact details for all organisations mentioned are in Annex D.
22. One of the five national hubs of expertise to support and develop best practice proposed in ChangeUp - Capacity Building and Infrastructure Framework for the Voluntary and Community Sector
23. This is just a small sample of the guidance and support available. Where not cited here, contact details for all organisations mentioned are in Annex D.
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