Running a charity

Produced by Tolley in association with Speechly Bircham LLP

The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Speechly Bircham LLP provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Running a charity
  • Introduction to running a charity
  • The duty of care
  • The appointment, retirement and removal of trustees
  • Amending the charity’s governing document
  • The role of trustees
  • Making decisions and delegating
  • Payment of trustees
  • The use of nominees or the Official Custodian for Charities
  • Compliance
  • More...

Introduction to running a charity

The people who serve on the governing body of a charity are responsible for the general management and control of the administration of the charity. They are commonly referred to as the 'charity trustees' but may equally be known as the trustees, directors, board members, governors or committee members.

A charity trustee’s responsibilities are broadly the same whatever he or she is called. However, the exact legal position will differ depending on whether the charity is incorporated or unincorporated.

The trustees have, and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring it is solvent, well-run and delivering charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up. See ‘The Essential Trustee’ booklet published by the Charity Commission.

The duty of care

Trustee Act 2000, s 1 sets out a statutory duty of care which applies to trustees of charitable trusts when exercising specific powers:

  1. 1)

    Whenever the duty under this subsection applies to a trustee, he must exercise such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances, having regard in particular:

    1. a)

      to any special knowledge or experience that he has or holds himself out as having, and

    2. b)

      if he acts as trustee in the course of a business or profession, to any special knowledge or experience that it is reasonable to expect of a person acting in the course of that kind of business or profession

The statutory duty of care in the Trustee Act 2000 does not apply to the directors of charitable companies but company legislation and common law impose a similar duty of care on all charity trustees in relation to all aspects

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