The role of Trustee is an important one and is both challenging and rewarding. Trustees influence the strategy and forward planning of an organisation and also offer their own personal expertise to help run voluntary and community groups.
The Charity Commission recently updated their ‘The Essential Trustee’ guide – available here and is a great resource for new or experienced Trustees.
Other great resources on what can be expected as a Trustee can be found at gov.uk
Interested in becoming a Trustee? You can search for local Trustee roles here
If any other local Trustees would like to provide a case study then please get in touch.
Twelve Essential Roles of a Trustee Board
1. Set and maintain vision, mission and values
2. Develop strategy
The trustee board is responsible for establishing the essential purpose or mission of the organisation. They are also responsible for guarding its vision and values. Together, the charity board and chief executive officer develop long-term strategy. Meeting agendas reflect the key points of the strategy to keep the organisation on track.
3. Establish and monitor policies
The trustee board creates policies to govern organisational activity. These cover:
• Guidance for staff
• Systems for reporting and monitoring
• An ethical framework for everyone connected with the organisation
• Conduct of trustees and board business
4. Set up employment procedures
The charity trustee board creates comprehensive, fair and legal personnel policies. These protect the organisation and those who work for it. They cover:
5. Ensure compliance with governing document
The governing document is the rulebook for the organisation. The board makes sure it is followed. In particular, the organisation’s activities must comply with its charitable objectives.
6. Ensure accountability
The board should ensure that the organisation is accountable as required by law to:
• The Charity Commission
• The Inland Revenue
• Customs and Excise
• The Registrar of Companies (if it is a company limited by guarantee).
The board also needs to make certain that the organisation is accountable to donors, beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, and the general public. This means publishing annual reports and accounts and communicating effectively.
7. Ensure compliance with the law
The board is responsible for making sure that all the organisation’s activities are legal.
8. Maintain proper fiscal oversight
The board is responsible for effectively managing the organisation’s resources so it can meet its charitable objects. It:
• Secures sufficient resources to fulfil the mission
• Monitors spending
• Approves the annual financial statement and budget
• Provides insurance to protect the organisation from liability
• Seeks to minimise risk
• Participates in fundraising (in some organisations)
• Ensures legal compliance
9. Select, manage and support the chief executive
The board creates policy covering the employment of the chief executive. It selects and supports the chief executive and reviews his or her performance.
10. Respect the role of staff
The board recognises and respects the domain of staff responsibility. At the same time, it creates policy to guide staff activities and safeguard the interests of the organisation.
11. Maintain effective board performance
The board keeps its own house in order. It takes steps to establish:
• Productive meetings
• High standards of trustee conduct
• Effective committees with adequate resources
• Development activities
• Recruitment and induction processes
• Regular performance reviews
• Partnership with consultants where necessary
12. Promote the organisation
Through its own behaviour, governance oversight and activities on behalf of the organisation the governing board enhances and protects the reputation of its organisation. Board members are good ambassadors for the organisation.