What is a Committee? Roles and Responsibilities

Slide 1

Welcome to this introduction to roles and responsibilities within committees, for small charities and voluntary groups by Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership between CCVS and Hunts Forum.

This short online module will give you an understanding of what a committee is, the roles and responsibilities within a committee, as well as some tips for success.

It is supported by a transcript and guidance links, that will take you to additional resources and information.

Slide 2

What is a Committee?

Every community group or organisation (most are Associations) and registered charity has a governing body, a group of people that manages its affairs or leads it into the future.

Slide 3

Most community associations and all charities have a constitution (or set of rules). A section of this defines the committee, including its size and how often it should meet.

Slide 4

The committee tends to be drawn from members of the association and is elected by them, usually at an annual general meeting (AGM). A very small group may meet informally and have no elected committee.

In this instance the entire association is the management committee and so are responsible for managing its affairs. Many associations with modest aims and activities run very successfully like this.

Slide 5

There are often different roles within a committee, and I will talk through these during this module.

Although responsibilities may vary within a committee, all members have the same legal and financial responsibilities.

Slide 6

Roles within a committee

The Chair

The chair is a trustee with a specific role on the board, they are elected or appointed, the main responsibilities of the chair are to

  • lead meetings of the committee, acting as the chair, moving the meeting forward.
  • Ensure clear policies and priorities, keeping you on track.
  • Act as the main spokesperson, for example, representing you group at functions, meetings or in the press.
  • takes urgent action (but not decision-making unless authorised) between meetings when it isn’t possible or practical to hold a meeting.
  • Then also, depending on the size of your group, supporting, and supervising the staff or chief executive and acting as a channel of communication between the board and staff team.

The responsibilities listed aren’t exclusively roles for the chair, but this gives you an understanding of what the role can include.

Slide 7

In addition to chair, some boards have the specific role of vice-chair.

The vice-chair’s role varies from charity to charity. In some charities the vice-chair acts as a deputy for the chair, taking on the chair’s role when the chair is absent. In others, the vice-chair is the ‘chair in waiting’ or ‘chair designate’ and will take over the chair’s role in the future.

Slide 8

There is also the Treasurer.

Generally, the treasurer helps committees carry out their financial responsibilities.

They might do this by:

  • presenting financial reports to the board in a format that helps the board understand the charity’s financial position.
  • advising the board on how to carry out its financial responsibilities.
  • working with professional advisors
  • overseeing the preparation and scrutiny of annual accounts

In small charities they take on some or all day-to-day financial duties, such as book-keeping, budgeting, and preparation of reports.

The work of the treasurer can vary significantly, depending on the size of your group or charities.

Slide 9

Then there is also the secretary.

Not all groups will have a secretary role, but it can help ensure that someone is taking lead on the admin and organisation of committee meetings.

They would generally be responsible for

  • Recording the decisions of the Committee
  • Ensuring minutes and papers are sent out in advance of meetings and that rooms are booked, or online meeting requests sent.
  • Dealing with any correspondence on behalf of the group.

You might also have sub-committees, depending on the size of your association or charity, to help you tackle particular tasks or topics.

More detail on these roles can be found on this web page, including links to template role descriptions.

Slide 10

What are the shared responsibilities of a committee?

Members of a committee are essentially a team that have joint responsibility for keeping a community group or charity on track.

For example, it is important to review your activities to ensure you continue to deliver what you were set-up for. The way you are involved will depend on the size of your group or charity.

Examples include:

Following your rules

Whilst some committee members might lead on elements, all should be familiar with your constitution. The constitution will set out things such as how often meetings should take place or who is entitled to attend.

Planning events & activities

If you are a small charity or association, members of the committee will likely play keys roles in the day to day running of your group’s activities, as well as making decisions about your future and finance’s.

Finance & Fundraising

Every committee member is responsible for making sure that the association accounts for its money properly. Fundraising is also an important task. This can include working out a basic budget and how your groups will raise funds.

Policies and procedures

Depending on what your group do, you will need policies and procedures to ensure you are doing it safely. Common policies needed by groups include health & safety, data protection and safeguarding. More information about policies is included within this module’s transcript.

Equal opportunities

Equal opportunities is something that should underpin everything that your group does, from running it’s activities to running its committee. The committee should ensure that is welcoming and considerate to all members and that all voices are heard and respected.

Insurance and liability

You will need to make sure you that have the right insurance in place, depending on what your group does. You can watch ‘introduction to insurance’ 0n-demand module for more information on this.

Get help if needed

Remember that you are not alone, and you’re not expected to know everything. Get expert advice if you need it and talk to your local CVS for support.

You can watch our ‘what trustees do’ on-demand module for more information on the responsibilities of trustees.

Slide 11

In summary, here are some tips for running successful committees.

  • Stay open and welcoming, this can help you develop the skills on the committee and bring in new viewpoints and ideas.
  • Think about how you can develop your committees’ skills or whether there are skills gaps you would like to recruit for
  • Can you offer flexibility, for example, can you arrange meetings at time that will suit people that are working or have caring responsibilities
  • Make sure meetings are constructive & to the point, that different opinions are valued, and everyone is treated with respect
  • Try to ensure the committee stay in the loop & get involved, this will help you move ideas forward and make the most of the team
  • Know, remember, prioritise the group’s purpose, this should be what you always go back to
  • And act as ambassadors, the committees can help raise awareness of your group, so be proud and champion what you do.

Slide 12

We hope that you have found this module helpful. Please do contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk if you would like further support. Thank you.


Guidance links: 

Starting your own community group — first steps

Hello and welcome to this video from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This module is the first of several we have developed to help people set up their own community group.

We have made this video for people who are considering setting up a formal group to benefit others in their local community – this first session considers what to think about before you start setting things up and we would recommend getting in touch with us to have a chat about what you want to do. if you are already steaming ahead and want to know more about how you might structure your group, we have other recordings you can look at. Guidance links to more information and templates are included in this transcript.

People start community groups for lots of reasons, they might want to:

  • Organise an event
  • Set up a group to support others
  • Set up a group to share common interests
  • Raise funds to help their community
  • Create and manage community spaces

Whatever your ideas before you get started it is worth asking yourself – What do you know about the people you want to help?

  • Can you consult with them to find out if they think your ideas are the best way to help them?
  • Is anyone else supporting the people you want to help? Have you spoken to them about your ideas? Could they offer some guidance or could you share resources?
  • Could you run what you want to do under the wing of another organisation and learn how they operate?

Who is helping you?

  • Do you have the right skills for this undertaking? If not you’ll need to find people who do
  • Do you have people willing to be actively involved and people willing to join your committee or will you need recruit them?

What will your role be?

This is something to consider as it may influence the structure you might go on to choose for your group

  • Are you happy to donate your time and skills for free long term?
  • Do you want to take a leadership role, helping steer the group forward?
  • If you need to be paid for your time at some point It is worth being aware that trustees of charities are not usually paid. So you will need to either hand over control to others or choose a non-charitable structure for your group. We talk more about options for structuring groups in another recording.

If you have considered all these questions and are still keen to set up your community group you might consider holding a public meeting to make more people aware of your ideas, engage more supporters and identify any key challenges you may not have already considered.

  • Find an accessible venue – think about when people will be available – if you want to attract people who work and have children you might organise an evening session and avoid school holidays. Could people participate virtually as well as in person? Does the venue have public liability insurance that will cover your event? You will need to undertake a risk assessment for the venue – here is a link to a checklist
  • Can you create an incentive to get people along? Could you get a local business to sponsor refreshments or get an interesting speaker? Maybe you could piggyback on an existing event?
  • Work out how you’ll convey what you want to achieve – you need a clear concise message you can put on a poster, on Facebook or anywhere your potential supporters might see it such as in the local newsletter, shops, library, community or sports centre.
  • Create an agenda Set out the objectives for the meeting and make sureyou agree next steps. If your meeting is well organised it suggests yourgroup will be well run and people may be more willing to get involved.
  • You will want to ask those attending to sign up to hear more about yourgroup or to offer support. How will you collect this information and how will you ensure you work within data protection legislation – more on this in a moment.
  • If you want to take photographs or video at the meeting, you will need to ask for permission. Here is a template for a permission form.

At this stage, it is worth being aware of some initial data protection guidance.

  • Only collect the information you need
  • Have a written statement called a privacy notice explaining what you will do with people’s data, how long you’ll keep it for and how you will keep it safe. Ask people to tick a box to say that they agree to you contacting them by email or by phone. You also need to tell them how they can ask you to delete their data. Here is a link to a Sample privacy notice 

Hopefully, after your public meeting, you now have a team of people interested in helping you get the group set up and start arranging activities. Your next step is to set up your group deciding how you’ll be structured. We have further recordings looking at whether your group is charitable and what governance structure you might choose.

Check out other recordings in this series and to get more help and support contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Is your group a charity?

Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This module is the 2nd of several short recordings we have developed to help people set up their own community group. We consider how you know if your group is a charity and what this means. There are links to useful information to support you in the transcript.

Why does it matter?

  • Charities can access grant funding and tax advantages unavailable to other groups
  • People are more likely to donate to a charity
  • Because of these advantages, charities are required to follow rules set by the Charity Commission even if they are not registered.

What makes a group charitable?

  • Charities are independent organisations, which are established for purposes that add value to the community, or a significant section of the community, and which are not permitted by their constitution to make a profit for private distribution. Charities do not include local government or other statutory authorities.
  • To be charitable an organisation must be set up exclusively to achieve charitable purposes as defined by charity law
  • You must also be set up for public benefit to ensure the benefit will outweigh any potential harm and will apply to a sufficient section of the public.

If your group’s aims meet both these criteria, then you are a charity even though you may not be registered with the Charity Commission.

Who runs a charity

  • Charities are managed by volunteers known as trustees, although some groups call them something else such as committee members, governors or directors, Charity trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run.

What are charitable purposes?

  • As already mentioned, to be a charity you must be set up exclusively to deliver one or more of the 13 charitable purposes defined in charity law
  • Charitable purposes include the prevention or relief of poverty, the relief of those in needs by reason of youth, age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage and the advancement of animal welfare. The guidance in the accompanying links explains how the law interprets these purposes in very specific ways.
  • If the aims of your group are not exclusively about one or more of the charitable purposes outlined in legislation and/or you are not benefiting a sufficient section of the public then it is not a charity.

Can you meet the public benefit test?

  • It must be clear what the benefits of your charity are
  • They must be related to the aims of the charity
  • The benefit must outweigh any harm
  • The benefit must be for the public or a section of the public
  • Where the benefit is to a section of the public, the opportunity to benefit must not be unreasonably restricted:
    o by the ability to pay any fees charged
    o People in poverty must not be excluded from the opportunity to benefit
    o Any private benefits must be incidental

The Charity Commission give some examples:

If you were set up to display art under the advancement of art purpose, you may need to provide evidence of artistic merit. Or if you were set up to run training programmes under an advancement of education purpose you would need to show evidence of learning having taken place.

Many organisations are set up to do things which benefit a particular community or group of people, or that are generally understood to be ‘good’. Not all of these organisations will be capable of being charities. This is because not everything that benefits the community, or a group of people is necessarily charitable. Crucially, an organisation should identify precisely what activities it undertakes, and show that it carries out its activities amongst people who are disadvantaged in some way may be by their age or ill health or because they are experiencing financial hardship. The organisation must demonstrate that its activities deliver improvement for the people it is set up to help.

You are NOT a charity if…

  • You are not set up to exclusively deliver one or more of the 13 charitable purposes and you are not benefiting a sufficient section of the public.

If you are not a charity

  • You can write your own rules within the law
  • You do not have to report to the Charity Commission.
  • If you are setting up a sports club there is likely to be an umbrella organisation for your sport that can offer a template and Sport England can also offer advice. There is a link to this in the information in the transcript of the recording.

Your next steps?

If you think your group is charitable check out our recording What structure will you choose?

Need some help? For more support, you can contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Guidance links

Guidance on charitable purposes

Public benefit rules for charities

Governing documents for non-charitable groups

Sport England club matters

What structure will you choose?

Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This module is one of several short recordings we have developed to help people set up their own community groups. This part considers which governing structure you might select for your group. Alongside these recordings, you will find guidance links in this transcript.

These are the main legal structures for charities

  • Type 1 An unregistered charity or association or a registered charity
  • Type 2 A charitable Incorporated Organisation also known as a CIO
  • Type 3 A company limited by guarantee
  • Type 4 A trust
  • Type 5 A community benefit society

Do you need to be incorporated?

What your charity wants to do is likely to dictate the structure, but it also links to how much risk your trustees are willing to take – which comes down to whether you need to be incorporated.

Incorporated groups have a legal standing similar to a person, which means the group can make legal commitments, such as entering into contracts, rather than the trustees as individuals having to make this commitment. This means trustees of incorporated groups are not personally liable for the group’s actions. An incorporated structure is most appropriate for groups which intend to trade, raise large sums and or enter into legally binding contracts such as employing staff and managing property.

Conversely, unincorporated groups cannot enter into contracts in their own right and a trustee must enter the contract in their own name – for example setting up an insurance policy for the group. An unincorporated structure is most appropriate for groups with low incomes and without employees or property.

Income below £5,000pa

  • If you are likely to start up with an annual income of below £5000 pa – the two most popular structures are to set up as an unregistered charity (also known as a charitable association) or as Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
  • Unlike a registered charity, an unregistered charity is, as the name suggests, not registered with the Charity Commission because its income is below £5000 pa. But both registered and unregistered charities will be run by a group of trustees, are unincorporated so trustees are personally responsible for any of the charity’s financial and legal obligations and are required to comply with Charity Commission rules. However, unregistered charities do not send in a report of their activities or accounts to the Charity Commission.
  • To set up an unregistered charity all you need to do is to find at least one other person willing to be a trustee and complete and sign a constitution we would recommend using the charity commission template and the link is in the transcript associated with this recording. You don’t need to register your group anywhere you can just get started. If the group’s income reaches £5000 per year it will then need to register with the Charity Commission – if this looks like it might happen to your group get in touch as we can help with this.
  • The second option is to set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which as the name suggests is incorporated – so it exists as a separate legal entity. You can set up from the beginning as a CIO as there is no minimum income requirement. There are two types of CIO: an Association model which has voting members and trustees, and a Foundation model which does not have voting members and is run by appointed trustees. CIOs are registered with the Charity Commission and must provide accounts and annual returns. To set up a CIO is more complex than an unregistered charity and we would recommend speaking to us for guidance.

Income above £5,000 pa

  • If you have an annual income of above £5000 – the two most popular options for governance structure are to become a registered charity or a CIO.
  • To apply to become either a registered charity or a CIO you have to meet various legal requirements to prove you are a charity in the eyes of the law and once you are registered you have to comply with Charity Commission rules, which includes sending in reports and accounts – the level of reporting depends on the income.
  • However, as you may recall a registered charity is not incorporated so the option most groups will go with is to set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which we discussed on the previous slide.

Other options?

There are other structures you can use to set up a charity, but they are less frequently used:

  • A charitable company is a limited company registered with companies house that has charitable aims – charitable companies are set up using a Memorandum and Articles of Association rather than a constitution However once income reaches £5000 per annum the company must also register with the Charity Commission and will then need to report to both regulators annually.
  • If you are setting up a committee to manage a particular asset or legacy you might set up as a Charitable Trust
  • Where communities are managing community assets such as a community shop or community owned pub they may choose to become a Community Benefit Society which is owned and run by its members for the benefit of the wider community. If these societies meet charitable criteria, they can call themselves charities. They are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and not the Charity Commission. They are incorporated and can have paid directors.

This chart summarises which charity structure is incorporated. This means the name and therefore the liability on any contracts is the charity’s and not the trustees. The chart also highlights who the legal regulator is for each legal structure i.e. the organisation that sets the rules and who the charity has to report to.

How will you be funded?

Another consideration in your choice of structure, is how you expect to fund your activities. If you anticipate your funding coming from small donations or grants then your trustees may feel that their level of liability is acceptable and they are happy to work within an unincorporated structure. But once your organisation starts entering into contracts with grant funders or commissioners for larger amounts or engages in the sale of good or services in a more major way the financial risks increase, and trustees are more likely to want an incorporated structure to limit their liability. Some charities are run as social enterprises which means that rather than seeking donations and grants they obtain most of their funding by offering goods or services to consumers or commissioners.

Social enterprises

A Social enterprise is not a legal structure in its own right, it describes a business that is driven by social objectives rather than profit. A charity can be set up to act as a social enterprise but it is limited by charity law so for example if your charity is set up to advance education you can only sell services connected to education. Social enterprises can also be set up as social businesses, these do not have to follow Charity law. One form a social business might take is as a Community Interest Company (CIC) these straddle the boundary between charity and business ploughing significant parts of any profit back to support social aims but still being able to offer dividends to private investors . There are links on this topic below.

Need some help contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Guidance links

How to choose a structure

Model governing documents

How to write you charity’s governing document

How to register your charity

How to change your charity’s structure

Setting up a social enterprise

The Essential trustee: what you need to know

Writing or amending your governing document

Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This recording is one of several we have developed to help people set up their own community group.

We have made this recording for people who are considering setting up a formal group to benefit others in their local community or who may already be set up and want to amend their governing document. This recording summarises what you need to consider, and we would recommend getting in touch with us to have a chat about what you want to do. There are links to useful information to support you in the transcript document.

What is a governing document?

  • Your governing document acts as the charity’s “rule book” and should specify the rights and obligations of the charity’s trustees, and any members. It also includes guidance on the way in which the charity can act, helping to ensure that its activities are aimed at benefiting the public and stay charitable. Most charities are regulated by the Charity Commission and it is highly recommended that you use their model documents when creating your governing document. Links to these are with the information alongside this recording. Occasionally an existing registered charity may be unable to find the latest version of its governing document and they can submit an enquiry form to the Charity Commission to obtain a copy.
  • Charitable governing documents are usually known as constitutions and the Charity Commission offers templates to meet the needs of the different charitable structures. If your group is also registered with Companies’ House as a charitable company, its governing document will be called a memorandum and articles of association. See our recording on structuring your charity for more on this topic.

What should a governing document cover?

  • The name of your charity and any other names it might also be known as
  • The purposes you are set up to deliver – they are described as objects when you write them into your document. These are one or more of the 13 charitable purposes outlined in charity law – you can find out more about these in recording 2 of this series, The charity’s income and property must be applied only for the purposes set out in the governing document.
  • The document will also cover who you will benefit – which might be defined by particular characteristics or geography or both.
  • How you will operate – if you follow the Charity Commission template it will require you to make some decisions about the numbers of trustees you will have and how many need to be present at a meeting to make a decision, you’ll also need to decide how often you’ll have meetings and if you will have remote and/or face to face meetings. Most charities have a minimum of 2-3 trustees and will require at least 2 to be present to make any decisions. If you are hoping to get some grant funding, you may find some funders will specify how many trustees (who are not related to each other) should be present to make a decision also known as being quorate– it is worth checking what your potential grant funder rules are on this.
  • The dissolution or wind up clause covers how you will distribute any remaining assets in the event of your charity closing. This stipulates that any assets remaining after any liabilities have been met will be distributed to another charity usually one with a similar mission or location.

Creating an objects clause

  • The Charity commission templates ask you to fill in your charitable objects. If you are an unregistered charity or association and you are confident your annual turnover will stay below £5000 the wording you use in your objects clause will not be scrutinised by the Charity Commission although it may be seen by supporters and potential funders – so it should still be a good reflection of what your group aims to do, where, for who and how.
  • The example of a charitable object shown on the slide is provided by the Charity Commission and links to more guidance can be found in the information available in the guidance links.

Example: For the public benefit, the relief and assistance of people in need (what)in any part of the world (where) who are the victims of war or natural disaster or catastrophe (who) by supplying them with medical aid(how).

  • The Charity Commission provides examples of charitable objects on its website. If one of those describes the aims of your own charity, you can copy it. Your charity registration will take less time if you can use one of those example objects without any alteration.
  • Another tip is to look on the register of charities to find other recently set up charities with a structure, mission and activities similar to yours and use that as the basis to create your wording. You must write your charitable objects correctly or when you try to register your charity with the charity commission your application may be rejected.

Adopting your governing document

Having completed your document, the next step is for the trustees to sign the document and minute their agreement to adopt the governing document. If you have an income of under £5000 and are an unregistered charity or charitable association you don’t need to send your document anywhere else. Charities registered with a regulator will need to submit their governing document to that regulator.

Amending your governing document

  • At some point you may need to amend your governing document, for example to keep pace of changes in the law or to enable you to operate more efficiently. An example of this would be, charities established before the use of virtual meetings became commonplace, whose trustees want to be able to meet online but don’t have a provision for this in their governing document.
  • Your governing document should outline how you go about making necessary alterations. For administrative changes this typically involves creating a resolution outlining the desired change and sending this to the members of the charity who have voting rights (this is not always just the trustees it depends on your structure). Voting members then meet to vote on whether to accept the change. You should inform your regulator of changes to your governing document as soon as possible (Companies’ House should be informed within 15 days). Regulated changes such as to the charity’s objects, trustee benefits, and winding up clause need more consideration and may require the prior consent of the Charity Commission. We’ll look at this in the next 2 slides. If your governing document does not stipulate how you make alterations the charity commission provides guidance on how to go about it.

Charity Commission permissions for incorporated charities to make ‘regulatory changes’

Incorporated charities include Charitable Incorporated Organisations and Charitable Companies need the prior permission of the Charity Commission when they want to make ‘regulated changes’ to their governing document. This includes changes to charitable objects, the wind-up or dissolution clause and trustee benefits. The 2022 Charity Act will amend some of the rules on how charities can amend their governing documents, but the amendments relating to this topic will not be implemented until  late 2023.

Charity Commission permissions for unincorporated charities to make ‘regulatory changes’

This covers unincorporated charities including Registered charities and Charitable Trusts. At present small charities with incomes of less than £10,000 pa do not need prior consent to change their charitable objects. However, this is set to change in late 2023 when new rules will make it easier for larger unincorporated charities to make changes– but removing the ability for smaller unincorporated charities to make changes to their purposes without the Commission’s consent. Please note there are different rules for making changes to the governing documents of charities governed by Royal Charter and Acts of Parliament

Writing or amending your governing document

We hope you found this recording helpful please take a look at the other recordings we have made in this series on setting up a community group. And to get more help and support contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Guidance links

How to write you charity’s governing document

Making changes to your governing document

Insurance for small charity and voluntary groups

Hello, welcome to this introduction to insurance for small charities and voluntary groups by Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership between CCVS and Hunts Forum.

This short online module will help you to consider whether your small charity or voluntary group needs insurance, the different types of cover that’s available, how you can make sure you get the cover that you need, as well as providing a summary of top tips to help you through the process.

This module is supported by guidance links (see end of this webpage).

Do you need insurance?

Sometimes there are misconceptions that the need for insurance only applies to established organisations. However, this isn’t true. It is NOT only registered charities that need to think about insurance.

If you were an unregistered charity or community group that are involved with the public in anyway, insurance should be on your agenda.

But it is worth noting that not all insurance providers offer cover to unregistered charities, so you might need to shop around.

You will need to think about insurance, even if you’re renting a room in a building that is run by another group. You may be covered by their public liability insurance, however, it’s very important to check, rather than to assume.

If you are not covered by their insurance, you will need to take out your own.

Even if you don’t have staff, you may still need insurance. It’s about keeping yourselves and the public safe.

What types of cover might you need?

What you will need will depend on the type of charity that you are, the types of activity that you run, and what assets you have.

If you are a small charity or community group, it is likely that you will need public liability insurance.

Public Liability Insurance

It’s difficult to think of an example where a charity group or organisation does not need to consider public liability insurance. Most charities have public liability insurance as an enabler of their services, events, and fundraising activities.

You will need public liability insurance if you interact with the public in anyway:

  • It protects against accidental property damage or injury to a member of the public.
  • It will cover the payment of legal costs and damages to defend a claim against your organisation.
  • It can also provide cover for your volunteers. However, check this with your provider as approaches can vary.

Public liability can also include product liability if you make or sell goods. And property owners’ liability if you’re responsible for, or own a building.

What other types of cover might you need?

In this section I will talk through other types of insurance cover that you may find helpful and relevant to your organisation.

  • Trustee indemnity insurance. Regardless of good intent, trustees can be held liable for poor decisions or wrongful actions, if they have caused a loss to the group. Trustee indemnity insurance covers the legal expenses of defending a trustee against disqualification investigations or even extradition proceedings. Trustees should give serious consideration to this cover. Without it, should an allegation of mismanagement be made against them, they may need to defend the claim out of their own personal wealth.
  • Personal accident insurance. This provides a financial benefit should an employee, volunteer or trustee suffer accidental bodily injury whilst carrying out their duties for your organisation.
  • Insurance for vehicles kept on the road will cover the vehicles that you own as an organisation.
  • Product liability insurance is relevant if you make or sell goods. This may be covered under public liability insurance, however, if not, you may need to take it out separately.
  • Professional indemnity insurance. This insurance covers your group against poor or negligent advice provided to service users, which has resulted in them suffering a financial loss. It’s generally considered essential if your group provides advice and an example would be offering counselling sessions. It covers the legal costs in defending a claim as well as any compensation or damages payable to the claimant.
  • Employers’ liability insurance. If your community group has employees, employer liability insurance is a legal requirement. It covers your group against allegations of injury or illness suffered by staff during their employment. Without it, your group could face a fine of up to £2500 for every day it is uninsured.
  • Buildings and contents insurance. If your charity owns a property, you may want to insure it against damage from risks such as flood, fire, or malicious damage. Whether it’s a large community building or a small wooden pavilion, it can help.
  • If your charity is not responsible for insuring the premises itself, but you still want to protect the contents held within it, then contents insurance will be relevant for you. This will protect items such as office equipment, furniture and tools.

So how do you make sure that you’re getting the cover that you need?

Make sure that the person talking to the insurance companies knows about how you operate and the services that you provide.

This will enable you to act together with the insurance provider to ensure that all your activities and assets are covered.

It is also helpful to keep a note of the conversations that you have. This will help you to compare the different offers, make sure that you’re getting the best quote and have something to look back on at a later date.

Preparing for a quote

During the process of getting a quote, you will be asked questions about your organisation.

Within this section, I will talk through some of the key things that the insurance provider is likely to ask you about, so that you can be prepared.

  • People: If you have paid staff, you may be asked for payroll numbers. If you have volunteers, you might be asked how many. You might also be asked the total number of volunteer hours, perhaps in an average week.
  • Events: And then, if you hold a lot of fundraising events, you’ll need to know how many events you run each year, how many people attend and how much cover you need for money that is being handled during the event.
  • Buildings: If you need cover for a building, your insurer may want to know the cost of rebuilding your property.
  • Safety: If you work closely with children or adults at risk, you may also be asked about your safeguarding policies and procedures. It is also very likely that you’ll be asked if your organisation completes risk assessments.

Risk assessments in five steps

Having your risk assessment in place and documented is important, as it creates awareness of the risks and hazards your organisation faces and reduces the likelihood of damage.

It also provides crucial evidence in defending a claim. To help you prepare and maintain your risk assessment you can follow these five simple steps. We’ve also provided some further information in the guidance links.

  • Firstly, identify the hazards associated with your work or services.
  • Identify who might be harmed, and how. This might include your staff, volunteers, service users and members of the public, etc.
  • Evaluate the risks and controls. What are you already doing? What measures are in place? What further action do you need to take?
  • Record, communicate and retain documentation. It is important to keep a record of the controls that you put in place. This will usually be in a form of a risk assessment and a health and safety policy. This is key to demonstrating that your organisation has considered all the guidance and, if something were to happen, took reasonable steps to measure and manage risk.
  • Lastly, remember to monitor the controls that you’ve put in place and review them, as things change. Your risk assessments should be working documents, rather than something that sits on the shelf.

Key points to bear in mind

In summary, if you’re a small charity or voluntary group that needs to get insurance, you might like to keep these key points in mind.

  • Firstly, it is the management committee’s responsibility to make sure that you have the insurance that you need.
  • Secondly, do your homework. Make sure you understand what your organisation’s activities and assets are, to make sure that you get the best cover for you.
  • If you are unsure or have more complex needs as an organisation, talk to an insurance broker if you can.
  • Also remember to update your policies as needed.
  • If your situation changes and you start delivering new activities or have different assets, remember to contact your insurer and update your policy.

We hope that you have found this module helpful

However, if you need some help, do contact us on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk and don’t forget to check out our guidance links for more information.

Guidance links and sources


Risk assessments

Contacts for insurance: please note, this does not constitute a recommendation for any of the companies or their products by Support Cambridgeshire.

Insurance brokers and companies

Bank accounts and financial controls

Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This module is one of several short recordings we have developed to help people set up a charity to benefit others in their local community – this session looks at opening a bank account and putting the necessary financial controls in place –There are guidance links to support you alongside this recording.

This information is intended for small groups without assets or endowments.

Taking care of finances

If you are an independent group and regularly need to manage funds, your group will probably need its own bank account. You are also likely to need one if you want to apply for grants. To ensure your group will manage the money coming in and out of the group legally and safely you will also need some financial controls in place.

A group’s management committee is responsible for keeping accurate financial records and ensuring funds are spent only on activities that deliver the aims of the group, as outlined in their constitution. The committee will usually delegate the keeping of financial records to the treasurer who will give a report at each meeting.

Tools for financial control

As already mentioned, responsibility for finances rests with the committee and for small groups the key tools to ensure good financial control are:

  • A well-managed bank account
  • A financial controls policy
  • An up-to-date record of receipts and expenditure
  • Budget for a defined period typically 12 months

Finding a bank account

Opening a bank account can be quite longwinded and you should not be surprised if it takes several weeks to open. There are more options available for registered charities, but unregistered community groups can also open accounts. Free community accounts are usually found in the business section on bank websites, and it can be an advantage if one of the potential signatories is an existing customer.

Considerations when choosing a bank account

There are some things to think about when choosing a bank account:

  • Make sure the bank is regulated and is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and that there is no fee for banking with them – so long as you remain in credit.
  • Think about what sort of account you need – a current account with instant access or do you need a savings account and/or credit facilities? Do you need a debit card? Check if a bank has a minimum balance requirement or limits on the number of transactions.
  • Do you need to have physical access to your bank eg taking in cash? This is an increasing issue with so many banks closing branches.
  • How will you authorise payments? Can you set up a dual mandate where the bank requires 2 signatures on each transaction, or can you set up your own 2-stage system of authorisation keeping robust records? I’ll come back to having good internal financial controls shortly.
  • Are the bank’s ethical policies important to your group? For example, do you object if they do business with certain industries?
  • The potential signatories should be eligible, not declared bankrupt or convicted of fraud and prepared to share a lot of detailed information with the bank.
  • If you are a registered charity, you have more options for example you can apply to the Coop for their direct plus account which qualifies you to apply for £1000 from their customer donation fund
  • If you use additional services, check if there is a charge. Take care not to go overdrawn as you are likely to incur a fee.

Tips for setting up your bank account

  • Clarify who the bank expects to see ID for and what sort of ID do they need to have. The bank is likely to want to see a photo ID to confirm identity and ID to confirm addresses.
  • Most applications have a time limit, make sure all the people involved can respond promptly to requests for information.
  • Make sure you are complying with your own governing document.
  • Make sure you have all the information the bank needs available – they will usually want to see a signed and dated copy of your governing document and signed minutes agreeing to the bank account application.

Financial controls

Financial controls are put in place to ensure you keep to the rules laid out in your governing document, prevent fraud, avoid mistakes, and help you prepare you annual accounts.

The financial controls policy covers controls around income

There is a template for a financial control policy in the guidance links. It sets out controls around income including:

  • How will cash or cheques be handled.
  • How will committee members ensure they are satisfied that any donations are appropriate and legitimate.
  • Any income made from selling things needs to stick to Charity Commission rules on trading income (see in the guidance links for detail on charities and trading income)
  • Any fundraising must comply with fundraising code. The fundraising code sets out how charities are expected to behave in the way they ask for and manage donations, in how they handle people’s data and in their approach to working with vulnerable people, there is a link to this in the guidance.

Controls around expenditure

The financial control policy also describes how your bank account will be managed including:

  • Payments should be authorised by 2 signatories
  • Debit cards should be kept securely
  • Bank accounts should be checked /reconciled against statements monthly
  • The treasurer should present a report at each committee meeting.

It outlines how invoices will be raised and authorised and how expenses should be paid and if you have it how petty cash is managed.

Are there any reserves that need to be built up to meet liabilities should you lose some funding or must close? For example, if you lease an office how much notice are your required to give? You should ensure money is put aside i.e.,designated in reserves for this and not put into the pot of funding you may utilise for non-essential spending.

The policy will also stipulate how you record any assets so they can be well-managed, for example, equipment belonging to the group.

Financial controls also put in place safeguards to manage risks such as putting in place measures to minimise cybercrime and fraud, for example by using a password manager and setting up transaction alerts on electronic banking.

Receipt and payment accounts

Non-Company charities with incomes of under £250k pa prepare the simplest type of accounts – receipt and payment accounts which summarise all money received and paid out and a statement giving details of the group’s assets and liabilities at the end of the year.

All charities registered or not have to keep accounting records namely invoices and receipts for at least 6 years.

The guidance links include a template for setting up a receipts and payments account on an excel spreadsheet. You can see that it lists 2 types of funds.

Unrestricted are funds available for running the organisation and restricted are funds which have been ringfenced for a particular purpose such as a grant to run a coach trip.

Preparing a budget

A budget is an estimate of your income and expenditure for a set period. It is your realistic best guess of what is going to happen. It is not set in stone, and it will be adjusted as necessary with the agreement of the committee. The example shown here is a simple budget, but for organisations with more activities, you might want to split costs into fixed costs – where the costs are the same regardless of what the group does eg rent/website hosting/insurance and variable costs which will depend on what the groups choose to do such as the promotional costs. You might also want to plan the income and expenses out for each month – this will help to ensure you always have enough cash to cover your outgoings.

A budget is a planning tool for the committee, which you would share will your supporters along with your receipts and expenditure account at your AGM.

To summarise

To summarise how do you maintain good financial control

  • Put a financial controls policy in place and make sure everyone follows it
  • Prepare a budget to plan ahead
  • Check your bank account against your statement monthly and report on the bank account at each meeting
  • Report on receipts and expenditures at each meeting

Need some help contact us at info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Guidance links

Business Planning – Starting your own community group

Slide 1

Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum. This module is one of several recordings we have developed to help people who are considering setting up or developing a charity. This session is introducing the idea of business planning to make sure you get the best possible result with the resources you have. Business planning involves looking ahead to what the charity wants to achieve over the next 1 – 3 years rather than being a detailed operational plan or much longer-term strategic plan.

Once agreed a business plan gives your committee something to work with to help maintain focus and to share with others such as supporters and potential funders. If you are considering registering your charity with the Charity Commission, it can be helpful to include a business plan with your application.

The guidance links, available in the end of this transcript, will provide you with all the materials we mention. This includes resources to create a business plan and this session will take you through some of the main things you need to think about.

Slide 2 Creating a plan

Planning involves knowing what you want to achieve, for who, how and when. There is no set format for a business plan, but typically it will cover:

  1. Background to the charity & operating environment
  2. Aims the charity will focus on during the lifetime of the plan
  3. Financing the plan
  4. Risks associated with the plan
  5. Evaluating performance

Slide 3 Background

Background content includes the Charity’s name, legal status, how it began and its charitable objects as outlined in its governing document.  An example charitable object might be to improve the conditions of life for local people through social welfare and recreation.

This part of the plan would also cover:

  • Your Vision – your hopes and ambitions for the future

An example of a vision might be – We want a town where all older people have the opportunity to live fulfilled lives

  • Your Mission– outlines why you exist

An example of a mission might be – To find the expertise and resources to support the social inclusion of older people in our town

  • Values – act as guide as to how you will achieve your mission

For example: Client focused , Supportive of each other

  • Intended outcomes are the differences that need to take place to deliver your mission. An example of an outcome is – Older people in the community feel less lonely. For more information on outcomes see the guidance links at the end of this transcript.
  • You should also include the Relevant skills and experience of your team and any existing Strategy this is the long-term plan (5 plus years) for the charity, if you have developed a strategy include a summary in your business plan. There is a link to a guide to strategic planning at the end of this document.

Slide 4   Demonstrating need

Looking at your group’s operating environment you will need to show evidence of what is needed most, what else is available locally and ask local people what they want. The group could research people’s views and might also ask the views of other groups and organisations offering support in the community.  It might also be appropriate for look for published data showing evidence of need such as information from the census.  There are links to data sources at the end of this transcript.

Slide 5 Identify the resources you have in place

You also need to think about your resources, how many people you have to help, whether you need to find more people? What skills do you need, what facilities you have access to and what funds are you likely to be able to raise?

Planning tools

There are many planning tools available, to help your organisation identify the additional resources that are needed to help you deliver your identified outcomes. Some of these tools are referred to in the links below and we’ll look at a couple in the next few slides.

Slide 6

A SWOT analysis is one of the most straightforward tools and is intended to help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing your organisation.

Slide 7

A PESTLE analysis will help you review the wider context you operate within. We have provided  guidance links for both these tools.

Slide 8 Setting aims and milestones

  • The group’s research will help steer how they prioritise what they do over the next 1 to 3 years. Their aims are expressed as broad statements of intent. For example, the research might show that people living alone with limited money and mobility might want more opportunities to meet with others locally to reduce loneliness. Therefore, one aim of the group might be – The development of activities for older people in our community (identified as socially isolated) by Mar 2026
  • To track the charity’s performance in meeting an aim you can set some milestones – these are significant steps towards achieving your aim: An example of a milestone might be that there is a 25% increase in the number of older people engaging in community activities by Oct 2024

Slide 9 Setting measurable objectives

Your objectives are how you will progress towards your aims they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) so that you can track your progress.

An example of an objective might be – We will develop a community car scheme offering 20 lifts a week by Sept 2023

The NCVO provide guidance on setting objectives – check out the guidance links at the end of this transcript.

Slide 10 Developing and marketing activities

Your group should develop activities that you have reason to think will deliver the aims and outcomes you want to achieve.  You should then market these activities to your intended beneficiaries and those that support and advise them.

Our example group are looking at activities that will bring people who are socially isolated together and help them feel less lonely.

Your business plan will include a summary of your activities and how your will market them leaving the detail to your operational plan.

Slide 11 Financing the plan – review potential income streams

Most charities are funded through a combination of funding sources. Ideally the funding should be spread across potential funding streams to avoid over reliance on one area of funding.  Donations might be small one-off payments, in response to a collection, or regular donations through direct debits or legacies from wills. You may also be able to apply to grant funders – grants tend to be restricted to fund projects that meet the funders priorities, although some funders will fund general running costs. Your charity may be able to sell some goods or services relevant to its charitable objects, and use the profits from this trading income to fund charitable activities. Or you might be funded by a statutory commissioner to deliver a service. Your business plan should consider which of these funding sectors you will pursue and how.

Image of square with four squares, each has text in, donor, grant funder, consumer, commissioner

Slide 12 Financing the plan – projected rolling budget

A budget is an essential planning tool, it is an estimate of your income and expenditure for a set period – your realistic best guess of what is going to happen. It is not set in stone, and it will be adjusted as necessary with the agreement of the committee.  The slide shows an example of a rolling budget for the 3 years covered by the business plan.  The notes state the key assumptions being made. For more information about creating a budget see our recording on putting in place financial controls.

Slide 13 Assess organisational risk

All organisations face risk and a business plan needs to address this.

To manage organisational risk those managing the group need to think more broadly, identifying the possible risks, the likelihood of the risks occurring and the impact that risk would have.  They then need to consider ways to reduce the risk. As an example of a governance risk, a committee member neglects or forgets to mention, that they have a close family member who will receive a financial benefit from a decision the charity has made. This is a conflict of interest, and if unaddressed could lead to allegations of corruption and potentially invalidate the organisation’s decision-making process. A group reduces the risk of this occurring by following good practice for example by maintaining a conflict of interest register and making declaration of any conflict a standing item at each meeting. Other areas of risk might be:

  • Operational risk for example, difficulty finding volunteers to run activities
  • Financial risk such as lack of available funds to pay bills
  • External risk for example, reduced donations due to cost-of-living pressures on supporters
  • Regulatory risk such as anticipated changes in legislation resulting in increased costs.

The Charity Commission provide a risk register template to help charities assess these sorts of risk.

Slide 14 The key policies and procedures shown here help mitigate risk  

  • Health & Safety including risk assessments
  • Equality policy
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Financial policy
  • Conflict of interest policy

Get in touch with us if you require support with these policies and procedures.

Slide 15 Evaluating performance

Finally, you will want to know that the activities you are running are achieving your goals. Ideally you will collect feedback for each of the activities you are running and pull these findings together to give you an overall picture of your progress against your stated objectives. In our community group example, the group will want to know that the people in their community, are coming along to their activities and feeling less lonely. To find this out they could measure numbers taking part and ask people for postcodes so they can check if they are local. They could ask those attending (or a sample of them) some questions to establish if they may be feeling lonely. The campaign to end loneliness have produced 3 brief questions groups can ask. The group could then ask the same people the same questions periodically to see if there is change. Depending on the result the group may decide to amend their activities and continue to monitor them. The group might also undertake a survey of local people to obtain their views on the group’s activities.

There is guidance link below which includes the measurement tool developed by The campaign to end loneliness 

There are lots of other measurement tools you can use and these are also shown in the guidance links.

You can also contact us for help.

Slide 16 To find out more and for further help and guidance please contact us at info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Guidance links:

Guide to strategic planning

What do trustees have to do?


Hello and welcome to this recording from Support Cambridgeshire, a partnership of Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum.  This session is an introduction to the duties of charity trustees and it is one of a number of recordings we have produced around setting up and running a small charity or association.  We have provided links to the resources I’ll refer to which you will find alongside this recording.  

The Charity Commission is the regulator for most charities and they have produced core guidance for trustees called ‘The essential trustee’ this session focuses on the 6 main duties of trustees 

Slide 2 

Let’s go back to basics for a moment by looking at what defines a trustee and a charity. Trustees aren’t always called trustees they might be called board members, management committee members, governors, directors or something else. But what they all have in common is they share the ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it’s managed and run. 


Charities are independent organisations, which are established for purposes that add value to the community as a whole, or a significant section of the community, and which are not permitted by their constitution to make a profit for private distribution.  

  • To be charitable you must be set up exclusively to achieve charitable  purposes as defined by charity law.  Charities registered with the charity commission will have their charitable purposes described as objects in their constitution.  More on this in a moment 
  • To be charitable you much also be set up for public benefit which means the benefit must outweigh any potential harm and will apply to a sufficient section of the public. 
  • If your group’s aims meet both the above criteria then you are a charity but if  you are set if your income is below £5000 pa depending on your structure you may not be registered with the Charity Commission.   


This chart summarises the main legal structures for charities – there is a link for more detail on these structures but what I want to point out to you is that the rules a charity has to abide by and the regulator they report to will differ depending on how they are structured.  So you can see that charitable companies also known a companies limited by guarantee have 2 regulators and community benefit societies don’t answer to the Charity Commission but to the Financial Conduct Authority. 

The other key element a charity’s structure dictates is the level of liability the trustee has to third parties.  So Incorporated groups have a legal standing similar to a person, which means the group can make legal commitments such as entering into contracts rather than the trustees as individuals having to make this commitment. This means that like a limited company trustee liability is usually limited to £1.  Just as in the wider corporate world there are exceptional circumstances when trustees in incorporated charities can be held personally liable but these relate to a demonstrable failure in trustees carry out their duties such a knowing ignoring fraud. 

Unincorporated groups cannot enter into contracts in their own right and a trustee must enter the contract in their own name – this is normally limited to things such as setting up an insurance policy for the group or accepting a small grant.  If an unincorporated charity was to enter into a contract to deliver a service and run out of funds and be unable to meet its liabilities the trustees could be personal liable for these liabilities.  Because of this an unincorporated structure is most appropriate for groups with low incomes, no delivery contracts and without employees or property that way they keep the level of risk low. 

Slide 5 

But to reassure you by acting with care and skill you limit your liability.  Hundreds of thousands of people have acted as trustees to charities for many decades without incident. And where something has gone wrong, the law generally seeks to protect individual trustees from personal risk where they have acted in good faith and complied with their trustees’ duties.  This is encapsulated in this quote from the charity commission 

‘The Charity Commission recognises that most trustees are volunteers who sometimes make honest mistakes.  Trustees are not expected to be perfect – they are expected to do their best to comply with their duties.  Charity law generally protects trustees who have acted honestly and reasonably.’Charity Commission: The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do 

Slide 6 

The rest of this recording is going to be looking at the main duties.  This infographic has been produced by the Charity Commission and summarises the six main duties. I’m going to be taking this apart and looking at each one. 

Slide 7 

  1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for public benefit 

It used to be that charitable purposes were limited to advancement education, prevention or relief of poverty and advancement religion but the 2011 Charity Act defined 10 additional charitable purposes including The advancement of Citizenship or community development  which includes promoting volunteering or the voluntary sector and community capacity building 

And The advancement of Environmental protection or improvement which includes preservation and conservation of the natural environment and the promotion of sustainable development 

Trustee are required to inform themselves about how their charity is fulfilling its purposes and benefiting the public and what difference their charity is really making. 

Slide 8 

  1. Complying with your governing document

All registered charities have a governing document it lays out the rules by which your charity must operate. This might be called a constitution, or if the charity is also registered as a company, it may be called A memorandum of articles and association.  Unregistered charities, sometimes called charitable associations, should also have a constitution.  The Charity Commission have templates groups can use. 

The governing document lays out the charitable purposes the charity is setup to deliver (which when written down are called objects), it defines who the charity is set up to benefit, and how, in very general terms, they’ll achieve this.  It sets up the parameters within which the charity must operate and trustees are not permitted to use the charities resources to do something outside these limits.   

You are not expected to be a legal expert but you are expected to be acquainted with the governing document, be curious, ask questions so you understand what is going on within the charity and point out any failure to keep to the rules. 

Slide 9 

  1. Act in your charity’s best interest 

This is about: 

  • making balanced, informed decisions 
  • being prepared to question and challenge anything that concerns you or you don’t understand 
  • recognising & dealing with conflicts of interest 

As a Trustee you must declare and address any conflicts of interest – this helps to ensure public benefit stays at the centre of all your decisions. 

Conflicts can be  

  • Financial, for example if a family member or close friend benefits from the services of the charity or is paid for goods or services you would need to declare it  
  • Or a conflict of loyalty, if you are involved in more that one organisation, which is often the case 

To avoid this boards should maintain a register of interests e.g. listing their employer, any clubs or societies they are members of or other trustee roles they hold. 

Boards must Identify and declare conflicts at the start of each meeting –if there is a conflict the person involved must absent themselves from any decision making relating to the conflict and this should be recorded in the minutes. 

Acting in your charity’s best interest is not about preserving the charity for its own sake or serving personal interest.  Ultimately what is meant by ‘best interest’ is about delivering your charities mission. The mission is the why, who and what eg Oxfam’s mission statement is A just world without poverty.  In some circumstances it could be that your mission would be best served by merging or being taken over by another charity. 

Slide 10 

  1. Ensure your charity is accountable

This is about meeting your organisation’s legal accounting and reporting requirements, which are outlined by the regulator and in your governing document.  Trustees might delegate authority to deal with finances to a treasurer, staff member of an external accountant – but as a board they remain ultimately responsible for checking legal accounting requirements are met and the correct reports are made to the appropriate regulators.  This doesn’t mean you have to be a finance whizz ,but it does mean you have to be prepared to ask questions to satisfy yourself that resources are correctly recorded, only spent on furthering the charity’s purposes and are protected by minimising the risk of theft, fraud or cybercrime by having good financial controls in place.  Putting in place good financial controls isn’t overly complicated, and your local CVS can help you develop a policy to cover this. 

Trustees should also be transparent in their actions, willing to explain their decisions to other interested parties and demonstrate that no one is above scrutiny.  To help them do this they are able to spend funds (if they have them) on training and expert advice when needed. 

Slide 11 

  1. Manage your charities resources responsibility 

This is about managing risks to assets and people – if a charity board has staff it is an employer and has a duty of care as well as legal responsibilities towards them.  It may also have assets such as a building or a vehicle and is responsible for ensuring these are safe and yield the best return for the charity. 

The risk is managed through planning for example by creating a risk register but also by putting policies and procedures in place which will either help prevent problems arising in the first place or put in place a recognised road map to deal with them.   Once again you are not expected to know all the answers or be able to draft these policies but you should be asking for support either from staff or organisations such as your local CVS 

 Key procedures are  

  • Health & Safety – protecting people from harm/ensuring risks are properly assessed and the right insurance is in place  
  • Safeguarding – provide a safe and trusted environment for everyone who comes into contact with a charity – this will include safe recruiting procedures for staff and volunteers and having the right DBS checks if needed – there is a workshop on this coming up later this month  
  • Equal opportunities or increasingly this is expanded to Equality Diversity & Inclusion – people with specific characteristics such as disability and race are protected by equality law and you will need to ensure that everyone in your organisation knows how to treat people appropriately and makes reasonable adjustments to remove both physical and psychological barriers to promote diversity and inclusion 
  • Data protection – ensure data is kept legally and safely as per data protection legislation 
  • Employment if you are an employer – covers things like contracts/ pensions/ payroll  

Slide 12 

  1. Act with reasonable care and skill 

This is a bit of a catch all as it overlaps with all the other duties. It’s about:  

  • using your skills and experience to benefit  the charity – leveraging your contacts  
  • preparing for meetings and getting the information you need 
  • deciding when you don’t have what you need to make a decision and seeking advice  
  • planning ahead – how will the organisation deliver its mission in the long term; how will it have the resources needed; what can you do to sustain your organisation – not just about money but also about other things such as experience/reputation. 

Slide 13 

So if I reassemble the jigsaw I hope I have shown you how important and rewarding being a trustee is.  Trustees are vital to charities and to all the people that rely on them.   

There is lots of advice and help available – please take a look at the information you’ll find below, 

We hope you have found this recording helpful please check out our other recordings and  if you would like to contact us please do so on info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk 

Guidance links: 

From Charity Commission:

The Essential Trustee 

Six duties of trustees – jigsaw 

Setting up a charity – structures 

Model templates 

Charitable purposes 

How to write charitable objects 

Register of interest 

Financial controls checklist  

From NCVO:

Policies and procedures 

Legal duties of trustees 

Attracting volunteers

This session is an introduction to the duties of charity trustees and it is one of a number of recordings we have produced around setting up and running a small charity or association. 

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