Trustee Focus – June 2022

Welcome to this new section, which will focus on topics aimed at trustees and volunteer directors.

To start, we’re looking at what is a trustee and a volunteer director within the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VSFSE) sector.

About charity trustees

Trustees have overall control of a charity (this includes small community groups that are not registered with the Charity Commission) and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. They may be known by other titles, such as board members, committee members or management committee.

Whatever they are called, trustees are the people who lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee means making decisions that will impact on people’s lives. Depending on what the charity does, you will be making a difference to your local community or to society as a whole.

As a trustee of a charity, you have 6 main duties. These are:

1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
3. Act in your charity’s best interests
4. Manage your charity’s resources responsibly
5. Act with reasonable care and skill
6. Ensure your charity is accountable

For more information on the role of a trustee, please look at the Charity Commission’s guidance ‘The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do

About directors (of social enterprises)

Directors are similar to trustees. The main difference is a director is an appointed or elected member of the board of directors of a company who, with other directors, has the responsibility for determining and implementing the company’s policy.

1. Duty to act within powers
2. Duty to promote the success of the company
3. Duty to exercise independent judgment
4. Duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
5. Duty to avoid conflicts of interest
6. Duty not to accept benefits from third parties
7. Duty to declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement

For further information on the role of directors please click here.

When an organisation is both a registered charity and a company (known as a charitable organisation), then the board members are both directors and trustees.


Cumbria Trustees’ Network

In November 2021 we established the Cumbria Trustees Network. It has been set up to bring together trustees and directors from different voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations to share experience, good practice, ideas and offer peer support.

The next network session is taking place on Wednesday 22 June, 6:30-8pm, via Zoom.

To book a place, click here.