August 2023

I hope that this message finds you well and either enjoying a well-deserved summer break, or looking forward to one. Either way, I also hope that your “trustee-ing” is proving to be rewarding and enjoyable. If there do happen to be any aspects of the trustee role which you are finding difficult or frustrating, then perhaps you would drop me a line and let me know. I could perhaps include some advice in a future update. But more importantly, from time to time the Charity Commission (CC), or umbrella groups such as “Trustees Unlimited” conduct surveys to help them understand the needs and frustrations of trustees.  So, if you have any burning issues, I can add them to my list and have them ready to pass up the chain whenever a good opportunity arises.  Anyway – on with some thoughts and updates for you:

1.                  Having already mentioned, Trustees Unlimited (Home | Trustees Unlimited ( it is perhaps a good time to mention that this is not a bad place to go to advertise trustee positions when you need some new members on the Board. Too often charities seek new trustees from within their own network, and this can lead to a board of like-minded individuals and  “group think.” It is always good to consider innovative ways to attract new blood on to the Board.  There is further advice on recruiting new trustees at the CC Publication (CC30)  “Finding new trustees: what charities need to know (CC30) (

2.                   There has only been one CC inquiry since my last update. It concerns the “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain” (WBTS) which seeks to advance the Christian faith as practised by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The charity acts as a capital finance body for the other Jehovah’s Witness organisations but does not work directly with the beneficiaries and did not feel the need to consider safeguarding very closely. The result of this oversight was this rather complicated safeguarding inquiry – which had more to do with where the responsibilities for safeguarding lie when an umbrella organisation exists, than how safeguarding issues are managed and implemented in practice. However, there are some interesting issues and it might be worth a read if you have specific safeguarding responsibilities within your charity. It is at:  Charity Inquiry: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain – GOV.UK (  However, for the rest of us, the key takeaways are

  •       The CC’s aim is to protect public confidence in the integrity of charities. In the context of safeguarding matters, it has a specific regulatory role which is focused on the conduct of the trustees and the steps they take to protect the charity and its beneficiaries. The CC does not administer safeguarding legislation. It does not prosecute or bring criminal proceedings, although it can and does refer any concerns it has to the police, local authorities and the Disclosure and Barring Service, which each have particular statutory functions. The Commission’s published guidance on its regulatory role and its expectations of charities and trustees on safeguarding is available on GOV.UK.
  •       When working with other charities, such as an umbrella organisation, a grant giving organisation, or in partnership for a particular project, it is important for trustees to ensure that safeguarding policies and procedures are clearly defined and that the safeguarding lines of responsibility are understood.

3.                   This month the Charity Commission has published renewed guidance on charities and investments. The guidance (known as CC14) has been redesigned to give trustees more confidence in making investment decisions that are right for their charity. Don’t forget that if your charity is lucky enough to have investments to draw on then the oversight of these investments is a trustee role. The aim of this refreshed document is to make the guidance clearer and easy to use, so that trustees can find the information they need more quickly. Your specific trustee duties with regards to financial investments are:

  • considering whether the investments are suitable for your charity and whether they will meet the investment objectives. This means taking account of how suitable any investment is for your charity: both the investment type (for example, shares) and particular investments within that type (for example, shares in a
  • considering the need to diversify investments, if appropriate to your charity, to spread the risk (for example, owning shares in a number of different companies or sectors.
  • taking advice from someone experienced in investment matters, unless you have a good reason for not doing this. For example, if you have enough expertise in your trustee group or you have limited or low value investment.
  • reviewing your charity’s investments at appropriate intervals

As a matter of interest, these are legal duties if your charity is structured as a trust or an unincorporated association. Curiously, for charitable companies, and other corporate charities, these duties are not legal requirements unless they are included in the charity’s governing document. However, the CC expects all trustees to follow them anyway!  In any case, maybe worth glancing over this new guidance at the Charity Commission’s pag

I’ve just about run out of space, could I just mention that my next one-day trustee course in Portsmouth is on 16 November.  So if you, or any of your colleagues, would like to attend then please give me a shout and get your name on to the list of attendees.  Many thanks.

Best wishes all, and enjoy the rest of the summer.