Monday, 10 November 2014

Top Trustee FAQs - by Martyn Turner, Charity Underwriting Director, Ecclesiastical Insurance

To summarise our previous two blogs ‘What is Trustee Indemnity Insurance’ and ‘Responsibilities of a charity trustee’  we have listed our top frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions why not talk to somebody directly? Ecclesiastical will be taking over our @knowhownonprof twitter account on Tuesday 11 November between 1.30-3pm.  A charity insurance professional will be on hand to answer any of your questions – so please do pop the date in your diary.

1.     Who is included in the term charity trustee?
The term charity trustee can be used to describe a number of people. Quite often they go by a number of titles including, directors, board members, governors or committee members. Trustees are ultimately people who serve on the governing body of a charity.

2.     What is a trustee ultimately responsible for?
Trustees have and ultimate responsibility for the affairs of the charity. They have three main areas of responsibilities to ensure;

·         It remains solvent – as a trustee it is your duty to make sure the charity remains in a good financial position. The charitable funds and assets must be used sensibly.

·         The charity is well run – it is ultimately the trustees’ role to ensure the charity remains compliant with the law. A good trustee needs to understand the charity market, its obligations to the Charity Commission and it helps to have a good head for annual reports and accounts.

·         It delivers its charitable objectives – a trustee must act with integrity to deliver everything in accordance to their charitable goals. 

3.     Can trustees delegate their responsibilities?
Trustees can generally delegate certain powers to agents or employees, but will and must always retain the ultimate responsibility for running the charity.

4.     Can a trustee resign?
Yes – it is usually straightforward for a trustee to resign. But in some situations, especially with unincorporated charities, it is important to check the charity’s governing document carefully. Sometimes legal advice will be needed to ensure that things are done properly.

5.     Why should you consider Trustee Indemnity Insurance?
As a trustee you have some protection under the Company and Charities Acts’ and possibly via your charity’s own constitution, however, this may not always be enough. By having Trustees Indemnity Insurance in place it will protect you against a financial loss, should an allegation be made against you and or your charity for any wrongdoing whilst holding your position as a trustee. In essence Trustee Indemnity Insurance provides you with a financial safety net should something happen.

Don’t understand or need more info?

Ecclesiastical have produced a trustee hub giving you lots more information and help with Trustee Indemnity Insurance. Support comes in the form of up to date blog posts, articles and videos on the topic.

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