New guidance on trustees’ responsibilities


The Charity Commission believes it has struck the right balance between being supportive while making it clear what the law expects of trustees, with its updated version of ‘The essential trustee’ (CC3).

It breaks down the trustee’s role into six clear duties:

  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

Under each heading, the Commission explains the legal requirements that trustees must meet, and the good practice they need to follow, to operate effectively and comply with their duties. There are also links through to further guidance on specific topics. The Commission makes it clearer that trustees are expected to follow good practice, applying it appropriately to their charity’s circumstances. It’s not an optional extra.

The new guidance also highlights and gives practical examples of how to avoid some common pitfalls, for example by ensuring you understand your governing document, asking questions and ensuring you understand your charity’s finances. So you can feel confident that you’re running your charity in a legal, accountable and effective way.

The guide is available on GOV.UK and all trustees should make a point of reading it.