Watchdog consults on new power to disqualify trustees


The Charity Commission has launched a three month public consultation on its proposed approach to exercising its new power of discretionary disqualification. This power will allow the Commission to disqualify certain persons from being trustees in circumstances where they are judged not fit to act, for a period of up to 15 years.

The new power, which was included in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016, will come into effect in July. Under the Act, the Commission will only be able to make a disqualification order when it is satisfied that each of three tests have been met:

  1. At least 1 of 6 ‘conditions’ applies, including: a trustee has been cautioned for an offence against a charity or administration of a charity for which a conviction would bring automatic disqualification; a person has been convicted of a relevant offence in another country; if found by HMRC not to be a ‘fit and proper person’ to be a manager of a body or trust; a trustee or employee of a charity who previously facilitated misconduct or mismanagement; or other misconduct unrelated to a charity, found to be damaging to public trust.
  2. The person is unfit to be a trustee
  3. The order is desirable in the public interest in order to protect public trust and confidence in charities

The three-month consultation will determine the regulator’s approach in taking its new powers forward – including whether the tests set out in the Charities Act have been adequately met and determining the regulator’s approach on deciding the length of each disqualification.

The consultation closes on 22 August. The consultation paper is available on the GOV.UK website