The Charity Commission recently published a report of its inquiry into the Bangladeshi Parents and Carers Association (registered charity number 1082770). The Commission found that there had been gross financial mismanagement between 2009 and 2011 and there appeared to have been one or more occasions of fraud.
Charity Trustees are responsible for the proper administration of their charity and must safeguard and protect charity assets. In this case, the Trustees acted responsibly and reported their concerns to the police. The Trustees have since implemented recommendations to strengthen the charity's financial controls and governance and, thankfully, the charity is in a position to continue operating.
The UK is currently home to approximately 195,000 registered charities and with this number on the rise, the need for Trustees has never been greater. Approximately 50% of charities have places to fill so there is a huge gap in terms of need. Becoming a charity Trustee can be enormously rewarding but, as the above inquiry shows, it is crucial to be aware of the duties and responsibilities.
Here at Close Brothers we run a Trustee Leadership Programme. Smaller organisations tend to draw from their own network, so we are trying to enable charities to gain access to a larger talent pool of skilled Trustees.
The programme, which we run in partnership with social enterprise Cause4 and the Clothworkers’ Company, gives professionals of all ages the confidence and know-how they need to join a charity as a board member. It is aimed at both new Trustees looking for board level experience and existing Trustees who are seeking a refresher.
The seventh cohort of our successful Trustee Leadership Programme will commence in January 2017, in London. The programme comprises five evenings and will cover issues including “an overview of the charity sector”, “governance and strategic planning”, “financial management” and “an introduction to fundraising”. What really makes the programme different from traditional training is the vibrant charity matching event on the final evening, where we aim to pair participants with charities in need of Trustees. If there is not a vacancy immediately we will continue to work with participants to place them further down the line.
We are also very excited to be running our first “accelerated” programme in Manchester. It will take place on 9 November 2016 and will run intensively over the course of one day with the charity matching event in the evening.
Please contact Josephine Fay (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Charity trustees have a duty to manage the charity’s resources responsibly. Trustees have a responsibility to recover charity funds that have been misappropriated, which is particularly important where significant sums of money are involved. However, in discharging this duty, they should consider whether there is a reasonable prospect of success in pursuing an action through the courts, to justify the further spend of charity money to do so. It will not always be cost effective to pursue a loss, and so trustees should take legal advice before deciding to embark on litigation.