The Charity Commission has launched the next stage of its campaign to raise awareness of core trustee duties and the guidance available to charities, including its range of short guides on issues from safeguarding people to managing conflicts of interest.
Called the ‘5-Minute Guides’, the collection is intended to serve as a basic toolkit for trustees managing the demands of running a charity.
This phase of the campaign runs from 2 February to 16 March, and aims to raise awareness of, and encourage people to use the guides. The regulator hopes this will increase knowledge and understanding of essential trustee duties.
The guides cover the following subject areas:
- Delivering purpose – advice on how to use your charity’s governing document, how to deliver on your charity’s purposes and the law.
- Managing finances – advice on how to ensure your charity’s money is safe, properly used and accounted for.
- Conflicts of interest – advice on how to identify and deal with conflicts of interest in your charity.
- Making decisions – advice on how to make valid trustee decisions that are in your charity’s best interests.
- Reporting information –advice on how and what you need to report to the Commission.
- Safeguarding people – advice on your responsibilities to keep everyone who comes into contact with your charity safe from harm.
- Political activity & campaigning – advice for charities that want to support, or oppose, a change in government policy or the law.
Paul Latham, Director of Communications and Policy at the Charity Commission, said:
“We know that this will be a tough year for charities. When approaching difficult decisions, we want trustees to feel certain of the rules in these uncertain times. Our 5-minute guides act as a core syllabus – offering trustees engaging, informative content covering the basics all trustees should know. With advice readily available, we encourage trustees to refresh their knowledge and fill any gaps so that they can best serve their charities – and those who rely on them.”
Commission research shows that trustees often first seek advice from a fellow trustee or colleague (70%) or look online (59%). However, according to the Commission, 94% of those who use the regulator’s guidance find it helpful, and most (89%) trustees who have used the 5-minute guides would recommend them to others.
The previous campaign phase in 2022 saw the percentage of surveyed trustees aware of the 5 Minute Guides rise from 23% to 40%. Of the trustees who have read one or more of the 5-minute guides, 39% also reported having taken or intending to take an action as a result of reading them.