The Charity Commission has recently updated their guidance for the trustees of faith charities. This guidance seeks to help trustees with the particular complexities of their roles – around governance structures (which have to overlap and interact with areas like church leadership), what constitutes charitable activities and more.
At Stewardship, we also recognise the specific nuances involved in the faith charity trustees’ roles and want to encourage trustees of churches and Christian charities to make sure they’re familiar with the Charity Commission’s thinking in this area. We have a number of resources related to this topic, links to which are found below.
The guidance doesn’t contain any particularly new information, but it is a helpful reminder on key topics, such as why churches are seen as charities in the eyes of the law, things to keep in mind in appointing and paying trustees (if applicable), responsibilities to report matters to the Charity Commission (such as any serious incidents), basic financial controls (e.g. cash collections, bank reconciliations and electronic payments) and making international payments. It also looks at the key issues of compiling and filing annual reports and accounts and the trustees’ responsibilities for those documents.
Importantly, it highlights what the trustees should do in relation to safeguarding and considers the sensitive area of inviting potentially controversial speakers, as well as their legal responsibilities for employing people.
The guidance is largely reiterating information already available to trustees, but it is helpful as a short checklist for faith charity trustees to run through, and check if any of the topics have slipped off their radar. It shouldn’t take long and might be worth consideration as an agenda item at your next trustees’ meeting.