07 August 2013

Charity Commission publishes new guidance on trustee decision making

The Charity Commission issued draft guidance on trustee decision making in February this year, which has now been published in final form. The guidance ‘aims to help increase trustees’ confidence when making decisions, and inform their process’ by setting out key principles for good decision making. The idea is that following good practice principles in governance will also support effective decision making and help ensure that charities comply with the law.

The guidance provides that trustees must ensure that they: act within their powers; act in good faith and only in the interests of the charity; are sufficiently informed; take account of all relevant factors; ignore any irrelevant factors; manage conflicts of interest; and make decisions that are within the range of decisions that a reasonable trustee body could make. The Commission emphasises that it cannot run charities or act on the trustees’ behalf, and that it will only ask questions about any decision made by trustees where there is good reason to suspect that they acted outside the charity’s objects and powers, took into account irrelevant factors, did not manage a conflict of interest or took a decision that no reasonable body of trustees in possession of the facts could have taken.

The guidance also makes recommendations in relation to resolving trustee disagreements and recording trustee decisions. The full guidance can be read online here.

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