2017 has been a very busy year for charity trustees. There has been increased pressure on the services you provide and an increased level of scrutiny on all aspects of your operations. We have found that you are understanding of the need for transparency and compliance in all aspects of your operations. We hope we have kept you up to date with changes in various legal issues that concern you through our ezines, seminars and our individual meetings with you.
When we look back on the year and the variety of legal issues that you have brought to us for our consideration, by far the most common query relates to Governance. We refer to it with a capital "G" as we are referring to Governance in its broadest sense. Good Governance is essential for running a successful charity. As the legal and regulatory responsibilities placed on charities and charity trustees become ever more onerous and complex, non-compliance is now more intensely scrutinised and actively enforced. We have supported many of you to proactively minimise your exposure to regulatory, civil and criminal action.
With this in mind, we are of the view that many of you might benefit and be interested in us providing a Governance Clinic to your board/charity trustees. Ideally, we would recommend that your board should assign one meeting, or an hour of a meeting, in early 2018 to Governance. Relevant lawyers from Mason Hayes & Curran would attend at that meeting and provide your board with the essentials that the charity trustees need to know about, via our Governance Clinic. Our lawyers would provide a powerpoint presentation and a takeaway booklet for each board member. The essential items that our Governance Clinic will address are as follows:
- Your charity's governing instrument (this will be tailored to the constitution of your charity)
- Charities Act 2009 – what you need to know
- Companies Act 2014 (if your charity is established as a company)
- Overview of Financial Reporting Standard 102
- The Charities Regulatory Authority
- Governance Codes
- Fundraising Guidelines
- General Guidance for charity trustees – the most common concerns and queries we receive, based on our experience
In addition to the above, we will engage with you in advance of the Governance Clinic, and if there are other legal issues that your charity trustees would like an update on (such as for instance GDPR, or specific employment, child protection, section 38, section 39 or other issues), we can tailor the Governance Clinic to meet those specific needs. As well as a "once off" Governance Clinic, we can provide you with an induction session for any new board members/charity trustees and can send you updates of any changes to Governance related issues as 2018 moves along, all of which should appear as a standing item for your 2018 schedule of board meetings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.