What's so hard about being a trustee then?

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People are often understandably confused about what being a trustee really involves and a good deal of our governance work entails resolving this for them.

A good place to start is to understand the different types of trustee:

  • Holding Trustee - people who are specifically named as holding the title deeds to the property in a governing document. 
  • Managing Trustee - a board of trustees who manage the village hall – however, to hold title deeds for the property they must be an incorporated organisation.
  • Custodian Trustee - an outside body who, like the Holding Trustee, has the title document but does not otherwise manage the village hall.
  • Sole Trustee - another outside body (with village halls this is usually a Parish Council) who are the title holder and manage the village hall.

All managing trustees – not just the treasurer - are responsible for the financial management of the organisation and need to make sure they understand the organisation’s finances. When fulfilling their financial responsibilities trustees should exercise:

  • ‘Proper care and diligence’: A trustee will not be held personally liable for wrongdoing by any financial agents if the board of trustees has given proper attention to the appointment, duties and supervision of the agents.
  • ‘Prudence of ordinary men and women of business in the management of their own affairs’: This requires trustees to satisfy themselves that the financial affairs of the charity are being properly handled, in the same way that they would manage their own finances or those for whom they were morally responsible. Ignorance of what is happening, or the absence of dishonesty on the part of a trustee, is not accepted as prudent behaviour. As a trustee, it is your responsibility to find out all relevant information.

We can help. Our highly professional development officers have a wealth of skills and experience in advising on these issues. CAN’s Silver members have access to policy templates and village hall information sheets. We also provide truste