Chapter 15 » 15.05
The trustees of charities carry certain legal responsibilities that are described in the publications of the Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. In addition, the trustees of Quaker meetings work at all times within the framework of Quaker governance.
- Each trustee must accept ultimate accountability in law for the affairs of the charity. They must ensure that it is solvent, well-run and working at all times within the terms of its charitable object. Trustees of a Quaker meeting have a role in helping to ensure that their meeting is working as described in Quaker faith & practice. (See also 15.14.)
- Trustees must ensure that their charity complies with charity law and with the requirements of the regulator (the Charity Commission in England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland), that it does not breach any requirements set out in its governing document, and that it complies with other legislation (such as employment law, health and safety legislation and disability discrimination legislation). See also 14.29 on the disposal of charity land.
- Trustees must themselves act with integrity and avoid personal conflicts of interest or misuse of charity funds or assets. They must ensure that the charity itself acts with integrity and uses its funds appropriately, and they must avoid placing the charity’s assets or reputation at undue risk.
- Trustees must use reasonable care and skill in their work as trustees. While they should of course draw on their own personal knowledge and on skills available within the meeting, they should not hesitate to seek external professional advice on all matters where there might be material risk to the meeting, or where they may be concerned about being in breach of their duties. They should ensure that the meeting acts wisely and takes a long-term view as well as keeping up to date with short-term issues.
- Trustees may delegate tasks but they must always retain overall responsibility.
- Trustees should report to their area meeting at least once a year. They should also refer to the area meeting in session any major decisions, such as the acquisition, disposal or major alteration of land or buildings.
Each Quaker meeting holds ultimate responsibility for the actions of their trustees who have acted in good faith.