Being a Trustee — Roles and Responsibilities

November 15, 2021
Michele Price


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During National Trustees Week, which celebrates all trustees in the UK for their hard work for charities, our Charity & Philanthropy Partner Michele Price hosted an event on everything you need to know about being a trustee.  This session offered advice for existing trustees, new trustees, those recruiting trustees, those working with a board of trustees, or those thinking of becoming a trustee. Michele clarified trustee responsibilities, especially on the significant, but often confused, differences between governing and managing a charity. 

The event covered questions such as: —

  • What is a trustee?
  • What are your legal responsibilities?
  • What are your fiduciary duties?
  • What being a good trustee looks like?
  • What liabilities do you have?
  • What due diligence should you carry out?
  • What level of commitment is expected?

Looking back to the historical development of beneficial ownership and the law of equity, Michele traced the beginnings of trustee fiduciary duties which underpin everything that trustees do.  Particularly on the topic of fiduciary duties, Michele explains what they are and how they relate to a trustee’s role in a charity: —

  • Loyalty
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Skill
  • Prudence
  • Transparency

In this event, Michele brings her wealth and depth of knowledge to you in a simple and clear manner, without complex legalese, so that anyone can easily grasp the roles and responsibilities of a trustee in a practical and accessible way.

To understand a trustee’s legal duties and regulatory requirements, the trustee needs to have a clear understanding of how the charity is constituted and know their governing document.  Michele also covers the below terms and what they mean for trustees: —

  • Charitable Trust
  • Unincorporated Association
  • Charitable Incorporated Association (CIO)
  • Charitable Company (CLG)
  • Registered Society
  • Royal Charter
  • Scheme

Ultimately, being a trustee is all about trust!  To learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a trustee, watch the recording of the event here: