In the wake of a number of high-profile disputes involving charity trustees, the Charity Commission has today issued new guidance on decision making for charity trustees (http://www NULL.charitycommission NULL.gov NULL.uk/detailed-guidance/trustees-staff-and-volunteers/its-your-decision-charity-trustees-and-decision-making/).
The guidance explains the key principles of decision making that the courts and the Commission expect trustees to apply when they are making significant or strategic decisions about their charity.
Among other matters emphasised for trustees are:[bulletlist]
- ensuring they have the relevant powers to carry out their plans;
- managing conflicts of interest; and
- making informed decisions based only on relevant considerations.[/bulletlist]
If trustees follow the principles laid down, it will assist them in defending themselves if something goes wrong. Trustees who can show that they have applied and followed the principles in making their decision are unlikely to be held personally responsible for them by the courts or the Commission
The guidance also covers practicalities – making sure meetings are properly conducted, recording decisions accurately, and what to do if trustees disagree.