New guidance on decision making for charity trustees

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.

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.

Tax Evasion and Avoidance – What They Said at Lough Erne

Much has been made of the announcement of the 'new order' in policing tax avoidance and evasion following the recent G8 conference. Here is what was agreed.

The G8 Lough Erne Declaration

Private enterprise drives growth, reduces poverty, and creates jobs and prosperity for people around the world. Governments have a special responsibility to make proper rules and promote good governance. Fair taxes, increased transparency and open trade are vital drivers of this. We will make a real difference by doing the following:

  1. Tax authorities across the world should automatically share information to fight the scourge of tax evasion.

  2. Countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes, and multinationals should report to tax authorities what tax they pay where.

  3. Companies should know who really owns them and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily.

  4. Developing countries should have the information and capacity to collect the taxes owed them – and other countries have a duty to help them.

  5. Extractive companies should report payments to all governments - and governments should publish income from such companies.

  6. Minerals should be sourced legitimately, not plundered from conflict zones.

  7. Land transactions should be transparent, respecting the property rights of local communities.

  8. Governments should roll back protectionism and agree new trade deals that boost jobs and growth worldwide.

  9. Governments should cut wasteful bureaucracy at borders and make it easier and quicker to move goods between developing countries.

  10. Governments should publish information on laws, budgets, spending, national statistics, elections and government contracts in a way that is easy to read and re-use, so that citizens can hold them to account.