Guidance for Charity Trustees


All Trustees are required to familiarise themselves with the Society's current governing documents:

AS-Memorandum-and-Articles-Amended Approved AGM 05.01.23

Regulations and Schedules - Amended by Council 30.11.23


(a) Charity Governance Code 

Home — Charity Governance Code

The Charity Governance Code published in July 2017 was refreshed at the end of 2020. Developed by sector bodies and supported by the Charity Commission, the Code is a practical tool to help charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance.
The Governance Code covers seven areas:

1. Organisational purpose

2. Leadership

3. Integrity

4. Decision making, risk and control

5. Board effectiveness

6.  Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

7. Openness and accountability

The Code is designed as a tool to support continuous improvement. Charity boards that are using this Code effectively will regularly revisit and reflect on the Code’s principles.

It’s important that trustees discuss the Code’s principles and recommended practice and make well-considered decisions about how these should be applied in their charity.

All trustees are encouraged to meet the principles and outcomes of the Code by either applying the recommended practice or explaining what they have done instead or why they have not applied it.


(b) Charity Commission Updates - 5 Minute Guides - March 2021

The Charity Commission has recently launched a campaign aimed at helping trustees refresh their knowledge of charity governance and be “certain in uncertain times”. As part of this campaign a series of five minute guides for trustees have been published covering a core syllabus of basics that trustees should know.
These are:
  • Charity purposes and rules
  • Making decisions at a charity
  • Managing charity finances
  • Managing conflicts of interest, and
  • What to send to the Charity Commission and how to get help
The guides can be accessed here.


(c)  Charity Commission guidance documents:

List of Charity Commission 'CC' guidance publications - GOV.UK (

Selected Guidance

1. CC3 – The Essential Trustee: what you need to know; what you need to do

2. CC30 – Finding new Trustees

3. Charities: Fraud and Financial Crime

4. New welcome pack for Charity Trustees

5. Changes to rules governing automatic disqualification of charity trustees

(guidance for charities)

(guidance for individuals)

6. Investing charity money: guidance for trustees (CC14) - GOV.UK (


(d)  Other Charity Commission Documents:

1. Revised Conflicts of interest Guidance Published May 2014

2.  It's your decision: charity trustees and decision making

3. CC12 Managing a charity's finances: planning, managing difficulties and insolvency

Updated January 2016

4. CC19 Charity Reserves: building resilience

Updated January 2016

5. Managing a charity’s finances (CC12) - GOV.UK (


(e) Ethical Code

NCVO has developed a set of ethical principles for the charity sector. These principles provide an overarching framework for voluntary organisations to guide decision-making, good judgement and conduct. Endorsement of the principles is voluntary, but all charities have been encouraged to reflect on the principles in their work and decision-making.

The principles

Charities and those who work in and with them agree to uphold the following principles throughout their work:

¨     Beneficiaries first

¨     Integrity

¨     Openness

¨     Right to be safe

The code is complementary to existing sector codes such as the Charity Governance Code, as well as individual charities’ codes or policies. It is not intended to replace their own definitions of values and codes of conduct.

The code is aimed at enabling all charities, no matter their size or type of activity, to be a safe place for anyone who comes into contact with them.



(f) Conflicts of Interest and Related Party Transactions - Matters of Material Significance

The Auditors are required to review annually Trustees Conflicts of Interest and Related Party Transactions.

Evidence that significant conflicts of interest have not been managed appropriately by the Trustees and/or related party transactions have not been fully disclosed in all the respects as required by the applicable SORP or applicable Regulations would be reported to the relevant Regualtor.



AS External Privacy Statement


AS Internal privacy Notice

AS Privacy Notice (Internal)


AS Data Protection Policy




The Register of Charities 





(a) Fraud and Financial Crime:

(b) Insider Fraud: Insider fraud is fraud committed by somebody within the charity such as a trustee, employee or volunteer. Examples of insider fraud include (but are not limited to) financial and accounting fraud, unauthorised payments to individuals, inflated expenses and the theft of information. The Charity Commission has reminded the charity sector of the importance not only of having processes in place for tackling fraud, but of ensuring that these are applied correctly.



The Charity Commission have published guidance on reporting serious incidents in light of the particular challenges caused by the pandemic. The guidance acknowledges that the pandemic brings new challenges which were not anticipated when the original guidance was published.

The Charity Commission’s usual guidance requires a charity to report financial losses which do not involve a crime where the losses exceed £25,000 or 5% of the charity’s income. However, this threshold has been waived for losses occurring due to Covid-19 and the Commission have stated that trustees should “focus on the significance of the impact of any losses rather than the amount.“

To support trustees in deciding whether an incident is serious the revised guidance provides a number of examples which emphasise the importance of considering the impact on the charity. For instance, the guidance states that a charity should not report a single instance of Covid-19 within the charity. Conversely, if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 which means that a charity cannot deliver services because of staff illness then this would be reportable.

On 22 September 2017, the Charity Commission published revised guidance for Trustees on reporting serious incidents. The Guidance makes clear that a serious incident is an adverse event, either actual or alleged, which results in or risks significant loss of charitable assets, damage to the charity’s property or harm to the charity’s work, beneficiaries or reputation. Fraud, theft, criminal acts and safeguarding issues are the most common types of reportable incident but this is not an exhaustive list. Important points to note are:

i. Responsibility for reporting rests with the Trustees, although the actual reporting may be delegated to appropriate staff. 

ii. Reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission is required even where the incident is also reportable to another agency, such as the police for criminal matters or Action Fraud where the incident involves actual or alleged fraud. 

iii. Serious incidents must be reported promptly, i.e. as soon as practicable after the Trustees or the charity’s staff have become aware of the incident.

The Guidance also notes that making a report to the Commission is a key aspect of being able to demonstrate that the Charity has handled the incident properly, in line with duties as Trustees. The implication of this emphasis is that a failure to report an incident which then comes to the Commission’s attention by other means could lead the Commission to conclude that the Trustees are not managing the charity well.  The full Guidance can be found at:


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The Governance Hub


The Foundation for Science and Technology (FST)
Publishes a number of useful guidance notes. Links to two are detailed below.
Notes for Guidance - Directors and Trustees Liabilitiies.doc
Notes for Guidance - Trustee Liability Indemnity Insurance.doc

UPDATED:  121223