Charity Commission says feedback on draft trustee guidance was 'overwhelmingly positive'

But in its response to the consultation on a proposed new version of The Essential Trustee (CC3), the regulator acknowledges concerns raised by sector umbrella bodies

The Essential Trustee (CC3)
The Essential Trustee (CC3)

The Charity Commission has said that feedback on its redraft of The Essential Trustee (CC3) was "overwhelmingly positive", but has acknowledged concerns raised by umbrella bodies and others as it prepares a final version.

The commission’s consultation on a proposed new version of CC3, its central piece of guidance for trustees, began in November and closed last month.

The main proposed change to CC3 was to modify the definition of something that trustees "should" do to mean that if trustees did not comply, it might constitute a breach of duty – it is currently less strongly defined, and the commission was concerned that some trustees were ignoring these recommendations.

A joint response from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Charity Finance Group and the Association of Charitable Foundations expressed concerns that the draft was inconsistent with basic charity law, took an "excessively prescriptive tone", was likely to inhibit innovation and posed "a high risk of regulatory creep".

The commission received a total of 114 responses to its consultation, with the majority saying they had a positive impression of the new guidance, that its explanation of trustees' duties and its new approach to the meanings of "should" and "must" was clearer, and that it struck the right balance between reassurance and warnings, the regulator said.

Fifty-eight respondents said the balance between reassurance and caution was correct, but 26 thought it was not. However, among the 18 responses from umbrella bodies and legal or governance advisers, the majority – 14 – said the balance was incorrect.

A statement from the regulator said: "The commission is especially pleased that individual trustees and charity staff were overwhelmingly positive about the guidance."

The statement said the commission would "take into account the concerns expressed by some respondents including sector umbrella bodies and advisers".

The commission’s final version of CC3 will be published in the summer.

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