Amendment could see birth of teenage trustees

Mathew Little

Joseph Rowntree Foundation director Lord Best has tabled an amendment to the Charities Bill to allow under-18s to become charity trustees.

The current law allows only charitable companies to appoint trustees below the age of 18.

But Best's amendment would also grant that freedom to unincorporated charities, which make up the vast majority of registered charities.

Legislation from 1925 deems that trusts cannot appoint "infants" to their trustee boards. The new amendment excludes unincorporated charities from the definition of trusts.

The amendment has been sponsored by the Children's Rights Alliance for England. Senior policy officer Louise King said: "Young people should be allowed to be directly involved in the management of charities that represent their views and interests. It is illogical that it is legal for under-18s to be trustees of charitable companies but illegal for them to be trustees of unincorporated charities."

The change is also backed by the British Youth Council, NCH, Funky Dragon and the NCVO.

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