Charities Act review: Trustees

A summary of the main proposals, with sector reaction and an assessment of what's likely to happen

Paying trustees is one of Lord Hodgson's proposals
Paying trustees is one of Lord Hodgson's proposals

Main proposals

- Charities with incomes of more than £1m should be allowed to pay their trustees without permission from the Charity Commission, and all charities should be encouraged to reimburse trustees' expenses.

- Trustees, like company directors, should be limited to serving three terms of three years each in order to tackle lack of rotation among board members.

- Businesses should be encouraged to support trusteeship among employees.

Sector reaction

The only main sector organisation to support the proposal for automatic payment of trustees is the chief executives body Acevo, which has among its members many large, service-delivering charities that might want to attract people with special skills to be trustees. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Institute of Fundraising, Navca, the Directory of Social Change, the Small Charities Coalition, Community Matters and Volunteering England have written a joint letter to the charities minister, Nick Hurd, saying they are "strongly opposed" to the recommendation. "Regardless of the size of a charity, each pound spent on remunerating trustees is one less on its charitable activities," it says.

What's likely to happen?

Hodgson says payment of trustees is "a hugely divisive issue in the charity sector", and this alone might mean that little will result from his recommendation. Hurd said at the launch of the report that the touchstones for action on the proposals would be whether they would make it easier to run a charity or increase public trust and confidence in the sector. On the face of it, the proposal for trustee payment would satisfy neither requirement and may well find its way on to the back burner once more.

Read in more detail about: fundraising, regulation, social investment, and complaints and the charity tribunal

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