Charles Kenyon: In rural areas we need access to advice

An integrated Charity Commission/IoD one-stop shop at branch level would be brilliant for charities, writes our columnist

As someone "in the sticks", I find the Institute of Directors' legal helpline invaluable for both my work as housing developer and my position as a charity trustee.

I was therefore delighted to attend a symposium organised by the Association of Chairs in conjunction with the Charity Commission's top team, which was sponsored by the IoD at its headquarters in Pall Mall, central London.

I think this is one of the first events run jointly by the IoD and the Charity Commission. When I talked to some of the commission's staff afterwards, I got the impression that there are plans for central inter-disciplinary training for directors who are also trustees. While this would be a great step forward, the huge benefit for charities based in rural areas will be an extension of a partnership throughout the IoD's branch and regional network.

There are many local legal and financial firms that hold IoD membership and, with the support of the commission, they could well be interested in making their expertise available to charities, even being a repository for local non-executive directors available to serve as trustees.

Some forward-thinking firms have been leading in this field already.

For example, in Lincolnshire the accountancy practice Wright Vigar has its own charities team and puts on excellent courses at minimal cost. An integrated Charity Commission/IoD one-stop shop at branch level would be brilliant for charities.

Charles Kenyon lives near Market Rasen, retiredcolonel@oldvicarage.net

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