Commission to encourage people to become trustees

The Charity Commission is to put its weight behind drives to encourage people to volunteer as trustees as part of its new statutory duty regarding volunteering.

The Charities Act 2006 says the commission should "act in a way that is compatible with the encouragement of voluntary participation in charity work".

Caroline Cooke, head of policy engagement and foresight at the commission, told the regulator's open board meeting last week that the commission was not required to get involved with drives to promote volunteering generally.

She said: "Any work we undertake over and above our day-to-day activities should both be appropriate to our role and complement existing work by other organisations."

But she proposed revisiting the Get on Board trustee recruitment campaign, which the commission launched with volunteering organisation TimeBank in 2005. She also suggested working with Volunteering England to "broker a discussion about volunteering, trusteeship and potential synergies between them".

She also expressed fears that the Government's plan to recruit 70,000 volunteers for the 2012 Olympics might have a negative impact on the numbers of charity volunteers.

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the commission, suggested working with the Local Government Association, the CBI, the NHS and student advice services to recruit trustees. She said being a trustee could give students an edge in the job market.

The board also heard that the regulator would probably underspend its £30.9m budget by £200,000 this financial year, which would put the commission's reserves at £2.8m. Bashar Shahin, head of finance, said the reserves would be used to allow the commission to fulfil its remit over the next two years against the backdrop of five per cent year-on-year cuts in government funding.

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