Commission to produce new guidance for sole trustees

Regulator plans to produce good practice case study

The Charity Commission will produce a case study of a local authority that manages its charitable assets effectively to help educate councils about their obligations towards charities of which they are sole trustees.

In a paper prepared for a commission board meeting on Thursday, Tony Pino, the regulator's partnerships manager, said it was anxious to find "new ways of raising awareness among local authorities about charity assets in their care and how to manage the associated risks".

He said the commission hoped to second a staff member to a willing local authority in order to carry out a review of its charitable assets and write up a case study on the "practicalities and solutions" of sole trusteeship. A commission spokeswoman confirmed that the regulator would be looking for a local authority that could demonstrate good practice.

The paper says the commission also hopes to upgrade its Local Authority Charity Toolkit as soon as possible and use it "as the trigger for a launch of related activities".

The move comes after considerable controversy over the mismanagement of charitable assets by councils in recent months. Birmingham City Council was criticised last month for its management of a Victorian mansion of which it is sole trustee after it used the building to house social services staff without paying any rent

Third Sector reported earlier this month that Haringey Council had begun a major review of the governance of the Alexandra Park and Palace charitable trust amid long-standing accusations that it has mismanaged the historic site.

Meanwhile, in a case that provoked an appeal to the charity tribunal, Dartford Borough Council was condemned locally for unwittingly selling a section of the Kidd Legacy charitable land to a developer in breach of trust. 



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