Local trustees might be a must in N Ireland

Katherine Demopoulos

Charities that operate in Northern Ireland but are registered elsewhere may be required to pick one local resident as a trustee if new proposals to revamp charity regulations are passed.

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action said that although the move is a positive step in redressing the London-centric governance of many larger charities, it shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.

Macmillan Cancer Relief, which operates in Northern Ireland, came out against the proposal, which has been made by the Charities Branch of the Voluntary and Community Unit at the Department for Social Development.

"It has the potential to undermine the requirement for trustees of charities not to bring sectional interests or concerns to the conduct of the boards," said chief executive Peter Cardy.

He stressed the risk of applying different standards to the selection of trustees with a particular affiliation, adding that problems could arise if each devolved nation or separate jurisdiction were to take a similar stance.

"There are better ways of ensuring that issues unique to the devolved nations are addressed," he said.

Responses to the proposals are due by 20 May.

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