Guidance

The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do (CC3)

What's required of a charity trustee, including your responsibilities to your charity.

Documents

Yr Ymddiriedolwr Hanfodol: 6 phrif ddyletswydd

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Details

Charity trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. They may be called trustees, the board, the management committee, governors, directors or something else.

This guidance explains what being a trustee involves, including:

  • what trustees do
  • who can be a trustee and how trustees are appointed
  • their legal responsibilities
  • specific trustee roles of chair and treasurer

You should read this guidance if you are:

  • a trustee of any charity based in England or Wales
  • thinking about setting up a charity or becoming a trustee in England or Wales

For a briefer overview, see Charity trustee: what’s involved (CC3a).

Published 1 March 2012
Last updated 3 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. This publication has been updated in line with recently published guidance on automatic disqualification and safeguarding.
  2. Added a Welsh version of the infographic (essential trustee: 6 main duties).
  3. The commission has published updated guidance for trustees that takes account of the feedback from the CC3 consultation.
  4. First published.
  1. Step 1 Check if setting up a charity is right for you

  2. and Check you're eligible

  3. Step 2 Find trustees

    Trustees are responsible for the operation of your charity. They must show they understand their legal requirements.

    1. Check who's eligible to be a trustee and what skills they need to have
    2. Find and appoint trustees
    3. You are currently viewing: Read about your trustees' legal responsibilities
  4. Step 3 Find out how to choose a charity structure

  5. and Choose a name for your charity

    There are rules on what words you can use in your name.

    1. Check what you can call your charity

    You cannot register a name that's the same as or similar to another charity.

    1. Check the names of registered charities
  6. and Decide and write your charity's purposes

    Your ‘purposes’ describe what your charity is set up to achieve.

    1. Find out how to write your charity's purposes
  7. Step 4 Create a governing document

    The governing document is a set of rules that explains how your charity is run. It needs to include your charity's structure, name and purposes.

    1. Find out how to write your governing document
  8. Step 5 Make sure you meet the 'public benefit requirement'

    Your organisation must be able to show that it benefits the public.

    1. Check how your organisation must benefit the public
  9. Step 6 Register your charity

    You must apply to register your charity with the Charity Commission if either:

    • its income will be at least £5,000 per year
    • it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
    1. Register with the Charity Commission

    You can register your charity’s details with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to get tax back on things like Gift Aid donations.

    1. Register with HMRC