back search

hantsweb

Community Support Service

Trustee Development Governing Document Exercise

This section comprises of an introductory session and an exercise to help you understand your roles, responsibilities and liabilities as a trustee and get a better overview of your governing document. You can use these to help induct new, or refresh the knowledge of existing trustees.

Your governing document should contain all the answers to the following situations. If anything is missing don’t panic it may not be appropriate for your organisation. However if the majority of these questions can not be answered using your constitution it may be time to review it. Feel free to contact one of the Community Support team at Hampshire County Council for advice and support.

The task is to consider each proposal or issue in turn and decide what action your organisation can take.

Why not take this along to your next trustee meeting and use it to help board members to understand their governing document

  1. The Association has been asked to take over the running of a carnival in Nearby Town which is about 5 miles up the road. The local community association has closed down due to lack of funds but feels that the community still wants the carnival to continue. As a trustee what would your decision be?
  2. The community association is considering operating a car boot sale every Saturday morning to bring a regular source of funds into the centre. This will be a regular event throughout the year weather permitting. Is this something you can support?
  3. A member of the Association has requested that a donation of £1,000 be given to the local Church for its Steeple Renovation fund. Several members of the Association attend the Church and they feel that it would be a friendly gesture. The funds are healthy and the Association can afford it. What would be your decision?
  4. The Chairman has proposed investing £5,000 in a local government bond. This money to be set aside as reserves to help cover financial risks. Would you support this?
  5. The association is planning to build an extension and luckily one of the trustees is an experienced architect who has offered his services at half the normal cost. Would you support his appointment?
  6. Mrs Baker who lives just around the corner, and who has been a member for over 10 years, has offered to do the cleaning in return for a small honorarium of say £50 per month. Would you accept her offer?
  7. As the committee is having difficulty meeting the required number for a quorum at the AGMs each year, the Secretary has proposed that we change the rule for quorum at the beginning of the AGM next week. How does this sound?
  8. The Chair has proposed that the committee should set up a buildings sub-committee to look after all the premises issues. Can you support this?
  9. Due to the fall in interest available in its bank account, the treasurer has proposed that the Association change its bank to the Charities Aid Foundation which offers better returns on investments. Would you agree with this proposal?
  10. The General Committee has become so large that it is difficult controlling the meetings. The Chairman has therefore proposed that an Executive Committee be formed of the Chair, treasurer, secretary and three other members to deal with the day to day business. He also proposes that the General Committee reduce their meetings to only four per year. Is this something that is possible?
 

Your governing document should contain all the answers to the following situations. If anything is missing don’t panic it may not be appropriate for your organisation. However if the majority of these questions can not be answered using your constitution it may be time to review it. Feel free to contact one of the Community Support team at HCC (Link) for advice and support.

The task is to consider each proposal or issue in turn and decide what action your organisation can take.

Why not take this along to your next trustee meeting and use it to help board members to understand their governing document

1. The Association has been asked to take over the running of a carnival in Nearby Town which is about 5 miles up the road. The local community association has closed down due to lack of funds but feels that the community still wants the carnival to continue. As a trustee what would your decision be?

This should be somewhere in your powers, but consider if is it within your area of benefit? Don’t forget if you want to change your area of benefit as defined in your constitution you will need approval from the Charity Commission – it’s a good idea to talk to them first to ensure there won’t be any issues about the changes.

2. The community association is considering operating a car boot sale every Saturday morning to bring a regular source of funds into the centre. This will be a regular event throughout the year weather permitting. Is this something you can support?

This again will probably be somewhere in your powers with no problems about this activity for the organisation as this is simply a fund raising activity. However you should check your insurance and make sure there are no restrictions on your lease.

3. A member of the Association has requested that a donation of £1,000 be given to the local Church for its Steeple Renovation fund. Several members of the Association attend the Church and they feel that it would be a friendly gesture. The funds are healthy and the Association can afford it. What would be your decision?

Unless your constitution states that this is one of your activities this definitely can’t happen as it would mean that you are giving away money that is owned by the members, potentially to another organisation that all the members would not like to be supported. Money raised by a Community Association can not be used to support another charity. However, if you were to stage a joint event with the church for the steeple fund (and it was advertised as such) this would be fine… as long as this opportunity was open to all.

4. The Chairman has proposed investing £5,000 in a local government bond. This money to be set aside as reserves to help cover financial risks. Would you support this?

This would be an excellent opportunity and you should find a power that relates to investments there is often also a section that refers to ‘good use of Community Association assets’ to maximise income.

5. The association is planning to build an extension and luckily one of the trustees is an experienced architect who has offered his services at half the normal cost. Would you support his appointment?

Again check your powers to make sure there are no specific restrictions. Trustees can be paid for providing services (and, in some cases, goods) to the charities for which they are trustees. The power to do this was added to the 1993 Act and by the 2011 Act, but you must use the appropriate methods to make decisions about this.

6. Mrs Baker who lives just around the corner, and who has been a member for over 10 years, has offered to do the cleaning in return for a small honorarium of say £50 per month. Would you accept her offer?

An Honorarium would be a payment for services. Mrs Baker may work as a volunteer but if she receives any payment over and above any actual expenses incurred she will be classed as an employee and will be covered by employment legislation.. She  will then need to be paid at least the minimum wage and  pay tax and NI (if appropriate). This will apply to her contracted hours and any additional hours worked.

A7. s the committee is having difficulty meeting the required number for a quorum at the AGMs each year, the Secretary has proposed that we change the rule for quorum at the beginning of the AGM next week. How does this sound?

The process should be in place as laid out in the constitution

8. The Chair has proposed that the committee should set up a buildings sub-committee to look after all the premises issues. Can you support this?

You need to refer to your constitution to ensure this can be done. Sub committees are a very useful method of getting things done. However, the sub committee can only make recommendations to the committee for decisions to be made and have limited powers. The Trustees must ensure that a brief has been set and terms have been defined, so that the sub-committee know exactly what they are supposed to do and do not go beyond this.

Sub committees can have co-opted members, but at least one trustee (or three) should be part of the sub-committee.

9. Due to the fall in interest available in its bank account, the treasurer has proposed that the Association change its bank to the Charities Aid Foundation which offers better returns on investments. Would you agree with this proposal?

Check your powers, but as a general rule it is good practice to improve financial position of your organisation.

10 The General Committee has become so large that it is difficult controlling the meetings. The Chairman has therefore proposed that an Executive Committee be formed of the Chair, treasurer, secretary and three other members to deal with the day to day business. He also proposes that the General Committee reduce their meetings to only four per year. Is this something that is possible?

Check the section of your constitution which lays out rules for the committee or executive committee, as this will tell you if you can.

Well done for completing this exercise – did it create more questions than answers? Then why not contact the Community Support Team for help and advice.

 
 

Download

In this section…