The Role of a Trustee
Trustees of Northants 4×4 Response (N44R), a registered charity, have and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of the charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up. This includes joint legal and financial liability for the charity’s actions.
Trustees of a charity perform a broadly similar role to that of a company director, but instead of looking after the interests of shareholders their obligation is to the charity’s beneficiaries, i.e. the general public.
The Charity Commission is the designated regulator for charities established in England and Wales, and N44R must comply with charity law and the requirements of the regulator. This includes making annual returns, with financial information, and notifying any changes of trustees.
Who can become a Trustee?
Most members of N44R are eligible to become a trustee, but there are some legal restrictions that may prevent you from becoming one. Primarily, if you are barred from being a company director, or have been declared bankrupt, you are not permitted to be a trustee of a charity.
There are also requirements to ensure that those people who are appointed as trustees are not encumbered with a conflict of interest or loyalty that may act to the detriment of the charity that would prevent them from performing their duties effectively.
Requirements for a N44R Trustee:
To become a trustee of N44R you:
- Must be a full member of N44R
- Must be prepared to accept joint legal and financial liability with the other trustees
- Must be prepared to commit sufficient time and effort in performing your duties
- Must be prepared to supply personal information to regulatory bodies, including the Charity Commission and HMRC
- Must not be legally barred
- Must not have a conflict of interest or loyalty
- Must be prepared to abide by the Trustee Code of Conduct
The amount of time and effort required will depend upon your exact role, but it will include amongst other things attendance at trustee meetings, shows, events and supporting the Duty Controller in the event of a call-out.
Conflicts of Interest or Loyalty
In determining what might be considered as a conflict of interest or loyalty we have sought guidance from the Charity Commission. In summary, you are not normally eligible to be a trustee of N44R if you are a member, in any capacity, of another 4×4 Response team, or any organisation that may be called upon in similar circumstances to N44R.
This is so that in the event of a call-out the Trustees can devote their full attention and efforts to providing services to our beneficiaries as required without distraction.
It is anticipated that you will become a signatory on the N44R bank account, and our bankers (NatWest) may require you to provide proof of identity and address. They may also carry out a credit check.
N44R is registered as a charity with HM Revenue & Customs for the purposes of receiving Gift Aid on donations.
From the Charity Commission – Rules & Guidance
What Trustees need to know:
Conflicts of Interest:
If you would like to stand as a trustee, please check that you are eligible to do so. If you are eligible, you will need to be nominated by another member of Northants 4×4 Response.
To submit your nomination, send the Trustees an e-mail. By way of introduction, as not all the members may know the nominee, we ask that they provide a short biography on their previous relevant experience (within the team or elsewhere) and what they will contribute to the charity and its objectives.
If you have any questions about the role in general, feel free to ask any of the current Trustees.