We are looking for some new trustees to join our Management Committee, which is made up of twelve trustees, plus representatives from staff, customers and the local community.
The Management Committee meets in the evening approximately every two months.
You can see our calendar of meetings on the Trustee resources page.
There are other occasional away days and other opportunities to volunteer with the charity’s work and fundraising if you wish to.
The role of a trustee as set out by the Charity Commission is:
- Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
- Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
- Act in your charity’s best interests
- Manage your charity’s resources responsibly
- Act with reasonable care and skill
- Ensure your charity is accountable
More information about the Role of a trustee is given below.
The role of a trustee
The role of a trustee is set out on the Charity Commission website. Some of the most important links are provided below. The Charity Commission is the government body that registers and regulates charities.
Disability Advice Service (East Suffolk) [‘DAS’] also has some specific requirements in its own Constitution and you will be given a copy of the Constitution to read before you are appointed. Some, but not all, extracts from the DAS Constitution are given below.
DAS’s status as a charity
DAS is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO): CIO charity number 1152772. When reading the Charity Commission website, you will see that there are other charity structures and some regulations only apply to some structures.
What is a trustee?
Trustees have overall control of a charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do.
Trustees lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee means making decisions that will impact on people’s lives.
Trustees use their skills and experience to support the charity, helping them achieve their aims. Trustees also often learn new skills during their time on the board.
Charitable objects and activities
It is an important part of a trustee’s role to make sure the charity is only operating within its registered charitable objects and activities.
DAS Charitable objects
The relief of people with disabilities in East Suffolk.
DAS Charitable activities
Advice, information and welfare benefit appeals representation to disabled people, their carers, friends, volunteers on:
- Welfare benefits
- Advice and representation at welfare benefit appeal tribunals
- Housing and homelessness
- Holidays, clubs and leisure activities
- Employment and learning
- Aids and adaptations
- Access and discrimination
Payments to trustees
By law, trustees cannot be paid for their time. However, you may be able to claim limited expenses, if these are agreed in advance and in line with DAS’s expenses policy.
Are you eligible to be a trustee?
DAS welcomes trustees from all sections of the community and from a wide range of experience and backgrounds. You do not have to have any formal qualifications for the role, just a commitment to take part actively.
However, there are a number of requirements you must meet to comply with the legal requirements to be a trustee. In summary, these include:
- You must be at least 16 years old
- You must not be disqualified by law from acting as charity trustees, unless you have been granted a waiver. This includes anyone who:
- has an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception
- is currently declared bankrupt (or is subject to bankruptcy restrictions or an interim order) or has an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) with creditors
- is disqualified from being a company director
- has previously been removed or disqualified as a trustee by either the Charity Commission or the High Court due to misconduct or mismanagement
It can be a criminal offence to act as a trustee if you are ineligible or disqualified, and you will need to be make a signed declaration before formally being accepted as a trustee.
Please read the full disqualification criteria on the Charity Commission website page: Charity Commission: Charity trustee disqualification
Period of appointment
DAS trustees are initially appointed for a term of 3 years by a resolution passed at a properly convened meeting of the charity trustees.
Liability (DAS Constitution)
If DAS were to be wound up, your liability as a trustee is covered by this clause in the DAS constitution:
“8. Liability of members to contribute to the assets of the CIO if it is wound up.
If the CIO is wound up the members of the CIO have no liability to contribute to its assets and no personal responsibility for settling its debts and liabilities.”
However, “There is no legal protection for trustees who have acted dishonestly, negligently or recklessly.” See: Charity Commission: The essential trustee what you need to know (CC3)/What you need to do #s10 and Charity Commission: Vicarious liability.
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