New Report into Trusteeship - published by the Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has published a report into trusteeship, 'Taken on Trust: The Awareness and Effectiveness of Charity Trustees in England & Wales.'  The report was based on questionnaires completed by more than 3,000 trustees, drawn from a sample of trustees from the Commission database.

The report estimates that the value of time spent by trustees is about £3.5bn per year.

It also says that the awareness of trustees' legal status and responsibilities are much better understood than previously considered. It also found that trustees do not find their duties as burdensome as the Commission had feared, and that there is no obvious shortage of individuals seeking trustee roles.

The report is not all positive though. It says trustee diversity is poor, with a disproportionate number of old, wealthy white men in trustee roles. Trustee boards have relatively serious skills gaps, and most boards are not accessing external support from any source apart from the Charity Commission website and publications.  It has also found that there are 150,000 fewer trustees in the UK than previously believed.

The payment of trustees remains relatively rare, with only about 1.6 percent of charities (some 2,000 charities) paying some or all of their trustees.

The report makes 28 recommendations, which fall into five categories:

  • Measures to improve diversity and recruitment
  • Changes to how boards are supported
  • A digital advice, support and communications strategy
  • A need for the Charity Commission to collect additional information
  • A call for further longitudinal research to support this report