• Date

    08 Mar 2022
  • Category


Behaving with integrity – wearing the right hat in board meetings

A charity’s board of trustees or its governing body takes overall responsibility for its work and for its good governance, thereby ensuring it is effectively and properly run and is meeting its overall purposes as described in its governing document. A part of that governance responsibility is to ensure that both individually and collectively, trustees all understand their role within the organisation and their role as a trustee. They must wear the right hat in their work on the charity’s board.

Sometimes the role of a trustee can be open to potential for conflicts of interest if, for example, they are also an employee, volunteer or advisor to the organisation, or perhaps the founder. Therefore, an understanding of their governance responsibilities and which ‘hat’ they should wear at a board meeting becomes vital.

The Essential Trustee

‘The Essential Trustee’ (guidance document: CC3, from The Charity Commission) explains the key duties of trustees. It also provides key guidance which should form the basic understanding for all trustees. The full document: CC3 can be found via the following link:


The duties of a trustee are set out in The Essential Trustee, to:

  1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit.
  2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law.
  3. Act in your charity’s best interests.
  4. Manage your charity’s resources responsibly.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill.
  6. Ensure your charity is accountable.


Governance Code

Trustees share collective responsibility for their charity and must at all times act in its best interests, however they were appointed. Another useful source of information for a board is the voluntary Governance Code. This draws upon the guidance (including The Essential Trustee) issued by the Charity Commission and can be found at:


Download issue three of our 'Revive, Refocus, Rebuild – The journey back to better' guide here to find out more…


Would you like to know more?

If you have any queries regarding what we cover in our guide, please get in touch with your usual contact or email charities@azets.co.uk.

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John Howard

Partner London Bridge
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