Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My response to Derek's response

I don’t think that I wrote anything about models rather it was about types of trustees as I imagined your original piece was. That there are some confusing set ups doesn’t negate any of the points that I made – in my opinion :)

I don’t agree with your last paragraph –

The issue of holding trustees and custodian trustees in similarly confusing. Louise is right about the benefits of custodian trusteeship but I would not see them as a substitute for holding trustees. Most trust deeds have clauses relating to what action to take in the event of a congregation closing which can only be actioned by the holding trustees from whom the custodian trustee must take instruction. The important thing to stress is to ensure that holding trustees are appointed when numbers fall.

If you don’t have holding trustees you won’t have any mention of them in the governing document. I am the chair of a local organisation whose property (a key historic building in the centre of town) is held by the Official Custodian and we feel that this is much more secure than having individual holding trustees. ACRE’s advice to village hall committees says this

Where individuals are appointed to be Holding Trustees it must be remembered that these individuals will need to be replaced from time to time, as, for example, when the present trustees die or wish to retire. For this reason many charities prefer to choose a permanent trustee to be the Holding or Custodian Trustee, e.g. the parish council or the Official Custodian for Charities. By doing this there is no danger that the charity will be left without a Holding Trustee for any reason and, in addition, the charity is also saved the periodic expense of appointing new Holding Trustees.

It is clearly a matter of opinion and we can certainly provide a short debate around this issue if people are interested in this.

  • Key to all of this is understanding generally about legal form, charity status and types of trustee;
  • Knowing your organisation’s legal form and whether it is a registered charity
  • Reading and understanding the governing document(s);
  • Understanding your own role; and
  • Acting in good faith with integrity.
******* Derek and I will be teasing out some of these issues at our very short session at the Annual Meetings in Swansea this April. ***********

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