Role overview: Trustee
Trustees are responsible for the proper administration of the charity
Trustees must make sure that the charity’s assets and resources are used only for the purposes
of the charity. They must make sure that the charity is run in accordance with its constitution,
charity law and all other laws and regulations which affect its activities.
• Trustees must accept ultimate responsibility for everything the charity does
The trustees are responsible for the vision, mission and management of the charity and are
accountable if things go wrong.
• Trustees have to act reasonably and prudently in all matters relating to their charity
The law imposes a duty of care on the trustees of charities. This is sometimes expressed as a duty
‘to exercise such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances’. The duty will be greater
if a trustee has (or claims to have) any special knowledge or experience, or if their business or
profession means they can reasonably be expected to have special knowledge or experience. In
matters where trustees are not expert, they will be expected to take appropriate advice.
• Trustees must safeguard and protect the assets of the Charity
A charity’s assets include its investments, cash, land, intellectual property, staff and reputation.
• Trustees have a duty to act collectively
Decisions and responsibilities are shared, so all trustees should take an active role. Trustees
can act by majority (unless the constitution says otherwise), but all the trustees are collectively
responsible for decisions made by the trustees (unless they make it clear that they disagree with a
particular decision, but they are overruled).
• Trustees must act in the best interests of their charity
The interests of the charity are paramount. Trustees should not allow their personal interests or
views to override this: they must exercise independent judgment.
• Trustees must avoid any conflict between their personal interests and those of the charity
The main implication of this is that, unless there is specific legal authority, charity trustees cannot
receive any benefit from the charity. The law is very strict about ensuring that trustees cannot
influence decisions in their favour.
each trustee must have:
• a commitment to MAG and its objectives
• an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of
• a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as a trustee
• strategic vision
• good, independent judgement
• an ability to think creatively
• willingness to speak their mind
• an ability to work effectively as a member of a team