Guidance for Trustees

Charity trustees, also referred to as Directors, hold a pivotal role in the effective management of a charity.

Their responsibilities span across a broad spectrum, and it's essential to delve into the specifics of their duties and obligations:

Key responsibilities

  1. Comprehensive Oversight: The board of trustees maintains overarching control over all aspects of the charity, including its activities, services, and the outcomes delivered to beneficiaries. They are the guardians of the charity's mission and values.
  2. Legal Framework: Trustees are bound by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, and their actions are guided by the Office for the Charity Regulator in Scotland (OSCR). Valuable guidance regarding trustees' roles is available on OSCR's website, providing a valuable resource for fulfilling these responsibilities.

Trustee Obligations:

  1. Legal Compliance: Trustees must operate within the bounds of the law, acting with diligence and always in alignment with the charity’s defined purpose. They are responsible for upholding the legal and ethical standards associated with their role.
  2. Charity’s Well-being: Trustees must maintain an unwavering focus on the welfare of the charity, consistently prioritising its needs over any personal or external interests. This commitment ensures that the charity’s mission remains at the forefront of all decisions.
  3. Financial Stewardship: Financial responsibility encompasses accurate record-keeping, the preparation of annual financial statements, and timely submission of these statements to OSCR. These practices ensure transparency and accountability in the charity’s financial affairs.

OSCR Monitoring:

  1. Accountability: Trustees shoulder the responsibility of ensuring proper financial accounting and reporting. OSCR conducts regular checks on the charity’s accounts and may provide recommendations for improvement to maintain financial integrity.
  2. Notification Requirement: Trustees must promptly inform OSCR of any significant changes, mergers, or dissolutions of the charity, thereby maintaining a transparent and compliant relationship with the regulatory authority.

Our Insights:

Our team of dedicated charity advisers serves as both trustees and auditors, offering invaluable Trustee guidance and refresher sessions. These sessions cover a comprehensive range of topics, including trustee duties, financial management, governance, risk management, and more.

Trustee obligations, including meticulous financial record-keeping, accurate accounting practices, and timely OSCR reporting, are essential aspects of your role as a trustee.

With our insights and assistance, we can empower you with the knowledge and guidance required to navigate this crucial role with confidence, ensuring that the charity thrives and fulfils its mission effectively.


Mark McRae


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