Who Is Accountable?

Written by Annie Lee on 4 August 2017

Who is accountable?

 

A lot of questions still remain unanswered following the fire at Grenfell Tower disaster. The public are angry and confused and still waiting for answers.

Charities and not for profit organisations are in hard times with Government cut backs as they have been as a result of the 2010 austerity budget. This has impacted on Local Authority cutting back on their funding to many charities and not for profit organisations. This in turn has put immense pressure on the charity’s resources and services. There has been much debate whether cutback in funding has compromised on the quality of the services.

Public benefit is at the heart of every charity. Charity trustees have their duties and responsibilities. It is absolutely paramount that they uphold them as their decision will impact on people’s lives and make a difference to the local community or to society as a whole. Grenfell Tower tragedy has highlighted this fact and has exposed many weaknesses. Many lessons will be learned from this horrific event.

Trustees have a duty to ensure that their charity is accountable. This include being compliant with the law, being well ran, effective and accountable for any delegated responsibilities for a particular task or decision to staff or volunteers.

Trustees can be held personally liable if they have caused financial loss by acting improperly or the charity can not meet a legal claim.

Guidance is available from The Charity Commission to those people who are considering to become a trustee or have been appointed as a trustee of a charity. The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do (CC3) and Charity trustees: what’s involve (CC3a)  explain the key duties of all trustees of charities in England and Wales, and what trustees need to do to carry out these duties competently.

Early this year The Charity Commission released further guidance in March on the charity governance. The Commission designed 15 questions to help charity trustees carry out a review and decide what they need to focus on. This will enable the charity to identify the critical issues in this current economic climate, making the most of their finances whilst continuing to provide services for their beneficiaries.

Robust governance is essential for every public entity.

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Annie Lee
Corporate Client Director