Trustees’ Week 2022: Making a difference in changing times

Welcome to Trustees’ Week 2022. An opportunity for the sector to come together, acknowledge the contribution of our trustees and take advantage of a wide range of events, training and guidance.

You can follow @TrusteesWeek on Twitter for updates or visit

The theme for this year’s Trustees’ Week is making a difference in changing times. As the landscape in which we operate continues to change, we are faced with new challenges. Trustees are an invaluable asset to the sector and Trustees’ Week is an opportunity to recognise this and say a great big THANK YOU to trustees for the important work that you do.

What are you planning?

Here are some suggestions:

• Refresh your knowledge with the Charity Commission’s “5-minute guides for trustees
• Attend an event (see the websites of Third Sector Support Wales or Trustees’ Week for a range of online events)
• Take time to thank your current trustees for their tireless (and usually unpaid) work

Geldards will be contributing to Trustees’ Week by bringing you brief legal and sector updates each day.
For our contribution today, we would like to highlight the importance of learning from our own (and others’!) mistakes. Humans are at the heart of charities and it’s a fact of life that humans make mistakes. But for charities, mistakes can have serious repercussions including regulatory intervention.

The Commission’s inquiry findings in Support For Heroes sets out some invaluable lessons for us all. The charity’s objects were to support and to promote the assistance of persons currently serving or who have served in the armed forces and their dependents.

The charity featured in a BBC investigative programme entitled ‘The Great Military Charity Scandal’, which was broadcast in November 2016. This programme brought to light some concerns in respect of fundraising activities conducted by the charity, including its arrangements with a third party fundraiser.

The Commission’s statutory inquiry concluded that there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in the running of the charity by the trustees, most notably their failures to manage conflicts of interest, to comply with their governing document and lack of transparency around arrangements with third party fundraising consultants.

Lessons to be learnt

Partnering with a fundraising consultant or commercial participator to raise money can bring benefits. However, trustees must ensure that they continue to meet their legal duties by ensuring that:

• these arrangements comply with the specific legal requirements that apply in the Charities Act;
• the arrangements, including the costs, are in the best interests of the charity;
• any money raised is used as effectively and efficiently as possible and in furtherance of the objects; and
• conflicts of interest and properly managed.

The Commission’s report is well worth reading, particularly due to its comments aimed at the wider sector. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this report, please get in touch with a member of our team.

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