Understanding Charitable Trusts and Parish/ Town Councils…
Rest assured - help is out there!
Is your parish council a charitable trustee? Does your council own assets that are subject to a charitable trust? If the answer to either of these questions is yes (or indeed you are not sure!) then LRALC's forthcoming course Charitable Trusts and Parish/Town Councils - Navigating the Minefield is for you!
Understanding the context
Many parish and town councils are trustees of either public facilities (such as village halls, allotments or war memorials) or of funds (such as grants). In such cases, councillors and clerks should be clear on what role their parish council plays. Does the charity's governing document specify that the parish council is a trustee? Does the council appoint an individual councillor as trustee? Does the parish council act on the direction of a management committee or does it have a decision-making role? What is the charity's stated purpose? Who is registered with The Charity Commission as Trustee and is this accurate?
Understanding your responsibilities
Knowing and understanding the answers to these questions is key to grasping what legal and administrative responsibilities the parish council, or indeed individual councillors, might have. Whilst there are similarities in how charities and local councils operate there are also vital differences, such as restrictions on how charity assets can be handled. Charity trustees also have obligations under the terms of the charity which can, on occasion, conflict with the perceived wishes of the electorate. It is important that parish councils manage these conflicts correctly if they are to perform the role of charitable trustee effectively.
Councillors and clerks must understand the full implications of their duties, roles and responsibilities so that they can ensure that charitable trusts are properly managed and run. Understandably for many, the administration and governance of charitable trusts may seem complex and daunting. But rest assured that you are not alone - there is plenty of support out there to help parish councils avoid the financial and reputational pitfalls that occur when things go wrong.
How can LRALC help?
If you would like to access support the best place to start is by attending LRALC's next training course, run by sector expert Roger Taylor of Wellers Law Group LLP on 29th January 2018, 10am - 3pm. Roger has decades of experience helping parish and town councils address a vast range of legal challenges and is the source of expert advice for County Associations dealing with all matters relating to charitable trusts. Feedback comments from delegates who have previously attended the course include:
"the presenter had a thorough understanding of a complex area of charity law but was able to explain to all".
"fantastic session – a very complex subject made particularly clear"
"An excellent and very informative session...I have learnt a lot which I hope to pass on to my clerk and fellow councillors!!"
For more details on what the course covers and to book your place, please see our website https://www.leicestershireandrutlandalc.gov.uk/charities-training.html or contact us on 0116 235 3800.
Posted: Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:53 by admin