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Home Advice & Services Online Guidance and Toolkits 3. Trustee Roles and Responsibilities

3. Trustee Roles and Responsibilities

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of trustees:
Charity (or Managing) Trustees  ‘have and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up’.
Holding Trustees are appointed by the Charity/Managing trustees of an unincorporated association only to hold the legal title to any land, property or investments on behalf of the charity. 
A Custodian Trustee performs the same function as a holding trustee, but is itself a corporate body – often a local authority.

What are the responsibilities of Charity Trustees?

You can find out by reading our document ‘Trustees Roles and Responsibilities’ which you can download using the links below.

Who may be a trustee?

Subject to any specific provisions of an organisation’s constitution (for example, that trustees must be members of the organisation), anyone may be a trustee who

  • is over 18 years of age;
  • is not impaired by reason of mental or physical incapacity from properly attending to
    the affairs of the charity; and
  • is not disqualified from acting as a trustee.
It is an offence to act as a charity trustee while disqualified unless the Charity Commissioners have given a waiver under Section 72(4) of the Charities Act 1993.

Our 'Disqualified or Not' information sheet covers briefly all aspects of the disqualification of trustees, and includes a list of common offences which do - or don’t - lead to disqualification.

For more information

To find out more about the roles and responsibilities that Trustees have in an organisation select the links below to download our set of publications.

If you would like to talk to one our advisers, call our advice service on 0845 847 4253 from 09.30 to 13.00 on Mondays and Thursdays. Alternatively, you can email us your question and we will get back to you.

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