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Roles and Responsibilities of Trustees

Anyone who is a trustee of a community group or voluntary organisation has responsibilities and duties in fulfilling their role as a trustee. Some of these duties are legal requirements, whilst others are best practice or moral obligations.

It is important that anyone already acting as a trustee, or who is considering becoming a trustee is aware of their role and responsibilities.

For general overview of a trustee's roles and responsibilities see PAVO's information sheet 5.2 Trustee Duties and Responsibilities.

The Charity Commission provides detailed information for the trustees of charities in its publication CC3 'The Essential Trustee: what you need to know'.

The Governance Hub publication National Occupational Standards for Trustees and Management Committee Members provides comprehensive best practice guidance on how to be an effective trustee, whilst the Code of Good Governance provides a national standard for how to run your community group or voluntary organisation effectively.

For general information about different trustee roles (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) see the PAVO information sheet 5.3 Governing Body Structures and Honorary Officers.

Everyone needs to have a clear idea about what their role is as trustee or as an officer (Chair, Treasurer, Secretary etc) if they are to play an effective part in the governance of a community group or voluntary organisation. Many groups and organisations therefore provide their trustees with job descriptions that explain their duties and responsibilities.

The WCVA Trustee and Governance Website has a useful resource from the 2007 Wales Trustee and Governance Conference which includes some examples of generic job descriptions for trustees and officers Model Job Descriptions and Role Analysis Exercise. The Governance Hub website also provides and example of a role description for trustees.

Two other sources of job descriptions for trustees and officers are the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Institute of Chartered secretaries and Administrators.

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