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Charity Commission

Volume 711: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures the Charity Commission has in place to take action, in the interests of ensuring effective governance, where the minutes of a meeting of a charity's trustees record a resolution which did not exist and which was subsequently acted upon in relation to the election of trustees. [HL3649]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the commission to reply.

Letter from Andrew Hind, dated May 2009.

As the chief executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your written Parliamentary Question on the action the Charity Commission might take where the minutes of a meeting of charity trustees record a resolution which did not exist and which was subsequently acted upon in relation to the election of trustees.

Charity trustees should ensure that minutes of trustee meetings are accurate records of the business carried out and decisions made. We produce guidance for charity trustees on this subject. Our publication CC48 Charities and Meetings is available on our website, www.charitycommission.gov.uk and provides best practice advice for charity trustees.

Charity trustees are usually elected in accordance with the provisions of their charity's governing document. If these are followed then there is unlikely to be a problem with the appointment and we will not be involved. However, if there is evidence to suggest that an appointment of trustees is invalid then the solution would depend on the circumstances of the particular case. For instance, if appropriate, the commission could use its powers to appoint the trustees to overcome any deficiency in their appointment.

Any suggestion that maladministration had taken place in the appointment of trustees would be given serious attention by the commission. Our response would depend on the facts of the case as supported by the evidence. In my response to a previous question, I outlined our risk and proportionality framework, which is published on our website (above) and has been placed in the Library of the House. We would use this framework to assess the most appropriate and proportionate course of action to take.

I hope this is helpful.