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Unrestricted general funds can be spent at the discretion of the trustees to further any charitable purpose of the charity. This means that these funds can be spent in their own right, or can be added to a restricted fund which does not have enough money to cover its expenditure
Designated funds are still unrestricted, but have been set aside by the trustees for a particular future project or commitment. The designation is for administrative purposes only and carries no legal authority
Restricted funds are completely different. Restricted funds refer to funds held under ‘specific trusts’, which is that they are held for a specific charitable purpose. The restriction carries the weight of the law and so restricted funds can only be lawfully spent on the specific charitable purpose for which they were provided. As with designated funds, there is no requirement for restricted funds to be held in a separate bank account
A person is disqualified from acting as a charity trustee or holding a senior management position within a charity, if certain legal disqualification reasons apply to them.
From 1 August 2018 changes to the automatic disqualification rules mean there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity.
You will need to check that your trustees, Chief Executive Officer and Financial Directors will not be disqualified from acting in these positions after the 1 August 2018.
Your charity should have systems in place so that it can make sure people who are already in a trustee or senior manager position have not become disqualified in the period since they were appointed.
This can be done by asking them to sign a fresh declaration (at reasonable intervals) to confirm that they are not disqualified so that the signed declarations you periodically ask for:
Check what your charity needs to do as an employer before you can take on staff by following these six essential steps to follow:
It is a legal requirement that trustees of registered charities must report each year in their trustees’ annual report on how they have carried out their charity’s purposes for the public benefit. Trustees of smaller registered charities (where gross income does not exceed £500,000) must report on public benefit by:
• including a brief summary setting out the main activities undertaken by the charity to carry out its charitable purposes for the public benefit
• including a statement as to whether they have complied with their duty to have due regard to the commission’s public benefit guidance when exercising any powers or duties to which the guidance is relevant
Public benefit reporting, when done well, can be an effective tool for trustees as it helps a charity to
• stay focused on what their charity is there to achieve (its purposes) when planning activities
• demonstrate what their charity does and the value of its work, particularly when applying for grant funding or fundraising
• link with impact reporting and demonstrating the charity’s transparency and accountability
• improve the overall quality of reporting on the charity’s work
Paid annual leave is a legal right that an employer must provide. Most workers who work a 5-day week full time must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday.
The only time someone can get paid in place of taking statutory leave (known as ‘payment in lieu’) is when they leave their job. Employers must pay for untaken statutory leave (even if the worker is dismissed for gross misconduct).
If an employer offers more than 5.6 weeks’ annual leave, they can agree separate arrangements for the extra leave.
During their notice period the worker may be able to take whatever is left of their statutory annual leave.
Examples of types of insurance that might be needed to cover a charity’s property against loss or damage are:
Examples of types of insurance that might be needed to cover against a charity’s third party liabilities are:
Charities that employ staff are required by law to buy employers’ liability insurance. Charities that own or operate motor vehicles are required by law to buy motor insurance.
For insurance purposes, charities are advised to treat volunteers in the same way as they do their employees and to ensure that they are covered by the usual types of insurance a charity might buy, such as employers’ liability or public liability cover.
Some charity structures are corporate bodies. If you choose a structure that forms a corporate body, the law considers your charity to be a person in the same way as an individual.
This gives your charity the legal capacity to do many things in its own name that a person can do, such as:
If a charity structure is a corporate body, generally its trustees aren’t personally liable for what it does.
If your charity isn’t a corporate body (‘unincorporated’):
Templates are available to help eligible non-company charities prepare their trustees’ annual report and receipts and payments accounts. When fully completed these meet the requirements of the law and can be used for submission to the Charity Commission. The pro forma receipts and payments accounts can be used in one of two ways:
(i) where trustees do not wish to design their own annual accounts they may enter the relevant details and amounts from the cash book (and other) records of the charity on to the forms
(ii) trustees who want to produce their own form of receipts and payment accounts can use the forms as a checklist.