Some people are not allowed by law to be a charity trustee. Every charity trustee must make sure that he or she is not breaking the law by being a charity trustee.
Certain people are disqualified from acting as charity trustees:
- Someone with an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or an offence under the 2005 Act.
- Someone who is an undischarged bankrupt or has a Protected Trust Deed.
- Someone who has been removed under either Scottish or English Law or the courts from being a charity trustee.
- Someone who is disqualified from being a company director.
It is the responsibility of individuals to make sure they are not disqualified from being a charity trustee. Anyone who acts as a charity trustee whilst disqualified is guilty of an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both.
It is also the collective responsibility of all the charity trustees to make sure that none of them are disqualified. If you know that one of your fellow charity trustees is disqualified and you do not do anything about it, you could be in breach of your charity trustee duties.
If you are not sure if you can be a charity trustee, you can ask us.
Good practice is to:
In some cases a charity’s governing document might say who can and cannot be a charity trustee, for example some charity trustees can only be chosen from the membership of the charity.
- Get prospective charity trustees to sign a declaration before their election or appointment to confirm they are not disqualified from acting as a charity trustee.
- Consider whether any other checks need to be carried out. For example, a Disclosure Scotland check for charity trustees working with vulnerable beneficiaries.