Charities making use of business consultancy services from an organisation like London Registrars may be interested to read of the encouragement that the Charity Commission has given them to provide their trustees with training and support to aid their development.

The Commission undertook a survey revealing that according to a third of charity register applicants, trustee training and support was not offered by their organisation. This compared to the just shy of two thirds – 63 per cent – that did provide this to some degree.

The Commission affirmed that given the ultimate responsibility for directing a charity’s business lay with the trustees, resources, support and training were therefore important if they were to run their charities with maximum effectiveness. Not only did this improve the governance of such organisations, but it also assisted the individual’s professional development to be equipped with relevant skills and experience.

Charity register applicants were asked as part of the survey to pick out a statement that provided the most accurate summary of the trustees’ role in their organisation. It may be of interest to charities and their Trustees who use business consultancy services as well as business consultancy providers themselves to learn that more than half of respondents, 51 per cent, described their charity’s trustees’ role as being primarily strategic.

Responsibilities as a trustee are often of a higher standard than those of the person’s everyday employment. An individual’s key involvement in a charity’s strategic decisions and management means that training; suitable resources and support are of the greatest importance. This is a view that is endorsed by the commission.

The survey also asked respondents, to what extent were they aware, was support available and the take up of that support by their trustees to aid them in the fulfilment of their responsibilities. Topping the list of support providers with 44 per cent was the Charity Commission, while 41 per cent cited ‘another charity working in a similar field’. According to 29 per cent of respondents, legal advice had been accessed by trustees.

Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, Sam Younger, commented: “It’s really important that trustees receive regular training to enable them to continually build on their knowledge and run their organisations effectively, and in accordance with charity law.

“Poor governance is sadly something we see regularly in charities, as a result of trustees failing to understand their duties; concerns about poor governance or poor trusteeship featured in 597 of our 1,374 assessment cases in 2011-12.”

His words may prompt many of these charities to investigate providers of business consultancy services such as London Registrars, particularly when he added that he would “encourage Chairs to regularly assess skills gaps in their boards and identify what their trustees need training on – from managing conflicts of interest to decision making, there’s a huge amount of support out there from both the Commission and the wider sector.”