This is a summary of the ACFA trustees’ main legal responsibilities.
A trustee must be at least 16 years old to be a trustee of the ACFA. Substantial experience of the ACF is sought in Regional Trustees, while other roles, such as the Chairman of the Finance Committee require relevant experience to provide sound advice and guidance to the board.
A trustee must be properly appointed following the procedures and any restrictions in the ACFA’s governing document.
The ACFA cannot accept a potential trustee who is disqualified under the Charities Act, including those who:
- have an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception (such as fraud)
- are bankrupt or have entered into a formal arrangement (eg an individual voluntary arrangement) with a creditor
- have been removed as a company director or charity trustee because of wrongdoing
ACFA also disqualifies those people who are barred by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) from working with young people. Even though being a trustee of a charity that works with children or vulnerable adults is not a regulated activity, the ACFA considers it inappropriate to have a trustee who is barred by the DBS.
Ensure ACFA is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
Trustees must make sure that the ACFA is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up, and no other purpose. ACFA’s trustees:
- understand the ACFA’s purposes as set out in its governing document
- plan what the ACFA will do, and what trustees want it to achieve
- are able to explain how all of the ACFA’s cadet programmes and ACFA activities are intended to further or support its purposes
- understand how the ACFA benefits the public by carrying out its purposes
Comply with the ACFA’s governing document and the law
- make sure that the ACFA complies with its governing document
- comply with charity law requirements
Trustees take reasonable steps to find out about legal requirements, for example by reading relevant guidance or taking appropriate advice.
Act in the ACFA’s best interests
- do what they (and no one else) decide will best enable the ACFA to carry out its purposes
- as a Board of Trustees make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term
- avoid a position where the trustee’s duty to the ACFA conflicts with their personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body
- not receive any benefit from the ACFA unless it is properly authorised and is clearly in the ACFA’s interests; this also includes anyone who is financially connected to a trustee, such as a partner, dependent child or business partner
Manage the ACFA’s resources responsibly
Trustees must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly. This is sometimes called the duty of prudence. Prudence is about exercising sound judgement. Trustees must:
- make sure the ACFA’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes
- avoid exposing the ACFA’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk
- not over-commit the ACFA
- take special care when investing or borrowing
- comply with any restrictions on spending funds or selling land
Trustees should put appropriate procedures and safeguards in place and take reasonable steps to ensure that these are followed. Not doing so risks making the ACFA vulnerable to fraud or theft, or other kinds of abuse, and being in breach of a trustee’s duty.
Act with reasonable care and skill
As someone responsible for governing the ACFA, a Trustee:
- must use reasonable care and skill, making use of skills and experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary
- should give enough time, thought and energy to the role, for example by preparing for, attending and actively participating in all trustees’ meetings
Ensure the ACFA is accountable
Trustees must comply with statutory accounting and reporting requirements. Trustees should also:
- be able to demonstrate that the ACFA is complying with the law, well run and effective
- ensure appropriate accountability to members
- ensure accountability within the ACFA, particularly where trustees delegate responsibility for particular tasks or decisions to staff or volunteers
For further guidance on Trustees responsibilities, visit the Government Website.