Trustees play an important and crucial role in the existence of a charity, but the position carries a number of responsibilities and can sometimes be daunting for a volunteer to take on.
New trustees should be made to feel like part of the charity; and providing a proper induction will ensure that they are given a clear understanding of the structure of the provision and how it operates, as well as their role and responsibilities within it.
If you would like to become a trustee of the Pre-School please speak to the Pre-School manager for further details.
Welcome, and thank you for choosing to volunteer yourself for election as a trustee. We extend a warm welcome to you and hope that your volunteering with the charity will be enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.
Our trustees are extremely important to us. The charity thrives thanks to the dedication of the many different people who work with us – our volunteers, our members and our paid staff. As a volunteer, we value the contribution of your time and skills, as they are an essential ingredient to our continued success.
We are pleased to introduce this trustee guide. The purpose of this guide is to provide you with some valuable information if you are considering volunteering as a trustee for the charity, or as part of your induction process.
BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
Volunteering to be a trustee of the Pre-School setting is a great way to put something positive back into the local community and can have many rewards and benefits.
It offers you the opportunity to become involved in the learning and development of the children and can also involve becoming more involved in the wider community. You will also have a chance to meet the parents, update existing skills and learn new ones.
THE ROLE OF THE TRUSTEES
The trustees of a charitable Pre-School are jointly responsible for the effective running of the charity and making decisions regarding the management of the charity in order to further its charitable purposes. The trustees have an overriding duty to act lawfully and in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries.
The Constitution is the legal governing document for our charity. It outlines the rules that the trustees must follow to run the charity efficiently and in accordance with the law. A copy will be made available to you as part your induction.
MANAGING THE FINANCES
The trustees are responsible for ensuring that the charity’s finances comply with relevant legislation and are managed in accordance with the Constitution.
This involves keeping accurate accounting records, preparing the accounts at the end of the financial year and, in some cases, having them auditing or examined by an independent person to ensure the money is appropriately accounted for.
The accounts must be accompanied by an annual report, prepared by the trustees, describing the activities of the charity in the year and providing some basic administrative information about the management and operation of the charity.
As a trustee you are one of the employers of the staff working for the charity, and must obey the laws on employment. These will involve you fulfilling responsibilities to your staff (by respecting employees’ legal rights) and to the Government (by operating tax and other systems).
As per our constitution the Chairperson of the Trustees is responsible for the managing the management committee however this can be delegated if required.
The trustees of the charity are elected each year at the charity’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Individuals over the age of 18 years who are members of Bollington Pre-School are eligible to be elected as a trustee.
A few individuals may be disqualified from acting as a trustee of a charity under the Charities Act 2003; such as those that have an unspent conviction for any offence involving deception or dishonesty, or who are undischarged bankrupts. If you are unsure if you are eligible, you can contact the Charity Commission on 0845 3000 218 for further guidance.
The trustee role is also subject to the requirements of satisfactory suitability checks by Ofsted, which include a criminal records check. Having a conviction will not necessarily bar you from volunteering with us. This will depend on the circumstances and background to the offence(s) disclosed.
As a volunteer you will not be issued with a contract of employment. There will be an expectation that you will meet the role’s requirements – as a charity trustee, an employer and a registered childcare provider.
To ensure that this happens, you will be given a realistic preview of what to expect from the role before you start volunteering and provided with the following information during your induction process:
• on overview of your role (see Trustee Duties and Responsibilities);
• a copy of the charity’s Constitution;
• a copy of the charity’s policies: which include safeguarding children, confidentiality, diversity and equality and health and safety;
• information on the meetings that you are entitled or expected to attend;
• details of the Early Years Foundation Stage;
• details of relevant training that you can access;
• details of other relevant documentation you will need to carry out the role and where you can obtain support and guidance (see Further Information and Useful Contacts); and
• notification the Pre-School would like to have, if possible, prior to you leaving your trustee role.
Your first task as a trustee is to use the available information, advice and guidance to make yourself aware of your various responsibilities. A good place to start is to familiarise yourself with the charity’s Constitution, the terms of which will answer many of the common queries about how the charity operates, and with the Early Years Foundation Stage, which is the framework outlining the requirements that must be put in place for the welfare, learning and development of the children attending the provision.
It is also important to have a good handover when new trustees are appointed. Previous trustees should give clear direction or training on the charity’s systems and procedures to those that replace them and can be invited to initial meetings as mentors to provide advice and support.
TRUSTEE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
An outline of the responsibilities of the charity trustees is given below. A Chair and possibly a Treasurer or Secretary will be required in order to ensure that a number of essential duties are completed.
General trustee responsibilities and duties
• To ensure that the charity pursues its charitable aims and applies its resources exclusively for this purpose.
• To set out a clear strategic direction for the charity; upholding and promoting it’s ethos
• To ensure that the charity complies with the Constitution, charity law, and other relevant legislation and regulations.
• To work effectively as part of a team with the other trustees; whilst bringing your own ideas, perspectives and experience to the committee.
• To regularly attend and contribute to the decision making process of the committee, keeping up to date with developments that impact on the work of the charity and reading relevant committee papers.
• To actively contribute to ensuring that effective management, procedural and administrative systems are in place to govern the activities of the charity.
• To take reasonable care and skill as a trustee on all matters where there may be material risk to the charity.
• To declare when you, or any person or organisation connected with you, have a personal interest in an issue being discussed by the trustees and refrain from voting on the issue to prevent a potential conflict of interests arising.
• To work with the Treasurer to set priorities for the budget.
• To authorise expenditure in line with the charity’s financial procedures.
• To undertake Ofsted suitability checks as required.
• To recruit a Manager to take charge of the day to day running of the early years provision and to give them clear direction, agreeing policy and targets to support the successful management of the provision.
• In consultation with the Manager, ensuring that the Early Years Foundation Stage and Ofsted registration requirements are met.
• To work with the Manager to ensure the effective recruitment and induction of new employees and volunteers.
• To provide a link between the trustees, staff and members of the charity, ensuring that effective communication takes place.
• To work to ensure the provision is a safe place to be, for both children and adults.
• To support and help recruit and induct fellow trustees and encourage them to join the committee.
• To carry out all trustee duties in accordance with the Code of Conduct and the Constitution.
• To represent and act as an ambassador for the charity.
• To facilitate and chair meetings of the charity; including committee meetings, open meetings and general meetings, such as the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
• To set the agenda for meetings together with the Secretary.
• To co-ordinate the work of the committee to ensure effective administration of the charity.
• To act as the ‘Nominated Person’ for Ofsted purposes.
• To approve committee expenditure in line with the charity’s financial procedures.
• To line manage the employees of the charity as per the constitution.
• To support other committee members and authorise the work of the Treasurer.
• To ensure the trustees are aware of the financial position of the charity, providing an up-to-date written statement of accounts at committee meetings.
• To ensure that all trustees are aware of their financial responsibilities and comply with the charity’s financial procedures and those required by the Constitution.
• To ensure that accounts are prepared, audited or examined as appropriate.
• To present accounts to the members at the AGM.
• To open and maintain the group’s bank account, updating the list of signatories as necessary.
• To prepare in advance an annual budget, as agreed by the trustees; to advise the Manager of the financial implications of the budget and to monitor it regularly against financial progress.
• To issue bills and receipts on behalf of the charity and ensure that all necessary payments are made promptly.
• To ensure that the charity’s financial records are maintained accurately and updated on a timely basis.
• To liaise with staff on behalf of the trustees to ensure effective control of the charity’s finances.
• To ensure that bank accounts are reconciled to the charity’s financial records at least once a month. To review the bank reconciliation and sign it.
• To ensure that any funds held by the committee are used in accordance with the terms of the charity’s reserves policy.
• To review and return any other financial reports as necessary.
• To attend finance training if time and resources are available.
• To manage staff payroll and volunteers’ expenses.
• To respond appropriately and punctually to all correspondence; keeping proper records.
• To organise all meetings including booking venues, arranging refreshments, liaising with attendees to ensure they are informed.
• To collect all points to draw up meeting agendas and circulate to all meeting attendees punctually.
• To take comprehensive and accurate minutes during meetings, type up and send out to all attendees in a timely manner.
• To gather relevant information and produce a termly/monthly/weekly newsletter. Distribute to all appropriate people.
• To support all trustees and staff members by ensuring the administrative function is accurate and efficient.
[This is not a definitive list of the responsibilities and settings should amend the list as necessary. In some cases the administrative tasks mentioned above may be carried out by an employee, or by a trustee other than the Chair, Treasurer. However, the trustees collectively have overall responsibility for putting appropriate systems and controls in place to ensure the tasks are carried out correctly and that all legal requirements are met.] CHARITY COMMISSION REGISTRATION
Bollington Pre-School is a registered charity [charity number: 1009909] with the Charity Commission, which is the regulator of charities in England and Wales.
Bollington Pre-School [EY452060] is registered as a childcare provider with The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted). Ofsted inspect and regulate the quality and standards of care and education in early years settings. They look at how settings:
• help children to be healthy;
• protect children from harm or neglect and help them stay safe;
• help children enjoy and achieve; and
• help children make a positive contribution to your provision and the wider community.
Together, the charity trustees are the ‘registered person’ with Ofsted and have overall responsibility for ensuring the childcare provision meets the terms of Ofsted registration and the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. As part of your induction you will need to ensure you are aware of the requirements. For the most part the requirements will be delivered through effective leadership of the staff at the setting; particularly the Manager, who is the person who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the provision.
The trustees must fill out a notification form (EY3) whenever there is a change to the individuals on the committee, which informs Ofsted that there has been a change to the ‘registered person’. All trustees have shared responsibility for the day care provision. However, one individual, usually the Chair, will be the ‘nominated person’, to represent the organisation as the main contact with Ofsted.
Ofsted will carry out a number of checks on the suitability of the ‘registered person’. These will include an interview, criminal records checks and health checks. Each new trustee will need to complete a declaration and consent form (EY2) to apply for an enhanced criminal records check. The EY2 form asks for a self-declaration of criminal records and other matters that determine suitability to work with or provide childcare for children. The forms should be sent to Ofsted who will liaise with the Criminal Records Bureau to carry out the checks.
Further information is given in the Ofsted Guide to Registration on the Early Years Register available at www.ofsted.gov.uk.
EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
Ofsted regulate and inspect day care provision against the outcomes of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which is a mandatory framework for all registered childcare providers and schools caring for children from birth to five years. It was developed to ensure that all childcare services, whether they are new or established, provide a safe and secure environment for children and support children’s learning through carefully planned play activities that are fun and appropriate to their needs.
It is the policy of the setting to ensure that children have a safe, positive environment where they can learn and develop. It is also the duty of the trustees to ensure that all staff and volunteers:
• are committed to children’s well-being and safety;
• are clear about their responsibilities to safeguard and promote children’s welfare;
• know the procedures for highlighting any concerns; and
• have appropriate guidance and training to undertake their roles.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
The charity regards the management of health and safety as an integral part of its business and as a management priority. The aims of the charity’s health and safety practices are:
• to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a healthy and safe environment for all adults and children;
• to take all reasonable steps to reduce health and safety risks to volunteers, paid staff and others;
• to provide appropriate information, training and instruction to staff and volunteers to ensure safe working; and
• to be proactive on health and safety issues as part of the continued development of the health and safety culture of the organisation.
Trustees are expected to:
• do everything they can to prevent injury to themselves, their fellow volunteers, children, staff, families and others affected by their actions or omissions, whilst acting on behalf of the charity;
• follow the guidance and instructions provided relating to good health and safety practice;
• report any incidents which have or may have led to injury or damage;
• report any serious or imminent danger, and also report any shortcomings seen in the protection arrangements;
• follow the guidance and instructions provided relating to safeguarding children;
• work with the member of staff in the setting responsible for health and safety, to ensure that there are appropriate risk assessment procedures in place to identify, assess and take necessary steps to minimise any potential and reported hazards and risks to children and adults; and
• ensure that the charity’s insurance is adequate and up-to-date – informing the insurers of any material change that will affect the cover.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DATA PROTECTION
As a trustee of the charity you will come into contact with and use confidential personal information about people, such as names and addresses or even information about staff, children, families and other private matters. You must ensure that this information is treated with absolute confidentiality at all times and that you do not share personal information unless you are legally required to, or have obtained consent from the individual to do so. Otherwise you could breach the Data Protection Act, which provides strict rules in this area.
In essence, data protection means that organisations that process personal data, must comply with certain data protection principles and the rights of the person about whom data is processed (e.g. children, staff and volunteers). There are eight principles put in place by the Data Protection Act (DPA) which specify that data must be:
• fairly and lawfully processed;
• processed for limited purposes;
• adequate, relevant and not excessive;
• not kept for longer than is necessary;
• processed in line with your rights;
• secure; and
• not transferred to countries outside the EU without adequate protection.
It is against the law if any organisation does not keep to these principles.
The DPA applies to personal data in computerised, manual or any other format, as long as the data is in a system that allows the information to be readily accessible. This means that most files relating to children, staff and volunteers will be covered by the DPA.
If you are in any doubt about what you may or may not do under the DPA, seek advice from the Information Commissioners Office, who can be contacted on 08456 30 60 60.
Trustees are entitled to claim reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred while carrying out their trustee duties for the charity. The expenditure must be approved by the committee and will only be approved and reimbursed if it has been incurred wholly and necessarily for the setting’s business whilst carrying out a volunteering role.
Volunteers are responsible for:
• ensuring that they get the best value for the charity, including by travelling by the most economic route;
• making claims for reimbursement on a timely basis; and
• ensuring that all expenditure is supported by a valid receipt.
Bollington Pre-School is an unincorporated charity. This means that the trustees may be held personally liable if there is a shortfall in the assets of a charity where it is unable to meet a liability. However, we have taken out insurance to cover this matter, and if the trustees act lawfully in accordance with the charity’s constitution, this personal liability is rare.
It is the charity’s policy to put an appropriate level of reserves in place (to cover unplanned expenses such as redundancies) to safeguard against difficult situations.