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Many charities, wary of the personal financial risks to trustees and members, use limited liability companies as a means of mitigating personal liability and in most cases, opt to establish as a company limited by guarantee. However, charities set up in this manner suffer the dual burden of regulation by both the Charity Commission and Companies House requiring an awareness of both Charity and Company law and the filing of documents with both regulatory bodies.
 
Many people will know that there is guidance from the Charity Commission in this area by way of a leaflet downloadable from their web site called CC11.
 
In public life there has been much debate and criticism recently in respect of public officials and their expenses claims. We will all have read about the MPs and certain inappropriate expenses claimed for the likes of duck houses.
 
In any public office, including charity, it is important that there is transparency so as to avoid the accusation of inappropriate gain.
Insurance is all about perceived risk, and your attitude to that. For example, some people do not insure their home contents because they consider the cost of insurance inappropriate by comparison with the risk. Others would be very uncomfortable unless they had insurance. Prudent people assess the risk and then make a decision on the facts.
 
Prudence would dictate that most people should insure their possessions and their homes and often other valuable items.
 
On 6 April 2010 the potential risks surrounding the collection, management and use of individuals’ personal data are set to increase. From that date the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the entity charged with overseeing and enforcing the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act), will have the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for serious contraventions of the Act. 
 
In the present difficult financial climate there has been and in deed is inevitably a lot of talk of charities and mergers.
 
So then is it right that charities should be considering a merger? How do you know?
 
It is true to say that charity trustees should always consider whether or not a merger could be potentially good for their charity and therefore their beneficiaries. It is appropriate that if a suitable opportunity arises should give it serious consideration.
 
Can Charity Trustees be paid?
 
The concept of unpaid Trusteeship has been one of the defining characteristics of the charitable sector contributing significantly to public confidence in charities. 
 
The basic position is therefore that the office of Trustee is that of volunteer and as such no payment for Trusteeship can normally be made. This does not preclude the payment of out of pocket expenses legitimately incurred in conducting the office of Trustee. 
 

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