The Charity Commission for England & Wales (CC) has developed a Code of Governance (https://www.charitygovernancecode.org/en) that it recommends should be applied by all charities. The purpose is to assure all stakeholders and potential donors that the Charity is trustworthy and being run appropriately. The CC states that Trustees should understand their main duties and these are set out in a document, The Essential Trustee published by the Government and found on:-
There is no regulatory requirement to comply with the code and how it is applied will depend upon the size and characteristics of the charity.
- The seven tests
The CC has developed seven key areas and each of these is shown below along with an analysis of current performance.
2.1. Organisational purpose
CC test: The Board is clear about the charity’s aims and ensures that these are being delivered effectively and sustainably.
Response: The Puddenecks Constitution is clear in our purpose, “…to further charitable purposes for the benefit of older people who, in the opinion of the Executive Committee are in need’’. The charity was established at the simplest level in that it doesn’t employ staff, owns no property or buildings, does not enter into any leases and does not have a trading account. Volunteers are not paid and fund their own expenses, so tests of effectiveness relate to success or otherwise of individual events. Sustainability of the Charity relies on ability to attract new members who have the enthusiasm to run the Charity, raise funds and contribute to events. Currently, membership is static with new members equalling leavers.
CC test: Every charity is led by an effective board that provides strategic leadership in line with the charity’s aims and values.
Response: The singularity of purpose ensures that the Executive Committee (EC) works towards the Charity’s aims and values. The Constitution calls for a quorate committee of between 7-14 which represents a large percentage of total membership of some 50 members and in practice the Committee just meets this requirement. The Committee has demonstrated singularity of purpose and leadership in funding other local charities that provide services to older people. To date this has not detracted from funding its own socialisation activities.
CC test: The Board acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which help achieve the organisation’s charitable purposes. The Board is aware of the importance of the public’s confidence and trust in charities, and Trustees undertake their duties accordingly.
Response: The Puddenecks enjoys a high reputation amongst other local charities, Barnet Council and the local population, evidenced by contacts and through support at coin collections. No Trustee receives remuneration or has any conflict of interest with the Club’s activities.
2.4 Decision-making, risk and control.
CC test: The Board makes sure that its decision-making processes are informed, rigorous and timely and that effective delegation, control and risk assessment and management systems are set up and monitored.
Commentary: Puddenecks has an elected Executive Committee with a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer plus a minimum of four other Trustees. The Committee meets six times per year to plan, execute and review events and fundraising as well as the management of the Puddenecks Club. There are policies and procedures in place covering various elements of the Charity’s work. These are Volunteer Drivers’ Guidelines, Incident Report Forms, an Incident Report Log that is tabled at AGMs, and a Risk Assessment Form to be completed for all venues used. Minutes of the meetings are circulated to all Executive committee members with actions needed, highlighted. Operating guidelines are set out in page 6 of this booklet. All, but one or two ‘Guest’ events each year are of a repetitive nature and tried and tested methodologies are applied. Guest details including next of kin are collected. Financial oversight of all transactions is provided by the Treasurer and the Committee review unit and total costs per event through Management Accounts. Although not required by Charity Commission, an external auditor examines our end of year accounts.
An analysis of current risks is attached at 1. Appropriate insurance is in place to cover guests, volunteers and third parties.
2.5. Board effectiveness
CC test: The Board works as an effective team, using the appropriate balance of skills, experience, backgrounds and knowledge to make informed decisions.
Commentary: Tasks are allocated to the individual Trustees and managed through the bi-monthly meetings. The reserves, income and expenditure are managed through agreeing a yearly forecast of income and expenditure and monitoring progress through the routine meetings. The Reserves Policy requires that action should be taken to maintain reserves at around 6 months annual expenditure with an additional £2,000 as a contingency reserve for unforeseen liabilities. All investments of surplus money will be in low risk funds.
CC test: The Board’s approach to diversity supports its effectiveness, leadership and decision-making.
Commentary: Age and capacity (minimum age of 55, and do not require health or social care, unless accompanied by a carer) are the only qualifications to receive any of the Puddeneck benefits. However, about 95% of all guests are female, only some 5% of Puddenecks are female and there is no female representative on the Committee. Attempts to redress this imbalance continue. Feedback from guests is exceedingly positive and they are invited to suggest alternative activities.
2.7 Openness and accountability
CC test: The board leads the organisation in being transparent and accountable.
Commentary: The Secretary publishes a monthly newsletter that reports on events, news, finances and matters arising from bi-monthly committee meetings. Officers report at the monthly supper meetings and the AGM and are open to questioning by members. Members can request to observe at a Committee Meeting. The Newsletter and Chairman’s Annual Report is posted on the public website and Annual Accounts are circulated and discussed and agreed at the AGM with the numbers approved submitted to the Charity Commissioners in our annual return. Membership of Puddenecks Club is open to all through application.
This was agreed by the full committee on the 18th November 2018 and the document signed off by the Chairman, Neil Todd on behalf of the Trustees
Last Reviewed January 2021