- Trustee duties and responsibilities.
- Trustee code of conduct.
- Trustee eligibility declaration form for new trustees to sign and return.
- Principles of the U3A Movement.
- Structure of the U3A Movement
- Settle District U3A constitution.
- Committee member role descriptions.
- ‘About Settle District U3A’ leaflet
- Committee meeting minutes
- Latest annual report and accounts.
- Policy documents
- Regular meetings
- The Essential Trustee and Charity Trustee: what’s involved
If you are reading this, you have probably been elected to become a committee member, otherwise known as a trustee, of Settle District U3A and are wondering what you have let yourself in for.
The most important thing is that the other members of the committee will be delighted to have you on board and will be happy to offer support and encouragement as you learn about the running of Settle District U3A.
Settle District U3A, like any other U3A is an independent self-governed charitable association with its own constitution. As a charity, Settle District U3A is registered with the Charities Commission, to which a return has to be made annually. Settle District U3A can apply for gift aid and grants that are used to carry out its constitutional objectives. All committee members are required to become trustees of Settle District U3A.
This information pack will help you understand your role and responsibilities. Please read it and take notes if necessary, research any on-line links and then bring this pack and your questions to the meeting for new trustees. The main thing is to be aware of this information and know where to find it when you need to.
This pack is also available on Settle District U3A’s website at https://settledistrictu3a.org/
There is also a lot of useful information on the National U3A site at https://www.u3a.org.uk/advice where you can create an account and log in to see it.
Settle District U3A Committee
The Settle District U3A constitution (see 8 below) allows for four officers and up to six committee members. It also details the time that may be served by the officers and other members of the committee.
The constitution requires that the committee meet at least 4 times a year. In practice, the committee normally meets once a month prior to the speaker meeting. Any apologies for non-attendance should be sent to the Secretary in advance of the meeting.
As a committee member you will be involved in discussing the items on the agenda such as the annual budget, reports, the newsletter and correspondence brought to the meeting by committee members.
There is a link to the role descriptions for each committee member at 9 below.
The role of a trustee
A trustee is responsible for the general control and management of their U3A and must carry out their duties within the context of the governing document i.e. the constitution.
A trustee must;
- Act in the interests of the U3A.
- Ensure that the U3A operates in a manner that is consistent with its charitable objects and purposes.
- Act with care and diligence and in accordance with any legal requirements.
- Trustee Duties and Responsibilities
- Charity trustees are the people responsible for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. They may be known as trustees, directors, board members or committee members. No matter what term is used, you are legally a trustee if you are part of the group of people with overall responsibility for overseeing and leading the charity, ensuring it is solvent and well-run and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public.
- Trustees serve as volunteers and receive no payment other than out of pocket expenses. They must put the interests of their charity first, work together as a team and assume collective responsibility.
- Ensure your charity is carrying out its purpose
You must make sure that the charity is carrying out the purpose for which it is set up, and no other purpose. This means you should;
- Ensure you understand the charity’s purposes as set out in its governing document.
- Plan what your charity will do and what you want it to achieve.
- Be able to explain how all of the charity’s activities are intended to further or support its purposes.
- Understand how the charity benefits the public by carrying out its purposes.
- Understand that spending charity funds on the wrong purposes is a very serious matter.
- Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
Registered charities must make sure that the details held by their regulatory authority remain accurate and ensure they provide all necessary information, financial and otherwise by the required date.
As a charity trustee you should
- Make sure that the charity complies with its governing document.
- Comply with charity law requirements and other laws that apply to your charity.
- Take reasonable steps to find out about legal requirements, for example by reading relevant guidance or taking appropriate advice when you need to.
- Act in your charity’s best interests
As a charity trustee you must;
- Do what you (and no one else) decides will best enable the charity to carry out its purposes.
- Make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term.
- Avoid putting yourself in a position where your duty to your charity conflicts with your personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body.
- Not receive any benefit from the charity unless it is properly authorised and is clearly in the charity’s interests; this also includes anyone who is financially connected to you, such as a partner, dependent child or business partner.
- Manage your charity’s resources responsibly
As a trustee you must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly. This is sometimes called the duty of prudence. Prudence is about exercising sound judgement. You must;
- Make sure the charity’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes.
- Avoid exposing the charity’s assets or reputation to undue risk.
- Not over-commit the charity.
- Take special care when investing or borrowing.
- Comply with any restrictions on spending funds.
- Put appropriate procedures and safeguards in place and take reasonable steps to ensure that these are followed. Otherwise you risk making the charity vulnerable to fraud or theft, or other kinds of abuse and being in breach of your duty.
- Act with reasonable care and skill
As a trustee responsible for governing a charity, you;
- Must use reasonable care and skill, making use of your skills and experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary.
- Should give enough time, thought and energy to your role, for example by preparing for, attending and actively participating in all trustees’ meetings.
- Ensure your charity is accountable
As a trustee you must comply with statutory accounting and reporting requirements. You should also;
- Be able to demonstrate that your charity is complying with the law, well run and effective.
- Ensure appropriate accountability to members and within the charity as a whole.
- Trustee Code of Conduct
The National U3A have issued a Trustee Code of Conduct. Settle District U3A have adapted this document to be specific for the organisation and it is available on the website.
- Trustee Eligibility Declaration Form
- Principles of The U3A Movement
- Structure of the U3A Movement
The Third Age Trust (TAT) was founded in 1982, to ‘enable older people to organise their own learning’. TAT is both a limited company and a registered charity and provides educational and administrative support to local U3As. It is managed by a National Executive committee, has its own constitution and is funded by a ‘capita charge’. This capita charge is taken from each members’ annual subscription and occasional grants. TAT procures insurance to cover Public and Product liability so that, whilst as a trustee of Settle District U3A you are personally financially liable, assuming that the committee acts within the context of the constitution with care and diligence and in accordance with any legal requirements including Data Protection, you are covered by this insurance. The TAT is the UK’s national U3A representative and deals with U3A public relations as well as producing U3A merchandise.
You can learn more about TAT at https://www.u3a.org.uk/ and
Yorkshire and Humber Region
Based in Yorkshire, Settle District U3A is a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Region (YAHR). This was set up in 2002. The region is managed by a committee and issues a monthly newsletter which can be read on line.
A Settle District U3A committee member normally attends the regular regional meetings and reports back at the next committee meeting.
Networks are voluntary groupings of constituent U3As with the aim of providing improved mutual support, resources or activities for their members. There are 3 main types of network which are being encouraged within YAHR.
- Geographical networks, involving a group of neighbouring U3As
- Subject based networks
- Role based networks
Settle District U3A is in the geographical network known as WestNet. The other U3As in WestNet are; Craven, Ilkley, and Bradford. There is an agreement that any member can join any group in any of these U3As without further cost of additional membership as long as there is space in the chosen group. WestNet also runs social events. A committee member is chosen to represent us at WestNet meetings.
- Settle District U3A constitution
The constitution can be found on the website or follow this link:
- Committee member role descriptions
Job descriptions for specific committee roles can be found on the website or follow this link :
- ‘About Settle District U3A ‘ leaflet
This leaflet gives general information on our organisation including our groups.
It can be found on the website or follow this link:
- Committee meeting minutes
A resume of the minutes of all committee meetings is available on the website. Full copies can be obtained from the committee secretary. For resumees of the minutes follow this link:
- Latest annual report and accounts
The latest annual report and accounts are available on the website. Follow these links:
- Policy documents
A number policies are available on the website, including the grievance policy, the disciplinary policy, the equality and diversity policy and the data protection policy.
For copies of all policies follow this link: https://settledistrictu3a.org/policies
- Regular meetings
Committee meetings are usually held each month before the monthly open meetings that take place on the second Thursday of the month with the exception of the second Thursday in August, when group enrolment takes place and the second Thursday in September, when the Annual General Meeting takes place.
Other meetings that occur less frequently offer a chance for the committee to meet group leaders and new members.
- The Essential Trustee and Charity Trustee : What’s Involved
These documents, produced by the government, give the essence of trusteeship.