Saturday, 5 October 2013

Age and experience made me this way

Spend the day quietly fuming at my Knicker Drawer stall.

Of course I'm not telling you why. This is a public place! (And who knows? Maybe threat of litigation.)

Suffice to say, I am now nurturing in my bosom a list of complaints about a bunch of local charity trustees; complaints which are far too long and complicated for a two-second blog in Planet Internet.

Such a list, by the way, is better received by the Charity Commission.

Do you know they take complaints about trustee management of your local community charities?

Especially if you sit all day fuming at your Knicker Drawer stall, in a stew about the way the trustees of a charity behave - could be any charity dear to your heart - say, for example only, how they may reputationally damage the charity you are loyal to; how they may manage it in a way which appears not to be in the best interests of the people it is aimed at; or maybe how they are just pissing you off by suggesting you are a fishwife.

Just saying, then, what trustees are supposed to do in managing any charity, is exercise proper compliance, duty, and care, as you can read from the Charity Commission website*. Not, for example only, locking the dance and drama kiddies out the building, telling them the place is shut, and their groups won't continue, now clear off.

Maybe all I will say is that the behaviour towards the woman from the Vulnerable Women's Group was particularly mean-spirited and cruel.

Someone left her in tears, having kicked her when she was down, telling her the space she booked for the battered-women-sewing-the-fabric-squares exhibition is no longer available; forget the month you booked it, the building is shut. And the half-term Hallowe'en fun? We'll say the group is cancelled because it hasn't been OFSTEDed. We'll then say the reason all the kiddy groups are locked out the building after we sacked the manager was that he changed the locks, even though the keyholders could still open the doors with their functioning keys.

I listen to myself now, in my froth, stew, and spit, with my old lady bulldog face; I am become a letter-wittering rancorous old spinster, chewing my outrage, composing my bullet points, picking legalities, facing the world in indignation at tiny betrayals of life's confidence and trust.

I blame age.

Youth was simpler! When outraged response was oh so promptly administered by dropping a couple of dead fish through a letterbox.

Now excuse me. I have letters to write.

*Not that you wanted to know it. But if you ever did:

(1) Trustees have and must accept ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of a charity, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.

(2) Ensure that the charity complies with charity law, and with the requirements of the Charity Commission as regulator; in particular ensure that the charity prepares reports on what it has achieved and Annual Returns and accounts as required by law.

(3) Ensure that the charity does not breach any of the requirements or rules set out in its governing document and that it remains true to the charitable purpose and objects set out there.

4) Comply with the requirements of other legislation and other regulators (if any) which govern the activities of the charity.

(5) Act with integrity, and avoid any personal conflicts of interest or misuse of charity funds or assets.

(6) Ensure that the charity is and will remain solvent.

(7) Use charitable funds and assets reasonably, and only in furtherance of the charity's objects.

(8) Avoid undertaking activities that might place the charity's endowment, funds, assets or reputation at undue risk.

(9) Take special care when investing the funds of the charity, or borrowing funds for the charity to use.

(10) Use reasonable care and skill in their work as trustees, using their personal skills and experience as needed to ensure that the charity is well-run and efficient.

(11) Consider getting external professional advice on all matters where there may be material risk to the charity, or where the trustees may be in breach of their duties.

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