Charity governance and compliance

They are very realistic and have an integrity which has won them their reputation and means that they get listened to.

Chambers UK

Trustees have a vital role to play in serving our communities. The charity law team at Penningtons Manches Cooper offers support and advice in an accessible framework, helping trustees to understand and comply with their legal responsibilities and to perform their duties as effectively as possible while they work together with all the stakeholders of their charity.

Our solicitors offer assistance to charity trustees of all types, whether they are already serving, newly recruited or yet to start, and regardless of their level of experience. We encourage them to see their contribution to the charity as a journey during which they can continue to learn and improve what they do. Our aim is to enable their charity to provide a comprehensive service to its beneficiaries as we guide them to avoid common pitfalls and to act with a sound knowledge of their obligations.

We regularly carry out full governance reviews, advising on changes to governing documents, amending policies and procedures and implementing new committee or membership structures. We also work with boards of trustees to provide regular legal updates and refresher trustee training as well as offering more bespoke training and supporting major projects.

Alongside day-to-day advice, our team provides guidance to trustees on strategic planning, complex initiatives and  difficult decisions relating to serious incidents or safeguarding issues. We can offer this support on a consultancy/project management basis when required.

Many of our lawyers are charity trustees themselves, either in a personal capacity or through professional contacts. We are immersed in the charity sector and have been actively involved with influencing the development of charity law by liaising directly with the Law Commission and taking a leading role in working parties of the Charity Law Association.

We offer expert advice on:

  • charity trustee duties and trustee training
  • trustee support, including legal consultancy on project work and strategic decision-making
  • reviewing and drafting policies and procedures
  • reviewing governance arrangements for charities and advising on structural change
  • reputation management and working with external regulators
  • identifying risks, risk management and risk registers
  • issues faced by international charities, particularly in relation to working in dysfunctional and dangerous political regimes and disaster areas
  • investment policies
  • conflicts of interest
  • serious incidents, charities in distress and Charity Commission investigations

Recent work highlights

Tailored trustee training

Providing bespoke training to the boards of trustees of a range of organisations, including national and local charities, schools, Oxbridge colleges and universities, on a variety of topics, including managing conflicts of interest, serious incident reporting, restructuring and working with volunteers.

Compliance check

Undertaking a review for an international charity to confirm that systems were in place which ensured that all the appropriate laws and regulations were being observed.

Decision time

Advising a board of trustees on its obligations in relation to making effective decisions on behalf of the charity in a very difficult and highly sensitive safeguarding situation.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP