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Trustees' Information and Duties

The trustees of the academy trust are both charity trustees, governors and company directors. The following information refers to them as trustees.

The trustees should focus on the three core functions of governance:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance.

The trustees must apply the highest standards of governance and take full ownership of their duties. They must comply with the trust’s charitable objects, with company and charity law, and with their funding agreement. The duties of company directors are described in sections 170 to 181 of the Companies Act 2006, but in summary are to:

  • Act within their powers
  • Promote the success of the company
  • Exercise independent judgement
  • Exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Not to accept benefits from third parties
  • Declare interest in proposed transactions or arrangements

The duties of charity trustees are described in the Charity Commission’s guidance CC3: the essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do. Trustees should also be aware of other Charity Commission guidance, including that in annex D.

The trustees must ensure regularity and propriety in use of the trust’s funds, and achieve economy, efficiency and effectiveness – the three key elements of value for money.

The chair of trustees is responsible for ensuring the effective functioning of the board and setting professional standards of governance.

Trustees should follow the guidance in the Governance Handbook.

The board should identify the skills and experience that it needs, and address any gaps through recruitment, and/or induction, training and other development activities. This is particularly important at key transition points.

Six key features of effective governance

  • Strategic leadership
  • Accountability
  • People
  • Structures
  • Compliance
  • Evaluation