The Village Hall’s management committee has two financial responsibilities:
1. The Committee shall present to each annual general meeting the report and accounts of the charity for the preceding year,
2. Any sum of cash at any time belonging to the charity and not needed as a balance for working purposes shall (unless otherwise directed by the Charity Commissioners) be invested.
Flowing from these duties is the fundamental obligation of all charity trustees to protect the property of their charity and to secure its application for the objects of the charity. In order to discharge this duty it is essential that there are adequate internal financial controls over the charity’s assets and their use.
Controls are a necessary feature of any well-run organisation. Because of the special characteristics of the charitable sector, they play an essential part in helping to show potential donors and beneficiaries that the charity’s property is safeguarded, and that its management is efficient.
That is why Brompton Ralph Village Hall accepts and implements the guidance provided by the Charity Commissioners in the management of its operations, as follows:
· The trustees of the Hall are under a duty to ensure that the charity keeps proper books and records, and that annual accounts are prepared. In many cases, the trustees must also prepare an Annual Report. The Annual Report and accounts should conform to any relevant requirements and recommendations.
· Trustees must ensure that the accounts are subjected to external scrutiny, if that is required by legislation or by the charity’s governing document.
· Trustees need to approve formally the charity’s Annual Report and accounts.
· It is recommended that all trustees be provided with copies of the charity’s report and accounts each year. New trustees ought to be given a copy of the latest accounts on appointment, together with other essential documents such as the governing document, and information about the charity’s history.
Controls over expenditure
It is important for trustees to bear in mind that they are responsible for all expenditure of charitable funds and have to account for how the charity’s funds have been applied.
Controls over purchases
Trustees have a responsibility to ensure that adequate checks are made to both confirm that purchases have been properly authorised, and that goods or services ordered have actually been received.
No system of controls, however elaborate, can guarantee that a charity will be totally protected against abuse.
Trustees often express concern about the extent of their personal liability in the event of any loss to the charity through misappropriation or misapplication of its funds. Having sufficiently rigorous controls provides not only protection for the charity property but also forms the best defence against a charge of failing to protect the
charity’s funds and thereby being in breach of trust. If funds are lost through trustees neglecting their duty of care they could be held liable to repay to the charity the funds lost.
However, if reasonable controls are in place then trustees are unlikely to find themselves in the position of having to make good any such loss.