Trustee’s Handbook

A guide for members of Triratna Councils

(Triratna Chairs Assembly, Registered Charity 1117287)

(The previous version is available here: effectivetrustee-dec08

Most Triratna centres in the UK are run as registered charities. When you become a Council member you become a charity trustee. Being a Council member carries legal responsibilities and duties. This handbook sets out briefly and simply the responsibilities and duties of a Council member in the light of the Charity law and provides information on some of the other many relevant issues involved with running an Triratna charity.

The emphasis of this handbook is on the legal requirements and responsibilities of being a trustee, but the intention is not to give the impression that being a trustee needs to be arduous, or anxiety provoking! The charity commission report that serious problems in the charity sector as a whole are extremely rare. In Triratna too, serious legal or financial problems have rarely, if ever, occurred. Provided your council is reasonably responsible and careful to follow the charity commission requirements, being a trustee should be a rewarding and enjoyable process.

Originally compiled by Surana – February 2002
Updated by Vajragupta, May 2007, January 2008

The Contents of the handbook are as follows…


1 Introduction

2 Spiritual responsibility

3 Charities and charitable status
a. demonstrating public benefit
b. the Charity Commission/Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
c. restrictions and benefits to being a charity

4 The legal structure of Triratna charities
a. charities and companies and trustee liability
b. company or charity?
c. governance of Triratna charities
d. membership of the charity
e. council members (trustees)
(i) the role of the council
(ii) more on trustee responsibilities and liabilities
(iii) legal criterion for qualifying as a trustee
(iv) financial support of trustees
f. officers of the charity
(i) treasurer
(ii) secretary
(iii) chair
(iv) the president
(v) holding trustees

5 Annual Returns, Reports, and Accounts
a. terminology and definitions
b. summary of requirements for different sizes of charity
c. annual return
d. annual report
e. accounts

6 Running Meetings
a. checklist for chairing meetings
b. some guidelines for keeping minutes

7 Other Issues Trustees Need to Know About
a. legal advice found on the fwbo-centre-support website

8 Appendixes
a. a brief history of charity in the UK
b. the Triratna constitution or governing rules
c. sample Triratna branch rules
d. useful contacts and further information

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