Charity trustees are the people who are legally responsible for the control, management and administration of a charity. In the charity’s governing document, they may be known as trustees, directors, board members, governors, committee members or charity trustees
Some people are disqualified by law from acting as charity trustees. These disqualifications are set out in the Charities Act, and broadly include but are not limited to anyone who:
- has been convicted of an offence involving deception or dishonesty, unless the conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978
- is an undischarged bankrupt or has made an arrangement with creditors
- has previously been removed as a charity trustee by the Commission or the courts (see below for more information)
- is subject to disqualification under company legislation.
The register of removed trustees (xls, 30KB) provides details of anyone who has been removed as a trustee by the High Court or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. It does not provide details of those who are disqualified for other reasons (for example, criminal convictions or insolvency).
The register includes the name of each removed trustee, as well as the date when the order was made and the name of the charity concerned. The details will remain on the register unless we have entirely lifted the disqualification. This means they will still remain on the register even if a disqualification is partially lifted, for example, allowing them to be a trustee under certain conditions.
Because it is an offence to act as a trustee whilst disqualified, all charities should have a vetting procedure in place to check that new and existing trustees are eligible to act. Checking the register of removed trustees is one way to do this.
It is also good practice for charity trustees to sign a form before their election or appointment to confirm that they are not disqualified.