How do I write a Trustees’ Report?

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Who needs to prepare a Trustees’ Report?

All registered charities must prepare a Trustees’ Report to accompany their accounts and if asked, make this document available to the public.  Charities with income above £25,000 (and Charitable Incorporated Organisations of any size) need to file this report with the Charity Commission, along with their accounts and annual return.

The responsibility for preparing the report is with trustees, however they can ask staff or volunteers to assist with the drafting process. Trustees sign-off the report as part of the accounts approval.

What needs to be included in a Trustees’ Report?

Smaller charities (with income less than £500,000) are subject to simpler requirements than their larger counterparts.

Module 1 of the SORP gives the full content requirements and separates the required disclosure between smaller and larger charities. This module outlines the necessary content under the following suggested headings:

  • Objectives and activities
  • Achievements and performance
  • Financial review
  • Structure, governance and management
  • Reference and administrative details
  • Funds held as custodian trustee on behalf of others

There isn’t a set order required and you don’t need to use the headings above, but module 1 outlines what must be included in the report.

Can I put additional items in the Trustees’ Report?

Yes! When it comes to charity reporting, there is a story to tell and the Trustees’ Report provides your opportunity to tell it in an engaging way.

Numbers alone cannot communicate whether your charity has met its objectives for the year, what progress it’s made in pursuing its purposes, or its future strategic plans.

Many reports are significantly enhanced by the inclusion of charts, diagrams, pictures and infographics. Remember, a picture can tell a thousand words.

In addition, smaller charities are encouraged to adopt the disclosure requirements for larger charities as best practice.

Need assistance?

This is your charity’s story, but we’re here to help.

There are several areas in the report that you might value our assistance with:

  1. Disclosure around reserves and the charity’s policy are important areas for all charities and are often subjects that trustees find confusing.
  2. Larger charities need to include the charity’s investment policy, if the charity has investments. This is not only needed for the accounts, but to guide decisions and those of any investment advisers seeking to act in the best interests of the charity.
  3. Charities with income over £1 million need to include a number of extra disclosures around fundraising practices.
  4. Larger charities must also include a description of their risk management processes and outline the principal risks their charity faces.
  5. Does your financial review meet the requirements of the SORP, and speak intelligently to what the numbers show?

Please get in touch with our Head of Charity Development, Ed Marsh (0117 973 8441), for any training or assistance your board or charity might benefit from.

© Burton Sweet Limited

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