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The role of Trustees

This is a summary of the main duties and responsibilities of trustees of the Institution. The last three paragraphs apply especially to persons who are thinking of becoming trustees.

You are only a trustee if you have been correctly nominated and elected by the Council of the Institution in accordance with its policies, procedures and By-Laws. Implicit within this is the mandatory disclosure process. 

A Trustee has full responsibility for the Institution's charitable affairs and must:

- act together and in person and not delegate control of the charity to others (you may be 
  able to delegate areas of work, but they must remain under the trustees' control);
- act strictly in accordance with the Institution's governing document;
- act in the Institution's interests only and without regard to your own private interests;
- manage the Institution's affairs prudently;
- not (without explicit authority) derive any personal benefit or gain from the Institution;  
  and
- take proper professional advice on matters on which you are not yourselves competent.

In managing the Institution's finances you must:

- make sure that bank accounts are operated by more than one person;
- make sure that all the Institution's property is under the control of the trustees;
- make sure that funds held for different purposes are kept in separate bank accounts, or 
  the Institution's accounting records show clearly at all times the amount of funds held for 
  each purpose;
- keep full and accurate accounting records; and
- collect in full all money owed or due to the Institution, including tax and rating reliefs.

In applying the Institution's income you must:

- spend it solely for the purposes set out in the charity's governing document;
- spend it with absolute fairness between persons qualified to benefit from the charity; and
- spend it for the purposes of the charity unless you have some specific future use for it in 
  mind, or unless you have explicit authority to accumulate it.

With reference to Institution owned land or buildings you must:

- either occupy and use it for the Institution's purposes or let it for the maximum possible 
  return;
- make sure it is maintained in good condition;
- consider the insurance requirements;
- regularly consider whether you are using it to the best advantage of the Institution; and
- make sure that the Institution property is vested in the trustees or in the name of a 
  nominee where there is proper authority to do so.

With reference to Institution funds for investment you must:

- invest only within the limits of the powers granted by the charity's governing document   
  or the Trustee Act 2000;
- constantly monitor the performance of the investments;
- avoid speculation and invest prudently to achieve both income and capital growth; and
- seek professional advice about what investments are most suitable for your charity.

If your charity needs to employ staff you should:

- give each employee a proper contract of employment and a written job description 
  making clear the extent of his or her authority to act on your behalf.

YOU AND YOUR FELLOW TRUSTEES WILL PUT YOURSELVES AT RISK OF PERSONAL LIABILITY ONLY IF YOU:

- cause loss to the Institution by acting unlawfully, imprudently or outside the terms of the 
  charity's governing document; or
- commit the Institution to debts which amount to more than its assets.

FOR PERSONS THINKING OF BECOMING TRUSTEES YOU SHOULD BECOME A TRUSTEE ONLY IF YOU:

- are prepared to give the necessary time and effort to the management of the Institution;
- can help the Institution achieve its aims through your expertise or commitment; and
- understand and accept that trusteeship carries legal duties and responsibilities.

YOU CANNOT BE A TRUSTEE IF YOU:
- are under 18 years of age (unless the charity is a registered company); or
- are disqualified under section 72 of the Charities Act 1993, for example, because you are 
  an undischarged bankrupt or have an unspent conviction for an offence of dishonesty or 
  deception.

Before you first become an Institution trustee you should:
- study the Institution's governing document to learn about its purposes and 
  administrative procedures;
- ask your fellow trustees to give you full details of the Institution's property, investments 
  and income; and
- study recent annual reports and accounts to learn about the Institution's finances and 
  activities.

If you wish to become a trustee, download a copy of the nomination form and return it to:

The Chief Executive Officer
The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers
IGEM House
High Street
Kegworth
Derbyshire
DE74 2DA

Or email a signed copy to ceo@igem.org.uk

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