Charitable works 2

August 20, 2009

Nicholas Bamforth is right that the restrictions in Section 73A of the Charities Act 2006 (which require a majority of the trustees of a charity to be unremunerated by it) do not apply to employees. I agree that if Hefce is adopting a blanket policy of requiring a majority of external appointees on all boards, it is on shaky legal ground.

However, readers would be wrong to assume that since Section 73A does not apply to employees, universities are free to appoint as many academics to their governing bodies as they wish. In fact, the default position is that no employees may be appointed to the board, unless the university has an appropriate constitutional power to remunerate its "charity trustees".

In the case of ancient universities and colleges - with centuries-old traditions of appointing academics as trustees - it may be possible to imply such a power. Others will need to look at their governing documents to see what powers they have. Whether or not they can appoint academics to their governing bodies - and how many - will depend entirely on whether they have that type of power and how it is phrased.

Rachel Holmes, Solicitor, charity & community team/higher education group, Farrer & Co LLP.

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