What to consider when resigning as a charity trustee


Hopefully, as all trustees of charities will be aware, whilst appointed as a trustee you owe the charity to which you are appointed a duty to act in its best interests. But what is the position if you decide to retire, and does the simple act of wishing to retire mean that you should give consideration to the charity’s best interests?

The good news for a retired trustee is that once resigned, there is no longer a duty for that trustee to continue to act in the best interests of the charity they were formally a trustee.

It may well be a further relief for charity trustees to know that the simple act of resigning their position is not considered to be a breach of their duty to act in the best interests of the charity. You are not therefore bound to soldier on indefinitely even if your resignation may not be helpful or in the best interests of the charity.

The above being said, there are some restrictions and considerations that may apply. For example, if you are the sole remaining trustee, as a matter of law you may not be able to resign and leave no trustees in office or, there may be a notice period which you are required to complete.

Perhaps more importantly, resignation should not be used by a trustee to ‘turn a blind eye’ to an event that is occurring within the charity. A trustee aware of wrongdoing within the charity will have a duty to either notify their fellow trustees of the wrongdoing, or if this were not appropriate then they should notify another relevant authority, most likely the Charity Commission.

Finally, what if you are resigning your position to take up paid employment within the charity? Consideration would then need to be given to how the trustee has acted in the creation, marketing and appointment relating to the employed role. The act of resigning their position as a trustee may not have breached their duty to act in the best interests of the charity but their conduct leading up to their resignation could certainly give rise to some concerns.

If you have any concerns relating to resigning your position as a trustee or any other charity related queries, please contact me.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.