A committee is a group of people who take on the responsibility of managing a community group, voluntary organisation, charity, trust or social enterprise.
They also have a range of different legal structures (e.g. Registered Charities, Companies Limited by Guarantee, Unincorporated Organisations), & committees can be described in different ways as follows:
- Board of Trustees (Registered Charity)
- Board of Directors (Company Limited by Guarantee)
- Committee / Management Committee (Unincorporated Organisation)
Whatever structure an organisation or group has, all committees have certain responsibilities in common, no matter what their title is. They are jointly responsible for the effective running of the setting and making decisions regarding the management of the charity in order to achieve its aims. They have an overriding duty to act lawfully and in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries - the children.
- Must be over 18 years of age.
- Must not have been disqualified or removed from serving on a committee or board previously.
- Must not be an undischarged bankrupt.
- Must not have been convicted of an offence involving deception or dishonesty unless the conviction is spent, this means a spent conviction is a conviction which, under the terms of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be effectively ignored after a specified amount of time. The amount of time for rehabilitation depends on the sentence imposed, not on the offence. The more serious the conviction, the longer the period of rehabilitation. For example, if you have received a prison sentence of more than four years, the conviction will never become spent, but cautions become spent immediately (apart from conditional cautions which will become spent after three months).
- However, when applying to work in certain types of employment, for example, working with children or vulnerable adults, certain professions such as law, health care, and pharmacy, senior management posts within certain sectors and employment where matters of national security are involved, the application form will state that it is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. In these situations, you may need to disclose your cautions and convictions, and they may be disclosed on your DBS criminal records check.
It is good practice for committee members to sign a 'Declaration of Eligibility' to serve on the committee, so that the group has proof that it has made sure that everyone is qualified to act as a charity trustee. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/confirmation-of-charity-trustee-eligibility
Roles of the Committee
- Represents and acts as a spokesperson for the pre-school.
- Chairs meetings of the charity; including committee meetings, open meetings and general meetings, such as the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
- Sets the agenda for meetings together with the Secretary.
- Co-ordinates the work of the committee to ensure effective administration.
- Usually acts as the 'Nominated Person' for Ofsted purposes.
- Line manages the Manager of the setting.
- Supports other committee members and authorises the work of the Treasurer.
- Ensures the committee are aware of the financial position of the charity, providing an up-to-date written statement of accounts at committee meetings.
- Ensures that all committee members are aware of their financial responsibilities and comply with the charity's finance procedures.
- Ensures that the committee apply the charity's resources exclusively in pursuance of its charitable objectives.
- Presents accounts to the members at the AGM.
- Manages the charity's bank account, updating the list of signatories as necessary.
- Prepares in advance an annual budget, as agreed by the committee, and monitors it regularly.
- Issue bills and receipts on behalf of the charity and ensures that all necessary payments are made promptly.
- Ensures that the charity's financial records are maintained accurately and updated on a timely basis.
- Manages staff payroll and volunteers' expenses.
- Arranges for the accounts to be checked annually and independently.
- Reviews and returns any other financial reports as necessary.
- Responds punctually to all correspondence; keeping proper records.
- Organises all meetings including booking venues, arranging refreshments, liaising with attendees to ensure they are informed etc.
- Draws up meeting agendas and circulates to all attendees punctually.
- Takes accurate minutes during meetings, types up and sends them out to all attendees in a timely manner.
- Ensures all office filing is kept up-to-date.
- Supports all committee and staff members, by ensuring the administrative function is efficient.
Shared responsibilities for all committee members
- Act in the best interests of the charity; promoting its values and working to achieve its charitable objectives.
- Work as part of a team with the other trustees; whilst bringing their own ideas, perspectives and experiences to the committee.
- Regularly attend committee meetings and contribute to the effective management of the charity.
- Read committee papers and contribute to the decision-making process of the committee.
- Work with the Treasurer to set priorities for the budget.
- Undertake Ofsted suitability checks as required such as an EY2 form and DBS check.
- Use safe recruitment procedures and work to Early Years Foundation Stage requirements to employ suitable adults to work with the children.
- Employ a Manager to act as the person in charge of the early years provision; supporting them to successfully manage the childcare provision and ensure that the Early Years Foundation Stage and Ofsted registration requirements are met.
- Ensure all committee members and staff have clearly identified roles and responsibilities.
- Submit the annual update, or annual return and accounts, to the Charity Commission.
- Ensure that the charity complies with the rules in its constitution, charity law, and other relevant regulations that govern the work of the charity.