Good governance of Teapot Trust

Teapot Trustee trustees are responsible for the strategic direction of the charity, for maintaining standards and for legal and regulatory compliance and risk management. We take the view that a trustee’s informed, sensitive understanding of his or her role is a precious asset. Some of this understanding flows from the CEO’s reports at quarterly Board meetings, supplemented by information from other sources including visits to hospitals to see the work of the charity first-hand. It’s important for trustees to understand they exercise oversight in a non-executive capacity as responsibility for day-to-day management sits with the CEO. Our governance policy highlights that trustees should resist the temptation to manage, as this conflicts with the collective nature of trustees’ responsibilities and can weaken leadership.

Trustees’ collective responsibilities at Teapot Trust

Trustees are collectively responsible for determining the strategic aims of the charity. In conjunction with the CEO, they set and review policies, plans and procedures. Trustees are also responsible for ensuring proper control of finances and compliance with regulation and the law. They have a duty to act collectively to deliver the charity’s objects, to provide public benefit consistently, to report annually that they have paid due regard to these duties, to protect the charity’s assets and maintain its solvency and effectiveness.

Essential reading for charity trustees is OSCR’s (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) guidance, Guidance for Charity Trustees.

The composition of the board of trustees at Teapot Trust

Trustees collectively need to make informed decisions on a range of issues. Following a skills audit in September 2019, the charity is in the process of appointing new trustees with expertise in specific areas which we felt were under-represented. Please see the Vacancies page of our website. It’s important that trustees are capable individuals of sound judgement who are able to look at issues from different angles and understand the necessity of working as an effective team. While some continuity is important, so is a regular infusion of fresh blood – which we achieve by placing a limit on the number of consecutive terms trustees can serve – no more than 2 terms of 3 years.

Selection and induction training of trustees at Teapot Trust

OSCR’s guidance requires that charities report how new trustees are recruited and trained. At Teapot Trust, we advertise vacancies on the ACOSVO and Arts & Business Scotland websites. Induction includes meetings with Chair (Anne Littlefair) and CEO (Sarah Randell), visits to hospitals to see first-hand how our art therapy is delivered, Governance training (we have used Turcan Connell and Arts & Business Scotland), and induction packs that include OSCR’s guidance for charity trustees, Teapot Trust’s constitution, report and accounts, annual review, minutes of trustees’ meetings, strategic plan, fundraising plan, website and social media links. The charity also has an annual CPD day.

Our full Governance Policy can be shared with funders – please email Louise Downing to request a copy.