Who can be a Trustee?

Who can be a Trustee?

Minimum age

You must be at least 16 years old to be a trustee of a charitable company or a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), unless the charity’s governing document says you must be older. You must be at least 18 to be a trustee of any other type of charity.


You must not act as a trustee if you are disqualified under the Charities Act, unless your disqualification has been waived by the Commission. Reason for disqualification include if you:

  • are disqualified as a company director
  • have an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception (such as fraud)
  • are an undischarged bankrupt (or subject to sequestration in Scotland), or have a current composition or arrangement including an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) with your creditors
  • have been removed as a trustee of any charity by the Commission (or the court) because of misconduct or mismanagement

From 1 August 2018, new disqualification reasons were added: these include being on the sex offenders’ register, unspent convictions for a wider range of offences including bribery and money laundering, or disobeying a direction of the Commission. 

If any of the current or new disqualification reasons apply to you, you may be able to get your disqualification lifted (or ‘waived’) by the Commission. The Commission will carefully consider whether granting a waiver is appropriate, although there are some situations where it has no power to grant a waiver – for example, where a trustee is disqualified as a company director.

Fit and proper persons

Charities that want to claim UK tax reliefs and exemptions (eg Gift Aid) must meet the management condition in the Finance Act 2010. This requires all of the charity’s managers (including trustees) to be ‘fit and proper persons’.

Find out more – see the HM Revenue and Customs guidance.

Note: Information courtesy of the Charity Commission Website

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee for The Gingerbread Centre, please contact us on 01782 344740.