Many local authorities and other public bodies hold assets that are subject to charitable trusts. Often this is because a donor has left land or property to a council on the condition that it is used for a public purpose. It may also be that a charity, unable to fulfil its original purpose, has passed on funds that were originally intended for awarding grants to the local community.
In these situations, the local authority assumes the role of charity trustees, with all the responsibilities entailed in that role. This can be problematic for the local authority where the original purpose can no longer be fulfilled, or simply because the process of grants programme management can be onerous.
With the ever increasing pressures on public sector funding, we understand how difficult it can be to find the right time and resources to dedicate to the very skilled area of grant programme management. Working with Heart of Bucks can enable you to utilise the expertise of a quality assured, professional independent approach to managing this sometimes challenging issue.
We can tailor your programme to suit your elected members’ or contractual needs, whether it’s sending an annual report setting out how your funds have been used, arranging an annual review meeting or invitations to events where you will have the opportunity to meet grant beneficiaries as well as other donors and to hear about the real difference your fund has made.
The Charity Commission acknowledges that community foundations have a reputation for the effective management of charitable funds in order to maximise their impact at local level.
The Charity Commission and community foundations have worked closely in recent years to establish an effective way of revitalising dormant or ineffective trust funds, in order to continue carrying on their good work.
Funds can be released to a community foundation as part of an appraisal of options. The Charity Commission welcomes and supports this initiative and encourages those in public bodies involved with the management of dormant or ineffective trusts to consider whether they might benefit from working with their local community foundation, particularly if one or more of the following statements applies:
- We find it difficult to identify beneficiaries
- The original purpose can no longer be met (e.g. a trust set up to benefit pupils of a school which no longer operates)
- We cannot spend the income of the charity
- We would like to have some involvement in how the money is spent but we do not want the legal responsibility of being a trustee
- The work of administering the charity and its investment is becoming onerous or disproportionate to the level of funding
For more information please read the UKCF guide on utilising inactive charitable trusts.
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As an established community foundation and registered charity, Heart of Bucks is well placed to offer local authorities and other public bodies a practical and cost-effective solution to support both the effective delivery of your grants programmes and the recovery and application of dormant trusts. Please contact us for more information.