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My parish council is the sole trustee of a charitable trust. Should all the trust's business be dealt with in private?

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In my parish we have an open area, rather like a village green, which is managed by the parish council and held in a charitable trust of which the parish council is the sole trustee.  All serving parish councillors act as trustees.

Any meetings held by the trust are deemed to be confidential and are not open to the public to attend.  Agendas and minutes of meetings are also treated as confidential and are not posted on notice boards or on the parish council website.

Is this correct?  My feeling is that, although I understand that charities are not obliged to hold meetings in public, this trust is, effectively, parish council business and so should be subject to parish council codes of transparency? 

If I am incorrect and, in fact, this trust is not obliged to operate openly, is there anything to prevent it choosing to operate openly or is it obliged to keep meetings, etc confidential?

As an aside, all accounting, trustee, etc information relating to the trust is available for anyone to see on the Charities Commission website!

by (250 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote

VHIS_36-Feb2015-1.pdf (


Read Acre info leaflet 36 and extract from which reads “The public have no right to attend (although a parish council may allow them to attend) and the minutes of the meeting are Meetings of the parish council, when acting as sole trustee of a charity are private, not public”

by (2.8k points)
Very many thanks for this answer.  The Acre information you've provided is brilliant and clarifies many issues that were unclear to me.  Thanks again!
Oh that my PC Councillors were so appreciative when I point out the error of their ways !!
We have similar issues, but there is a parish council in Purton Wiltshire who is sole trustee of 3 charities their charity committee meets in public and agenda and minutes are on their website, coincils should meet in accordance with their normal meeting procedures as directed by law, also the charity commission have an advice leaflet, just Google
Also link to guide from standards for England
When a council is a corporate trustee, councillors are not trustees and do not have to declare the interest

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