What can a FC Bayern Munich mug inform us about charity law and governance?

What is all this German football mug talk?

Well, it was reported this week the fun story of Jim Entwistle and his favourite hot drinks holder... his beloved Bayern Munich mug. It was given to him 21 years ago in 1996 as a birthday present. However, the mug has now seen better days. Mr Entwistle noted that it had become "cracked and faded" and was "starting to show its age." Deciding to take action given this serious situation Mr Entwistle took to, what else, but Twitter. His call was answered by none other than @FCBayernEN - the official English Twitter account of FC Bayern Munich - with an offer of a replacement mug.

Keeping charity constitutions up-to-date

The new version of the OSCR Annual Return asks an important question:-

"when did the charity trustees last look at and consider the content of the charity's governing document?"

If the answer is 21 years ago, then, as with the mug, there is a danger that the foundation document for your organisation's purposes and objectives will be "cracked and faded" and even more than just "starting to show its age". Whether it is legal and regulatory changes or, more importantly, developmentsand changes within the organisation's structures, activitiesor aims, there are likely to be factors by the simple of dint of time that will have had an impact on the fitness of a charity's constitutional documents. Of course, it might be that time itself is not the issue if the charity (or the field or environment it works in) has changed significantly in a short period of time.

So, while your mug (constitution) may have dutiful supported "thousands of brews", it may be time to refresh things and at very least review the position... are there cracks and do they need fixed... or the mug replaced?

A custodian for the future

It is fundamental to the statutory duties for charity trustees that trustees must act with the care and diligence that is reasonable to expect when looking after another's affairs. This special emphasis for charity trustees on "another" seeks to underline the custodian role with the assets, reputation and purposes under the charge of the trustees. Charity trustees hold and use the assets for others, not themselves, and those others could be from the future. Something Mr Entwistle brought to mug ownership as his new mug is to be for his young child.

21 years can be important for trusts

Charities established as trusts (a rarity and even an oddity nowaday,as we have shown before) need to consider a rule that affects the distribution, retention and reinvestment of income after 21 years. We have blogged on this before and will not repeat the detail here.

Come and have a brew with us

Get in touch with us to have a tea or coffee to discuss (free, at no charge) whether your constitution is "starting to show its age". A conversation not only to help you best complete your OSCR Annual Return, but to support the great things your organisation is doing through a robust constitutional basis.