18 February 2022

Governance moves

Moves towards a new governance model for the Charity were initiated in early 2022.
This post, first made public on February 18th, was progressively updated to report each new development.

January 25th 2022
On January 25th this year an EPC/EVRT Liaison Group was established with the aim of providing an informal forum in which matters of mutual interest to the Charity and the Effingham Parish Council (EPC) could be discussed. The Group’s terms of reference were posted on the EPC website. It had two co-chairs, one from each of the two bodies.

February 1st
The Liaison Group held its first meeting on February 1st, focusing on the subject of the future governance of the Charity. At this meeting a slide presentation was given summarizing the main points in the Trustees’ report “Review of Governance Options for EVRT”, which was based upon their own research into the governance of similar charities nationwide and their own several consultations with the Charity Commission. The central conclusion of this report was that the most favourable way forward for future governance was for EPC to become the Sole Trustee. EPC would thus return to the position that it had held historically from 1947 when the KGV Field was first gifted to the Council to be held in trust.

Following this meeting, the Liaison Group published a detailed Note of its deliberations on the EPC website, accessible from this link.

February 17th
On February 17th the Trustees made a formal written request to the Council that it become Sole Trustee subject to suitable administrative arrangements being put into place and provided that the Council were satisfied with the advice arising from its own consultations with appropriate bodies and legal advisers.

February 22nd
The governance issue was the subject of a motion discussed at the Council’s Ordinary Meeting on February 22nd and was voted on. The main part of the motion was “That the Council agreed in principle to become the sole trustee of EVRT if the EVRT Board so request, subject to satisfactory administrative and financial arrangements being feasible”. The other parts concerned the need for the Council to take advice, for the residents to be notified and invited to comment and for a full report to be brought before the Council. The motion was carried by 9 votes in favour with 1 abstention.

March 3rd
The Liaison Group met again on March 3rd to discuss a draft document detailing proposed administrative and financial arrangements by which EPC, were it to become  the Sole Trustee, would govern the Charity. The document included a draft of a revised Charity Scheme. The Group also discussed the steps to be taken in progressing the transition, including the taking of advice from legal advisors and the Charity Commission and the process of keeping the residents informed and inviting their comments.

Following this meeting, the Liaison Group published a detailed Note of its deliberations on the EPC website, accessible from this link.

The Arrangements and Revised Scheme document were also published on the EPC website, accessible from this link.

March 23rd
In relation to its expectation of becoming the Charity’s Sole Trustee, EPC embarked upon taking legal advice on a small number of specific questions prepared by the Liaison Group, having instructed a solicitor for this purpose.

April 21st
EPC received the legal advice it had sought on certain questions and this advice raised no impediments to the intended transition of EPC to Sole Trustee. Earlier this week EVRT had a further (fourth) discussion with the Charity Commission in order to check certain details in the proposed Revised Scheme and in the protocol for bringing the Scheme into effect. The Commission stated that they expected a “smooth transition” and confirmed that the Scheme would come into immediate effect as soon as EVRT had uploaded it to the Commission’s website, in accordance with the provisions of Section 280 (Part 13) of the Charities Act 2011.

A full report on the process to date was then prepared for consideration and decision by EPC at its next Ordinary Meeting on April 26th, accessible from this link.

Residents were invited to comment by noon on April 26th on this report so that EPC could consider all comments received before making the decision on whether or not to confirm that it agreed to become Sole Trustee.

April 26th
At its Ordinary Meeting on April 26th EPC passed a motion agreeing “Subject to confirmation from EVRT that they wish to adopt the Sole Trustee model, that Effingham Parish Council will take on the responsibility as the Sole Trustee.” The motion was carried by 7 votes in favour with 1 abstention, two Councillors being absent.

The outcome of this decision was that the Sole Trustee model would now be adopted, at such date as was decided upon by the Trustees. That date would be some weeks hence, following a public online presentation and the opportunity for all residents in the area of benefit to submit comments on the proposed Revised Scheme as the latter evolved towards its final state prior to submission to the Charity Commission.

May 13th
A public presentation was held on Friday 13 May at 19:30 by the Trustees to provide further details about the governance decision and about how it was reached. In view of the current prevalence of Covid-19 this meeting was conducted online by Zoom. Besides the Trustees it was attended by just ten residents, despite having been widely publicized. The slide presentation was afterwards made accessible on this website.

May 27th
This was the deadline by which residents could submit comments on the Revised Scheme prior to its finalization. The decision-making underlying adoption of this new scheme was described in detail on this page.

May 29th
On this date the Board of Managing Trustees held an Ordinary Meeting at which it was decided that the Revised Scheme would come into effect on Friday 1 July 2022, from which date the Charity would be governed by Effingham Parish Council as Sole Trustee. This date was notified to the Council.

June 6th
On this date the Revised Scheme was submitted to the Charity Commission.

July 1st 2022
On this date the Revised Scheme came into effect, terminating the trusteeship of the former Managing Trustees and commencing the trusteeship of the Council.