Charities and local authorities

Councillor’s guide to a council’s role as charity trustee

The Local Government Association and the Charity Commission have jointly published guidance to a council’s role as a charity trustee – a quick guide to a council’s responsibilities where it is a corporate charity trustee.

Councillor’s guide to a council’s role as charity trustee (PDF 252kb)

Local Government Toolkit

The Charity Commission, in liaison with the LGA, the National Association for Voluntary & Community Action, and the Commission for the Compact has produced the Local Government Toolkit, a free online reference manual designed to help local authorities work with charities.

The toolkit is a useful guide for: sub-committees and officers administering charitable assets in the council’s care; and for Councillors or other individuals that the authority nominates to serve as charity trustees.

It covers:

  • the legal and fiscal framework within which charities must operate
  • the legal, financial and governance issues that arise from the relationship between local government and charities that can get in the way of an effective partnership.
  • the common risks associated with local authority-run charities.
  • real case studies to highlight where things can go wrong and offers a range of tips on how to avoid the pitfalls.
  • options for modernising, merging, or even winding up, the charities you run.
  • profiles that can be downloaded of the charitable sector nationally and in your Government Office region.

Operating the toolkit

  • The toolkit is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
  • It has the functions of a normal webpage – eg, you can navigate using hyperlinks. However, there are some differences. Please note in particular that the back button usually found on your browser will not work with the Toolkit.
  • You may be able to get a working back button by cutting and pasting the toolkit web address into a Word document. Press Enter if the address has not formatted as a hyperlink. Then press CTRL while clicking the left mouse button to access the hyperlink.
  • We recommend that you don’t save the toolkit to your PC. This might affect the functionality of the toolkit and will not allow you to benefit from any updates.

Toolkit homepage

Parish Councils

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has produced legal guidance on basic charity law which is available on its website to parish councils in its membership: .


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