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Operating a Trust

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Marie Cornish

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of Operating a Trust

Operating as a “trust”, or a joined up collaboration of specialist provision is not just about putting in place the right paperwork and governance procedures.

That’s the straightforward part!

The challenge is to ensure that the structure and form of “trust” established will genuinely:
Support and enable progress of SAHSP to agreed goals
Match the scale and nature of the activity envisaged
Be sustainable and not become an obstacle or burden to progress
Enable ongoing control of decisions to remain aligned to the needs of SASHP, and remain where the founding members determine.

As a partner, rather than just a “service provider” FfS would wish to assist SAHSP be confident it has appropriate certainty as to the type of “trust” it is considering establishing.

Examples include:
The development of strategic documents and stronger partnership working to deliver objectives
Strategic advice from governance to education
Leadership, coordination and support of wide range of meetings
Increasing engagement between businesses and schools, including the development of an employer engagement recognition scheme
Development and delivery of mentoring programme
Organisation and delivery of awards evenings
Development and delivery of CPD training and events
Accessing external funding, sponsorship and support
Provision of interim senior leadership
Development of work placements
Previous Support
Non Charitable Options

Various social enterprise options exist, including:

Limited Company
Industrial & Provident Society
Community Interest Company
Business Partnership

Each option has various strengths and weaknesses:
Different set up
Operating accounting
Taxation costs

The chosen option needs to be fit for purpose, aligning with SAHSPs expected scale of activity/business, expected financial transactions and overall goals and objectives of the “trust”
For all Charities:
Activities are at least under the gaze of the Charity Commission with eg a fixed level of accountancy & admin costs to bear before a vfm gain from the venture is seen
Beneficiaries of activities cannot be Trustees or “parties related to the Trustees”
Activities must accord with a prescribed constitution/articles etc

Four charitable options:
Unincorporated Charitable Associations
Charitable Companies
Charitable Incorporated Organisations
More Options
Our Experience

FfS have:
Knowledge and experience of the processes and requirements to form a Trust
A track record of working with and understanding the needs and challenges faced by Trusts, Mainstream Schools and Specialist Provision
The reputation of being a supportive, honest partner, with strength, depth, knowledge and experience

We are readily able to provide SAHSP a “trust set up”, through to a strategic partnership and anything in between.

FfS are keen to develop a partnership with SAHSP:

We have business strength, depth, experience, and a proven track record of working with both mainstream and specialist provision;
We will always provide honest, well researched and considered advice and guidance scaled to meet requirements
We prefer to work in the context of a supportive partnering arrangement
We can respond to and meet any requirements that may arise from SAHSP; including if appropriate setting up a “trust”, and developing an operating cost model
If selected to be the chosen trusted partner to SAHSP, following a further meeting for clarifications we would offer a costed draft plan for sign off by SAHSP as the inaugural basis of a partnership.
So what is next ?
Clarity around the partnering resources and costs principle is fundamental
But this is also determined by the type and scale of “trust” operations envisaged
Culture and climate in specialist provision is different to businesses
But, for any group establishing a new legal entity the “bank manager test” must be passed:
What net benefit and achievement of objectives will result from expenditure?
Who is bankrolling cash flow, for how long?
Is the financial model sustainable, short term…long term? etc etc
The aim of the “trust” is agreed and understood by all the partners

The "trust" has clear, effective leadership

The role of each partner is identified and clear to others

There is shared ownership of the "trust" and the partners feel there is 'something in it for them‘

A supportive atmosphere exists within the "trust" where suggestions, ideas and conflicts are addressed

There are dedicated time and resources for the administration and operation of the "trust”.

Key ingredients for a successful “trust” … or partnership
What can we offer SAHSP?
A simple contract that works off the back of a “Strategic Partnering Agreement” awarded by Somerset County Council.

Areas of work could range from:

Commissioning services eg Integrated Therapies, CPD, FM....
Procurement eg play equipment, ICT........
Organisation of events
Strategy development

and anything else, the world is your oyster!

Who are Futures for Somerset (FfS)?
Somerset Association of Heads of Specialist Provision
A Somerset based, award winning, not for profit, dedicated team who possess a unique mix of specialist skills, experience and comprehensive understanding of the education sector.

We were established in 2010 following a competitive procurement exercise evaluated by Somerset Schools and local partners. We were set up as a trusted long term partner offering and leading tailor made solutions.

Our range covers: property design and construction, ICT, project and change management, education enrichment, funding applications, educational consultancy and business case & benefits analysis.
Advice, recommendation and support on management structures, business procedures, charity commission/small business company requirements
Company/Committee secretarial and all associated internal financial admin services, including marketing and website design
Service commissioning and contract management
Advice, recommendation and support in achieving change and embedding new ways of working in both business and educational environments.
FfS understand the challenges faced and Schools’ time is valuable and under pressure

FfS would deliver service, from Taunton/Bridgwater base, skilled and scaled to meet the agreed remit.
The nature of FfS organisation, is that FfS focus on:
Understanding, and then exceeding requirements
Securing engagement of schools in the setting/sign off of objectives and understanding of plans
Applying local and skilled experience to delivery
Relieving schools of the need to focus on the detail of

Whilst ensuring transparent communication and appreciation of the “trust’s” progress and achievements
Achieving a trusting and respectful collaborative partnership
Accountability of FfS is secured by :
SAHSP procuring the required service under an umbrella OJEU contract agreement SCC have set up for Schools

FfS being be directly accountable to SAHSP, against an agreed service descriptor

Clarity around the delegated authority and responsibilities assigned

Relevant planning and reporting structures and procedures

Key service delivery success indicators

Required Systems and Processes
Tasks which may lie ahead:

Establishment of inaugural budgets to meet start up costs
Resolution of vision, purpose, business objectives
Identification and sign up of Trustees
Resolution of Memberships
Approvals of Governing Bodies/Mgt Board’s/Foundation Bodies
Consideration of draft constitutions/articles etc prepared by FfS
Conflict of interest registers
Formal registration with Charity Commission/Company House
Opening of Bank account/signatories etc
Appointment of Accountant/Tax adviser
Establishment of governance meeting structures and schedules
If a Charitable organisation is required, we would recommend:
Charitable Incorporated Organisation

(+) Have legal identity; can contract, employ and buy services and limit liability of their members of trustees to notional amounts. Lower admin and set up costs than Charitable Companies as no registration with Company House. Options for organisations to be Trustees and open/closed membership. Can act as a “Social Enterprise”

We believe the best route forward dependant upon SAHSP objectives may be for FfS to support SAHSP achieve a Collaborative Partnership

FfS formalising a “family constitution” for SAHSP
Supporting changing culture, trust and ethos between relevant governing bodies so that individual member schools feel comfortable acting on a rotational basis as lead commissioner for a specific shared requirements
As a trusted third party, administering the “family constitution” and the apportionment and allocation of costs and benefits between members
Ensuring there an adequate underpinning cost / income model independent of the chosen constitution

(+) 100% within control of SAHSP; eliminates a number of overhead costs attached to other options.
Third Option: Collaborative Partnership
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