Annual Trustees Report

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A mandatory summary of the aims, activities and achievements of the church.

The annual Trustees Report is another of the three strands that make up the Annual Report, the legal document that all charities are required to generate each year. A common mistake is to confuse this Annual Report with the various reports made at the church's Annual Meeting or with the Vicar's verbal report at the Meeting.

By law the Trustees Report must contain a number of formal information items and statements which are listed below. The Report declares how the parish was governed and who was responsible for its buildings, their maintenance and operations. However, as in Ezekiel's vision, the dry bones of this information needs breath and spirit to make it live. The PCC members are Charity Trustees and the Trustees' Report is their story. It should capture the life and energy, the mission and ministry of the parish. Their narrative should highlight and celebrate the church's objectives and achievements this past year.

The narrative Trustees Report is owned and agreed by the PCC prior to the Annual Meeting to which it is presented to and adopted by, along with the annual accounts and Independent Examiner's report as the Trustees Annual Report. 
Essential items, required by law
The Trustees Report must include a number of formal information items and statements. The diocesan template ensures that all required information and the prescribed format is included. But, like Ezekiel's dry bones this information needs life breathed into it.

Name and Address
It seems obvious, but in reality it isn't.  Each PCC must state what name it is locally known by and the address of each place of licensed worship within the parish, as well as its official correspondence address.

Public Benefit
Each PCC must declare how it has provided its public benefit and that due consideration is given to the Charity Commission's guidance on the subject.  This legal requirement can be fulfilled by including a statement similar to the following within the report: 'When planning its activities for the year the PCC gave consideration to the Charity Commission's guidance on public benefit'.

Parochial Church Council's Function
Each charity's Trustees must define what their function is within their charity.  A PCC's legal responsibilities and functions are all predefined within English law, so it is sufficient for a PCC to reference the relevant legislation within their annual report.  For example: 'The general functions of the PCC are stated within section 2 of the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956'.

Grants made to others
Charities are not expected to always do everything themselves and it is therefore acceptable for one charity to give a grant to another charity.  The only proviso is that the receiving charity must share similar objectives to the giving charity.  In order to ensure an environment of openness, each PCC must list all the charities that they have given a grant to, regardless of the size of that grant or whether it was unrestricted or restricted funds.

Reserves Policy
Each PCC is required to agree and publish their policy in regard to how much in reserves they aim to maintain.  Should a PCC's reserves exceed this value, then an explanation of the PCC's actions to rectify the situation is expected.

Agent Transactions
Every PCC acts as an agent for at least one other charity and thus handles money that does not belong to the PCC.  The most obvious example is in regard to statutory fees where a PCC receives and forwards on money that belongs to its diocese.  Every charity for whom the PCC has acted as an agent must be listed.  It is also good practice to declare the total amount of money handled on behalf of the other charity.  Organist and Verger disbursements that have been handled as agency transactions maybe summarized.  For more information about statutory fees, see the Fees page of this website.

Trustees' Report Headings
Each PCC should also lay out its report in a structured format.  The advised major headings for a PCC's Trustees' Report are as follows:
  1. Aims and Purposes
  2. Objectives and Activities
  3. Achievements and Performance
  4. Financial Review
  5. Structure, Governance and Management
  6. Reference and Administrative Information
  7. Funds held as Custodian Trustees on behalf of others
For additional guidance in regard to what should be reported uder each heading, please contact the Resources Team.