Like in many offices, the summer months offer a quieter time for the SCVO Information Service, which gives us an opportunity for more behind-the-scenes work.

Apart from dusting the shelves and replenishing the biscuit tin, we’ve been adding some information to the Running Your Organisation section of our website. Have a look and tell us if you think there are any gaps that need filling.

We’ve created a new section on property which takes a brief look at how to find premises, and the things to think about before renting or buying. If you are on the lookout for a new home for your organisation, you may want to consider our new offices at Hayweight House in Edinburgh. Remember if you need any help with a property lease or any kind of contract, you can access our free legal advice service if you’re an SCVO member.

If you do own or rent property, you’ll need to think about insurance. We’ve also updated our information on insurance and have listed which insurances are compulsory, which are highly recommended, and others that you might want to think about.

In the latter category falls the thorny issue of trustee indemnity insurance. This protects voluntary management committee members from personal liability with respect to any claims related to their actions as committee members. Charities are allowed to use charity funds to buy this insurance for their trustees, and we regularly get enquiries on whether or not this is worth taking. On the Information Service, we’re not allowed to give advice on insurance or other financial matters, but a general principle would be for a board to fully assess their risks and see what they can do to minimise them before they even look at insurance. Then if the insurance is not required by law, they should decide whether the level of risk which is to be passed to the insurer makes the insurance premium worth spending.

There’s a useful Trustee Liability Guide from NCVO that has useful information applicable to Scotland. It looks at the legal liabilities involved in being a trustee or management committee member of an organisation, no matter how informal, and lists whether each can be relieved by either insurance or incorporation.

There are a number of liabilities that are not covered by either, and the guide looks at what preventative actions trustees can themselves take to limit risk. Whatever you and your board decide, always get at least three quotes and check the small print of any insurance policy to see what is and isn’t covered.

Finally, SCVO is busy making the transition from a charitable company to a brand new SCIO. There are special rules around publicising your charitable status as a SCIO so we’re overhauling our information leaflets, stationery, etc. If you’re a new charity (SCIO or not) have a look at our section on how you should publicise your charitable status to make sure you’re keeping on the right side of the law. Also, if you’ve been thinking of changing your existing legal structure to a SCIO, give us a call, and we can give you the benefit of our experience.

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If you or your board need help get in touch with the SCVO Information Service on 0800 169 0022 or find information online.

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We’re planning Scotland’s first national Trustee Conference on Saturday 8 November which offers a chance to network and learn with your peers. Let us know what you would like to see included in the programme. Email