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Quaker Stewardship Committee (QSC)

What is the Quaker Stewardship Committee for?

Quaker Stewardship Committee (QSC) was set up by Yearly Meeting to

'...support meetings in their stewardship of finance and property; encourage accountability, transparency and integrity in all our affairs and enable Friends to work with statutory bodies, such as those administering charity law, on issues that affect all meetings and their associated bodies. ' (Quaker faith & practice, section 14.28)

QSC is there to oversee the Society’s stewardship of its resources and to make sure that legal requirements are met. In doing this QSC may ask questions of meetings or linked informal groups to enable us to 'help each other up with a tender hand.' QSC has recently issued a set of Advices and Queries on Quaker Stewardship to help meetings consider the underlying issues.

Minutes from QSC meetings are available via this address: www.quaker.org.uk/minutes (opens in a new window)

QSC and Charitable Registration

The funds held by the Society are charitable, benefiting from tax concessions such as Gift Aid. Like many religious charities, we have been excepted from registration but from October 2008 area meetings whose consolidated income exceeds £100,000 a year will need to register as charities with the Charity Commission and fulfil certain legal requirements. QSC’s support for meetings facing charitable registration includes template documents and advice on improving their governance to make the process straightforward and in keeping with the guidance and principles laid down in Quaker faith & practice.

Support for trustees

QSC has produced a template Governing Document for the use of area meetings. This has been approved by the Charity Commission. The committee has also produced a Trustee Handbook and advice on drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding between the Area Meeting and each Local Meeting. QSC issues guidance to area meetings as further information becomes available. Working with Woodbrooke, QSC has put on regional training days for trustees and treasurers as well as other local training events.

Regular news is published in Trustees' Bulletin

See also: Treasurers' News

Another task for QSC is to help all parts of the Society to achieve a standard of financial record keeping and reporting that complies with the requirements of charitable law, offering general guidance and specific support. To help us to support meetings in this way a Friend well versed in Quaker finance has been employed as a consultant. A revised edition of the Treasurers Handbook is now available.

Regular news is published (and available on the web) in Treasurers' News

Reporting Public Benefit - a guide for trustees of Area Meetings

All charities must act for the benefit of the public. The Charity Commission has issued guidance requiring charity trustees to report on how they are meeting this public benefit requirement in their Annual Reports, making specific reference to this in any report covering periods starting after April 2008 (i.e. annual reports for 2009 and onwards, in the case of Area Meetings (AMs)). These notes provide guidance for AM trustees; there are references at the end to the detailed guidance provided on the Charity Commission website.

Specie Land - guidance from the Charity Commission

Letter and questions & answers to be sent by Alex Young, Charity Commission to Area Meetings who have submitted charitable registration applications.

Property advice cluster

Set up to advise on property matters relating to redundancy, demolition, sale, lease, purchase, alteration, extension, historic buildings, repair and maintenance of existing buildings and new buildings belonging to Quaker meetings. Advice to meetings will be given on the basis of being offered by Friends with experience but not necessarily experts: the ultimate decision will rest with the Trustees of the area meeting concerned.

Contact: heleng@quaker.org.uk www.quaker.org.uk/property-matters

How does it work?

QSC encourages enquiries from all, especially clerks, trustees and treasurers. These may initially be put to Helen Griffith (020 7663 1161; heleng@quaker.org.uk} in the Quaker Communication & Services Department of Friends House. Also QSC has appointed Link Friends, who can channel the specific queries of each area meeting and general meeting appropriately.

Envigorating area meetings

This paper has been produced in response to an enquiry from an area meeting. It describes a model for invigorating area meetings [PDF: 180kb - new window].