Automatic disqualification rules for charity trustees and charity senior positions

From 1 August 2018 changes to the automatic disqualification rules mean that there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity

For most charities, taking some simple steps to update recruitment and appointment systems is all that will be needed to prepare for the rule changes

Under current rules, a person is disqualified from acting as a charity trustee, if certain legal disqualification reasons apply to them.

These reasons are mainly bankruptcy related, and also include unspent convictions for crimes involving dishonesty or deception.

It is usually an offence for a person to act as a charity trustee whilst they are disqualified.


A disqualified person can, in most circumstances, apply to the Charity Commission to waive their disqualification. They can do this at any time after they become disqualified.

The new automatic disqualification rules

From 1 August 2018 there will be 2 key changes to the automatic disqualification rules:

  • an increase in the number of legal reasons that disqualify someone from acting as a trustee. The new reasons include being on the sex offenders register, and certain unspent convictions – such as for terrorism or money laundering
  • people who are disqualified from acting as a trustee are also disqualified from holding certain senior manager positions at a charity


For useful guidance on how to comply with the new rules, visit the Charity Commission website: