Charity trustees and decision-making: St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice

St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice cares for patients who are facing life-limiting illnesses, and their families. In July, the charity announced that it had begun a consultation with staff and volunteers to remodel its services: the proposal was to close the in-patient unit at Yeovil and increase community services. The trustees were conscious that the proposal would be a sensitive issue, so they reported the matter to the Charity Commission as a “serious incident”, in line with Commission guidance. After a consultation, the trustees decided that the in-patient unit should close.

The decision was extremely controversial and led to an investigation by the Charity Commission. It opened a regulatory compliance case to assess whether the trustees had followed proper processes, including following the principles that the courts had developed for reviewing trustees’ decisions and the Commission’s own decision making guidance. Continue reading