RSA Committee Liabilities
The Committee is ultimately accountable for the RSA. They’re responsible or liable for the consequences of actions taken or not taken by the RSA, its staff or volunteers and other committee members.
What this means is that the Committee may be held responsible for making good any loss or damage (financial or otherwise) to the RSA or to third parties and may be held personally responsible, where relevant.
It's important to keep this in perspective. Very few Committee members who act honestly and diligently in carrying out their responsibilities suffer any financial loss as a result of their involvement.
It’s also important for all members to be aware of the extent of their potential legal liabilities and how their personal risks can be minimised.
Where do liabilities arise?
The Committee may have legal liabilities arising from:
Contracts (e.g. with suppliers, funders, staff or landlords)
Statutory obligations (i.e. as dictated by legislation relating to health & safety, child protection, staff conditions etc)
Duty of Care (i.e. the responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that others do not suffer loss or damage through what you do or fail to do)
Should the RSA, its staff, volunteers or Committee members fail to meet their obligations in any of these areas, the Committee may be held to account by any external individual or body.
Are you likely to be held personally liable?
In many cases, the financial implications of this liability will be carried by the RSA, but in others Committee members can be held individually responsible and obliged to cover any loss from their own resources.
The key factors in this are:
The legal structure of the RSA. Committee members of incorporated RSAs (e.g. a company limited by guarantee) have greater protection against personal financial loss.
Whether the Committee members acted reasonably, honestly and with due diligence. If the Committee or its members have not acted responsibly, they can potentially be held individually and collectively responsible, regardless of the legal structure or any insurance provisions.