S – T

Second Tier Organisations See Infrastructure Organisations
Seconder A person who supports the formal motion put forward by the proposer, prior to it being voted on at a meeting
Secretary The person who calls, administers and minutes meetings. The Secretary is an officer of a charity and may be a trustee, employee or other agent of the charity.
Service Level Agreements Agreements entered into between charitable organisations and statutory agency funders, often over a number of years (3-5 is common) for financial payments in respect of the services they provide.
Short Term Contracts Contracts specifying a relatively short period of employment during which an employee will be expected to complete a job. A person on a contract of less than three months duration will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (pensioners, low-paid workers and, in some circumstances, pregnant employees, will also not be eligible under these complex rules). It is not permissible to continually retain an employee on a short-term contract to avoid liability for these entitlements.
Skills Audit A tool to help clarify what skills, knowledge or experience people can contribute to the organisation. Getting the right mix of skills, experiences and qualities is a key ingredient in building an effective organisation
S.M.A.R.T. Acronym that identifies five key points for objectives/goals/targets to be effective:

  • Specific – In the context of developing objectives, an observable action, behaviour or achievement is described which is also linked to a rate, number, percentage or frequency.
  • Measurable – A system, method or procedure has to exist which allows the tracking and recording of the behaviour or action upon which the objective is focused.
  • Achievable – The objectives should be capable of being reached by the people involved in them. The objectives need to be stretching and agreed by the parties involved.
  • Relevant – The objectives should be relevant in two ways: that the goal or target being set with the individual is something they can actually impact upon or change and secondly it is also important to the organisation.
  • Time Based – In setting an objective, there has to be a date (Day/Month/Year) for when the task has to be started (if it’s ongoing) and/or completed (if it’s short term or project related).
Social Capital Social capital consists of resources within communities which are created through the presence of high levels of trust, reciprocity and mutuality, shared norms of behaviour, shared commitment and belonging, both formal and informal social networks; and effective information channels – which may be used productively by individuals and groups to facilitate actions to benefit individuals, groups and community more generally.
Social Change Comes about largely as a result of political, economic, social, environmental and technological forces happening on a global, national, regional and local scale that have an impact on the lives of individuals. Community development work aims to bring about a different kind of social change in a way that involves the people being affected by putting local conditions to a wider context.
Social Clauses Social clauses are seen as specifications that require the supplier to demonstrate that they can deliver social benefits and outcomes while carrying out other work described in the contract. The use of social clauses entails multiple objectives being delivered if such clauses are not the primary purpose of the contract.
Social Co-operative Social co-operatives are social firms with a co-operative structure. Social co-operatives are established to provide employment opportunities for people with a disability and disadvantage in the labour market. They have a co-operative structure where the members are the owners and decision-makers in the business. The principle of ownership is valued by all co-operative workers and in many cases is more important than salary or role.
Social Economy The social economy is used to describe the economic dimension of the voluntary sector. There are certain common characteristics shared by Social Economy entities: Their primary purpose is not to obtain a return on capital. They are, by nature, part of a stakeholder economy, whose enterprises are created by and for those with common needs, and accountable to those they are meant to serve. They are generally managed in accordance with the principle of “one member, one vote”. They are flexible and innovative – Social Economy enterprises are being created to meet changing social and economic circumstances. Most are based on voluntary participation, membership and commitment (EC).
Social Enterprise A business with primarily social objectives. Surpluses are re-invested for the purpose in the business or in the community, rather than distributed to shareholders. Social Enterprises can encompass everything from mutuals, employee-owned businesses, private companies or co-operatives.
Social Entrepreneurs Individuals who initiate ideas and activities in communities but not necessarily with reference to existing traditions, activities and relationships. ‘…apply the techniques of business entrepreneurship to achieve social goals. They are client or customer focused. They are dealmakers, bringing together people, money and other resources in the most effective mix possible.
Social Exclusion A shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown. This is a deliberately flexible definition and the problems listed are only examples…The most important characteristic of social exclusion is that these problems are linked and mutually reinforcing, and can combine to create a complex and fast moving vicious cycle…The term includes poverty and low income, but is broader and addresses some of the wider causes and consequences of poverty.
Social Firm A social firm is a business created for the employment of people with a disability and disadvantage in the labour market. A social firm uses its market-oriented production of goods and services to pursue its social mission. Over 50% of the income of a social firm will be derived from the sale of goods or services to a market. A significant number of its employees (greater than 25%) will be people with a disability who are integrated into the staffing of the social firm. Social firms aim to pay a market rate wage or salary appropriate to the work. Work opportunities should be equal between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged employees. All employees have the same employment rights and obligations.
Social Inclusion Active involvement of disadvantaged and oppressed individuals, groups and communities
Social Justice Fair treatment of all people and groups
SOFA Statement of Financial Activities. A charity’s SOFA shows all the incoming resources becoming available during the year, all its expenditure for the year, and reconciles all the changes in its funds. The SOFA should account for all the funds of the charity and should be presented in columns representing the different types of funds.
SORP SORP means the Statement of Recommended Practice: “Accounting by Charities”, published by the Charity Commission under the auspices of the Accounting Standards Board. This is aimed at improving the quality of financial reporting by charities
Specialist Infrastructure Organisations Organisations which either support the organisations in a particular sub-sector or offer a particular area of expertise.
See also Infrastructure Organisations
Stakeholders People with an interest in the organisation. Includes internal stakeholders such as staff, volunteers, or management committee members, as well as external stakeholders such as users, funders etc.
Standing Orders A set of principles which govern the conduct of the main meetings of the organisation, the rules for which will be found in the governing document.
Statutory Audit An audit required or permitted by, and carried out in accordance with, relevant primary legislation and any associated regulations by a registered auditor who has to express his or her professional opinion on the accounts.
Statutory Sector Public bodies, funded by government, with legal responsibilities
Steering Committee Steering committees are groups, often with wide representation, responsible for the direction of a project.
Strategy The broad course of action with an identifiable outcome. This is achieved through a sequence of steps, which are subject to monitoring and modification, to accomplish desired goals and objectives.
Sub-Committee can provide a valuable resource for boards, bringing the focused attention of a select group to important organisational issues. However, a sub-committee is only as good as its mandate allows it to be and this mandate, or remit, is only as good as the board that designs it. Delegating to sub-committees should never be used simply as a means of reducing board business or shirking board responsibility. Properly monitored and guided, sub-committees can be of great benefit to the board, and through it, to the long-term goals of the organisation.
Supported Volunteering The process of assisting volunteers with additional support needs (for example ill health, disability, offending history etc) in obtaining and maintaining genuine and meaningful volunteering placements through the provision of regular supports.
Sustainability Continuation of benefits after major assistance ends. The probability of longer-term benefits.
Sustainable Development Sustainable development is defined as promoting economic development in such a way as to protect and improve our environment, now and for future generations
SWOT SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is a planning technique  used to identify where a project, organisation or community is currently placed


Target A defined level of achievement which a project sets itself to achieve in a specific period of time.  They are usually quantitative ie numbers.
Tender Part of the procurement process where a funder/commissioner invites organisations to state what services or goods they will provide for a particular price. The description of the services/goods required will be specified in the tender document and the tender itself is the offer from the potential supplier of the services or goods. The funder/commissioner will then consider all the tenders submitted from potential suppliers and award the contract to one of them.
Terms of Reference The parameters within which a committee, sub-committee, steering group or working group operates. These contain:

  • Purpose
  • Objectives
  • Accountability
  • Roles and duties
  • Composition of committee i.e. members
  • Schedule of meetings
  • Secretariat details.
Theory of Change The understanding by stakeholders of exactly how an organisation/initiative will generate social impacts. It highlights the causal relationship between actions, short term outcomes and long term outcomes. Also known as Logic Model
Third Tier Organisation Infrastructure organisation which supports other infrastructure (or ‘second tier’) organisations.
Trading Company Charities cannot engage in income-generating trading unless it is pursuit of their objectives. They can, however, set up subsidiary trading companies which covenant profits back to the charity.
Transparency Quality of being open, straightforward, accountable etc.
Treasurer An officer of an organisation or charity. The treasurer has wider responsibilities than the other trustees, for example, ensuring that proper accounts are kept and helping to set financial and investment policies.
Trust An organisation governed by a trust deed, and can be established simply by an initial donor and appointing initial trustees. The trustees can subsequently raise further funds, provided all funds are applied for the specific charitable objects. This structure is mainly used by grant-making trusts, but a number of small charities running specific projects use the structure of a trust.  There is no wider membership, and usually the trustees appoint their own successors, although sometimes external organisations have the right to appoint trustees. Charitable trusts do not have a legal personality so, in law, any agreements must be made with the trustees collectively, and there is no limit on trustees’ liability.
Trustees means charity trustees. Charity trustees are the people who are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the charity. Because of this they may be known as a “managing trustee”. In the charity’s governing document they may be called trustees, managing trustees, committee members, governors or directors, or they may be referred to by some other title.You are a charity trustee if you are:

  • the trustee of a charitable trust;
  • the director of a charitable company; or
  • a member of the executive or management committee which is responsible for running an unincorporated charity.

The charity trustees are personally accountable for the proper management of the charity and its assets, and are required to act prudently at all times in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries

Trustee Liability A position which may arise if trustees act illegally or in breach of trust, making them personally responsible for liabilities incurred by or on behalf of the charity, or for making good any loss to the charity. If trustees act prudently, lawfully and in accordance with their governing document then any liabilities they incur as trustees can be met out of the charity’s resources.
Since trustees are acting collectively in administering a charity, they will usually all be responsible [the legal term is “jointly and severally”] to meet any liability to a third party which has been incurred by them or on their behalf.Trustees of all types of charities can be held personally liable for:

  • Breach of trust under charity law
  • Spending the charity’s money on an activity which is outside the charity’s legal objects
  • Carrying out unpermitted political activity
  • Fraud
  • Serious negligence
  • Trustee receiving personal benefit
  • Acting as a charity trustee when disqualified
  • Acting as a company director when disqualified
  • Failure to comply with relevant statutory requirements in areas such as health and safety, trade descriptions and financial services
  • Failure to deduct employee’s PAYE.
TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings/ Protection of Employment rights) Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) provides some level of protection for employees who might transfer to other employers because of reorganisation, or if contracts are transferred to other service providers. TUPE provides employees with:

  • a guarantee of employment;
  • retention of established pay and conditions;
  • protection of pension rights;
  • recognised continuity of employment/ length of service; and,
  • continuation of existing collective agreements on pay and conditions.