Wondered if there were any charity law/employment lawyers about...
I am a trustee of Charity A. We are in merger talks with Charity B. Charity B is currently recruiting a new CEO - which isn't ideal but the merger isn't agreed as yet and may not happen so they are carrying on business as usual and need to replace the outgoing CEO.
As trustees of Charity A it has been agreed that we could meet potential candidates, as the new CEO could end up running the merged charity. We won't be on the interview panel, but one of a few stakeholder groups meeting the candidates.
As part of the process of considering merging we have sought legal advice re the staff in our charity (A) re TUPE etc. They have suggested we should not attend the meeting with the potential candidates.
The merged charity will only need 1 CEO, so there is an issue that there are 2 CEO's currently, so I guess the legal advice is erring on the side of caution re constructive dismissal (the CEO of our charity has been there more than 2 years) if our CEO doesn't end up as the leader of the merged charity.
I just think as trustees our responsibility is to the beneficiaries of the charity, and inputting into the recruitment process of a potential CEO is ensuring that the right person is in the job? Or maybe their CEO is none of our business until we have agreed to merged/signed papers. Obviously we are also responsible for the charity and ensuring we/it adheres to employment law.
I agree with the advice you have been given. Yes you have a responsibility to the charity in terms of making sure the right CEO is in place. The way you do that is by overseeing a fair and transparent selection process between the two CEOs in the event of a merger. You don't do that by getting involved in the selection of the CEO of another charity which you might at some point merge with. That risks tainting any future process involving a selection between the two CEOs and exposes your charity legally.