WWT is a charity, registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales and with the office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
The charity was founded in 1946 and converted to a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales in 1993.
WWT is governed by its Articles of Association which sets out the governing rules by which it operates. These were last updated on 25 November 2021.
WWT has four, wholly-owned subsidiary companies, each registered in England and Wales.
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (Trading) Ltd carries out commercial activities, mostly retail and catering, at WWT’s centre. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (Consulting) Ltd, known as WWT Consulting, provides environmental consultancy services. Wetlands Advisory Service is now dormant. Wildfowl Trust (Holdings) Ltd does not trade, but acts as trustee of property for WWT.
Each of the trading subsidiaries donates its taxable profits to WWT every year, under the Gift Aid scheme.
A Council of Trustees is responsible for setting WWT’s strategic policies and objectives and for ensuring they are fulfilled.
They are also responsible for keeping proper financial records that enable them to ensure that financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They safeguard the assets of the group and charity and take all reasonable steps to ensure the prevention and detection of fraud and that the charity is complying with all relevant laws and regulations.
All members of the Council are volunteers who give freely of their time and have no beneficial interest in the group or charity.
To ensure the group is sufficiently skilled to carry out its responsibilities it carries out skills analysis of existing members before new ones are appointed. New council members receive a full induction into WWT’s work when they join, and continue to receive regular updates on our work and any training deemed necessary to fully carry out their responsibilities.
The main sub-committee of the Council is the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. Chaired by the Treasurer, this committee assists the Council by carrying out detailed scrutiny of WWT's finances, reviews the performance of the subsidiary companies and make recommendations to the Council on matters that include the staff pension schemes, WWT's investment policy, WWT's reserve policy, health and safety and risk management.
Day-to-day running of WWT is carried out by the Management Board consisting of paid members of staff. The Management Board is chaired by the Chief Executive, who reports directly to the Chair of the Council.
Each subsidiary company has its own Board of Directors responsible for running each company. The Chief Executive and at least one other member of WWT’s Management Board sit on each company’s board.