Charities Commission guidance to boost incident reporting

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The Charity Commission has identified that too many “serious incidents” are not being reported or are only being disclosed in a charity or club’s annual return. A new public consultation and draft new guidance are intended to clarify when charities should notify the commission.

A three-month consultation on when and how charities should report serious incidents has begun. The draft revised guidance has also been published on the commission’s website setting out the most common types of serious incidents, including:

  • financial crime: fraud, theft and money laundering
  • other significant financial loss (e.g. losses affecting solvency, significant fines and penalties from HM Revenue & Customs, the Information Commissioner’s Office and other government agencies, financial losses arising from litigation or losses resulting from loss of funding)
  • unverified or suspicious donations
  • links to terrorism and extremism
  • safeguarding beneficiaries
  • other significant incidents including disqualified trustees, insolvency, forced withdrawal of banking services and actual or suspected criminal activity

The draft guidance also includes new checklists and a useful table of examples designed to help trustees understand when to report something to the Charity Commission, the police or any other regulators.

The commission is keen to make sure charities report serious incidents when they occur, rather than waiting until the annual return is filed.
The draft guidance also does away with the requirement to report the following types of incident as the Charity Commission now considers these to be risks rather than serious incidents:

  • the club has no vetting procedure to ensure that trustees or staff are eligible to act in the position they are appointed to
  • the club does not have a safeguarding policy in place

The commission has invited comments from charities, clubs, professional advisers and others who report serious incidents on behalf of charities, as well as other regulators and public bodies that exercise a similar sector reporting scheme. The commission will then publish a summary of responses, which they’ll use to finalise their new guidance.
Responses to the consultation can be made by email to [email protected]  The consultation closes at 5pm on 12 January 2017.

And if you have any queries on what this means for your club, please call our dedicated England Athletics Helpline on 0845 050 8458 or email [email protected]