Charity Commission consults on draft new guidance on reporting serious incidents

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The Charity Commission has begun a three-month consultation on when and how charities should report serious incidents.

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The draft guidance also include new checklists and a useful table of examples designed to help trustees understand when to report something to the Charity Commission, the police and/or any other regulator(s).

In particular, the Charity Commission is keen to ensure that charities should report serious incidents at the time they occur, or are suspected of occurring, 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The draft guidance also does away with the requirement to report the following types of incident as the Charity Commission now considers these to be risks rather than serious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 charity has no vetting procedure to ensure that charity trustees or staff are eligible to act in the position to which they are appointed
  • the charity does not have a safeguarding policy in place

The Charity Commission has invited comments from charities, professional advisers and others who report serious incidents on behalf of charities, as well as other regulators and public bodies which exercise a similar sector reporting scheme. The Commission will then publish a summary of responses and use the responses to help finalise its new guidance.

Responses to the consultation can be made by email here.  The consultation closes at 5pm on 12 January 2017.