Important new Charity Commission guidance on reporting serious incidents
- Includes new tools, such as examples and checklists to make it clearer to trustees what they should, and should not, report to the regulator
- Provides greater clarity on incidents resulting in “significant financial loss”, making clear that losing significant funding or contracts that the charity can’t replace should be reported to the regulator
- No longer requires trustees to report if their charity doesn’t have a safeguarding policy in place, as that information is now captured through the annual return.
- Harm to a charity’s work, beneficiaries or reputation;
- The loss of a charity’s money or assets, or damage to a charity’s property”.
- If something goes wrong you should take immediate action, and email RSI@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk
- If a crime has been committed, you should also report it to the Police - along with any other regulators your charity is accountable to
- plan what to say to your staff, volunteers, members, the public and the media
- review what happened and prevent it from happening again - this may include strengthening internal controls and procedures, and/or seeking appropriate help from professional advisers
- Trustees are usually responsible for reporting serious incidents - but this may be delegated to someone else within the organisation, who must be able to prove they have authority to report the incident.
- The Charity Commission also has a Guide to Whistleblowing for situations where the above may not be appropriate.
- Who you are and your connection to the charity
- The authority you have to report on behalf of the charity’s trustees
- Who in the trustee body is aware of the incident, for example all or only the Chair
- What happened and when the charity first became aware of it
- Action being taken to deal with the incident and prevent future problems
- Whether and when it was reported to the police or another regulator/ statutory agency (including official reference numbers)
- Media handling lines you may have prepared
You can read the full guidelines here.
In future, trustees will be able to report serious incidents via the Commission’s online services, making it easier for them to submit timely and accurate reports.
If your Bristol-based organisation is in crisis, Voscur may be able to offer help and advice. Find out more here.