© Crown copyright 2018
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charity-commission-news-issue-60/charity-commission-news-issue-60
The latest issue of Charity Commission News was published on the 3 October 2018.
Reminder: keep your details up to date
Following our consultation with charities last December, we are reminding charities of the need to keep their details up to date.
Use our change charity details service to keep your details, including contact information and the names and email addresses of your current trustees up-to-date.
Safeguarding in charities
In April 2018 we sent out an email to remind all charities and trustees of the importance of trustee responsibilities in relation to safeguarding.
Safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.
We have 4 clear expectations of trustees:
- provide a safe and trusted environment. Safeguarding involves a duty of care to everyone who comes into contact with your charity, not just vulnerable beneficiaries like children and young people
- set an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding, so it is safe for people to report incidents and concerns in the knowledge they will be dealt with appropriately
- have adequate safeguarding policies, procedures and measures to protect people and make sure these are made public, reviewed regularly and kept up to date
- handle incidents as they arise. Report them to the relevant authorities including the police and the Charity Commission. Learn from these mistakes and put in place the relevant mechanisms to stop them happening again
Our advice is that you should now:
- carry out a thorough review of your charity’s safeguarding governance and management arrangements and performance if you haven’t done so within the last 12 months
- contact us about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not previously been disclosed to the charity regulator
Find more about what and how to report to the Charity Commission.
Our website has more information about safeguarding responsibilities for trustees, and the role of the Charity Commission and other regulators:
Automatic disqualification guidance for charities
From 1 August 2018 changes to the automatic disqualification rules mean there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity.
You will need to check that your trustees, Chief Executive Officer and Financial Directors will not be disqualified from acting in these positions after the 1 August 2018.
You will also need to prepare by taking some simple steps to update recruitment and appointment systems. You can read our automatic disqualification guide for charities to find out:
- what the current disqualification rules are, and what they mean in practice
- what the changes are
- what steps you should take to prepare for the changes
- about waivers
Our guide for charities also includes a sample declaration that can be given to your trustees and senior staff to confirm that they won’t be disqualified by the new rules.
We’ve also produced separate guidance for individuals to explain the rules and how they can apply for a waiver from the Charity Commission.
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
From the 25 May 2018 the GDPR will become law. It’s important to consider how this will affect your charity and that you’ve prepared for the new regulations.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the regulator for GDPR. They’ve produced lots of useful guidance to help you understand the basics, start planning and assess the impact on your charity.
Read our GDPR news story for information and advice.
New welcome pack for charity trustees
We’ve produced a new welcome pack for charity trustees which focuses on the main duties of the role.
It provides essential information to help understand governance basics, financial filing requirements and how the Charity Commission can offer support. It also suggests practical steps that can be taken to carry out trustee duties effectively.
The pack will be emailed to all new trustees who register their email address with us. Make sure you sign into our change charity details service and add email addresses for new trustees.
Recent feedback has shown you would like the pack available as a downloadable file, so we are working on that. If you have any other feedback about the new trustee welcome pack please let us know.
Fundraising charities: additional reporting requirements
The Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance reminding trustees to include additional information in their trustees’ annual report if their charity raises funds from the public or organisations.
The guidance is endorsed by the Charity Commission and reminds independent examiners and auditors of matters that they should be considering when reviewing charity’s report and accounts.
Charity Commission welcomes its new Chair
In February 2018 we welcomed our new chair, Baroness Tina Stowell.
Tina was Leader of the House of Lords and the Lord Privy Seal until July 2016.
Before joining the House of Lords she held positons across government, politics and the media. Until September 2010, she was the BBC’s Head of Corporate Affairs and was awarded the MBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In April 2018 Baroness Stowell gave her first major speech at the annual conference of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). She paid tribute to the charity sector and spoke about the future strategy of the Charity Commission.
You can read Tina’s full speech on our website.
Insider fraud findings and advice for charities
In April 2018 we published the findings of a study which showed that cultural factors, such as placing excessive trust or responsibility in individuals, or the lack of internal challenge and oversight, contributed to 70% of insider frauds within a sample of charities we analysed.
The study also identified that 19% of frauds reported to the authorities resulted in a prosecution, 38% recovered part or all of the money/assets taken, and 76% of the frauds prompted media coverage.
As well as the findings of the study, we also include advice for charities on improving their resilience to fraud, alongside a number of anonymised case studies.
These studies show cases of poor or non-application of financial controls, low fraud awareness, and excessive trust or lack of challenge which led to insider fraud.
If you suspect fraud in a charity, you should report it to the police, the charity in question and trustees can report it as a serious incident to the Charity Commission.
Top tips for preventing, detecting and responding to fraud
The Fraud Advisory Panel have published fraud resources for trustees, senior managers and professional advisers of charities in England and Wales.
The main guide summarises outputs from the second national charity fraud conference and Fraud Awareness Week 2017. It also signposts further sources of information and best practice.
You can also read our guidance to help you to protect your charity from fraud.
Cyber security: charity guide
In March 2018 we supported the National Cyber Security Centre in the development of the first, dedicated cyber security guide for charities.
Charities are not immune to cyber-crime and the advice contained in the guide will be relevant to all charities, though it’s likely that smaller charities will especially benefit from the practical tips and guidance on offer. But, good practice will only be effective if everyone plays their part, seeking out and applying relevant advice to boost their charity’s resilience to the growing threat of cyber-crime.
Taking even a few of the simple steps recommended in the guide will be a good start for in protecting charities from harm.
Keeping in touch with the Charity Commission
Our contact centre is open 10am to 12noon and 1pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 066 9197. We can help if you are experiencing technical problems with an annual return, a registration application or any of our online forms.
You can also sign up for GOV.UK alerts. This is the simplest way to keep up-to-date with the latest information we publish on our website. You’ll be asked for an email address to create a subscription, and can choose how often you’d like to be alerted.