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Posted 18 October 2018
by James Evans

Reporting Serious Incidents to The Charity Commission

The Charity Commission have issued updated guidance to charity trustees on reporting serious incidents to the Commission. A link to the new guidance is set out below:

It is very important charity trustees and senior management teams are aware of the updated guidance and the situations where charities are obliged to make a serious incident report to the Commission.

The revised guidance usefully includes a table setting out practical example situations where trustees are expected to make a report, and situations where a report is unnecessary. In our view this is very helpful clarification given in our experience, trustee boards have often been unsure whether or not they need to report an incident to the Commission. The table can be reviewed here.

The Commission still believe charities are under-reporting serious incidents, despite a recent increase in reports following the recent highly publicised safeguarding issues involving a number of national and international charities. It is to be hoped the greater clarity in the revised guidance will help to address that.

Trustees should also be reassured that reporting serious incidents is viewed positively by the Commission as it provides reassurance to the Commission that trustees are responding appropriately and as the public would expect to the situation.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy, Planning and Communications at the Charity Commission, said:“The public rightly expect charities to demonstrate the highest standards of ethical behaviour and attitude. That includes taking action when something has gone badly wrong, or when there’s been a near miss. Making a serious incident report to the Commission is not in itself an admission of wrongdoing or failure. Quite the reverse: it demonstrates that a charity is responding properly to incident or concern. So we welcome the increase in reporting by some charities, especially international aid charities that appear to have improved their reporting since February’s revelations. But we’re not convinced that we’re seeing everything we should be. Working with charities, we need to bring about a culture change on reporting to ensure charities are safe places, better able to make a difference to people’s lives.”

If you require any advice regarding an issue similar to this, then please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of charities solicitors on 01392 207020.

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About the author

James Evans

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor. Head of Charities and Social Enterprise