As part of the annual return to the Commission, it asks trustees to "confirm that there are no serious incidents or other matters that the trustees should have brought to the Commissions's attention and have not done so already." The Commission will be producing guidance on serious incident reporting in the near future.
Developing a culture of openness in charities can be challenging because there are some things which are confidential and should be treated as such. However committees should consider where the boundaries are and how they can communicate with people about their organisations. The creation of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has given the public more access than ever to information about charities.
In order to be open, responsive and accountable, management committees need to actively engage with people about the organisation's work.
Charities should prepare accounts at least annually. The purpose of preparing accounts is to provide useful information for the decision making process of the board, funders and other external stakeholders. In addition the Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations, which were developed by the Department for Social Development, commenced on 1 January 2016. These regulations require charities in Northern Ireland to prepare annual accounts depending on the size of the organisation.