Given the work carried out by many charities there is a possibility that serious incidents may occur. These might involve actual or attempted fraud, theft or safeguarding issues. Dealing appropriately with these types of events can help protect your charity from further harm and ensure that public confidence is maintained. Most problems can be resolved by charity trustees, sometimes with the support of professional advisers. Even so, an actual or alleged incident must be promptly reported to all the relevant authorities.
Charity trustees are also required to report what happened to the Commission and explain how it is being managed. The Commission’s role is to ensure that the charity trustees manage the incident responsibly and comply with their legal duties. Reporting to the Commission provides the opportunity for us to offer guidance and help to charity trustees to prevent these situations arising again.
A key issue is that many charity trustees are not aware that they have a duty to report these incidents to the Commission. Even though, for many charities, the Commission is the only regulator they report to.
It is important that charity trustees of all registered charities, no matter what size, understand this duty to report serious incidents. There is evidence that fraud is under-reported in charities and this suggests that safeguarding issues may also be under-reported.
If your charity experiences a safeguarding issue you must follow these steps:
By reporting the serious incident as soon as possible charity trustees can take steps to limit the immediate impact of the incident and prevent it from happening again.
Below are the answers to some question’s charity trustees may ask about reporting these incidents to the Commission.
You can read the Commission’s guidance on Serious incident reporting at this link to the Commission’s website.