COVID-19: Charities urged to consider reporting responsibilities

Charities are being urged to check the most up to date advice from Public Health England amid ongoing coronavirus uncertainty, as it may result in incidents which should be reported as a serious incident to the Charity Commission.

If a charity stops all or a significant part of its work due to coronavirus, this would have a significant impact on its operations and potentially serious harm to the charity’s work – something the Commission said it expects to be reported. Examples, it explain, may include a school that has to close or a charity that has significant activities in China which it has stopped.

“Cancelling a fundraising event may be reportable depending on the impact. If it might result in significant loss of expected funds and/or insolvency issues for your charity, then it should be reported. Similarly, if coronavirus results in insolvency issues for some other reason, this should also be reported,” it stated.

Where a charity thinks it might be affected due to the nature of its activities or service users but there is no impact yet, it said charities do not yet need to make a report. A care home taking all appropriate measures to protect vulnerable residents and staff which has not had any suspected cases of coronavirus, for instance, would not need to make a report.

Ultimately, it concluded, it is the responsibility of the charity trustees to decide whether an incident is significant and should be reported.

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