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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Alert for Trustees of Charities working with vulnerable beneficiaries

The Commission has issued an alert to trustees of all charities which have indicated to the Commission that they work with children and vulnerable adults.

The Commission has told charity trustees they are required to have appropriate policies in place for working with vulnerable beneficiaries, and robust controls to ensure these policies are effective.

Trustees must inform the Commission annually through their monitoring return that they are satisfied that effective safeguarding is in place. To do this, charity trustees must be properly acquainted with what is happening in their charity.

The Commission has pointed out to charity trustees who work overseas that there may be greater risks in relation to the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries. Trustees have been advised to revisit their policies to ensure they are sufficient, and that controls in place are effective. Charity trustees must be aware of the reporting requirements to the relevant regulator and have procedures in place for employees and volunteers to follow.
If a serious incident occurs involving vulnerable beneficiaries, the Commission expects charity trustees to report to us immediately on what has happened and explain how it is being managed. It is important that charities engage with the regulator frankly and openly so that we can fully understand any allegations that have been made to ensure we have confidence in the charity’s approach to safeguarding now and in the future.

Incidents should be reported to the Commission even if the trustees have already reported them to the PSNI, donors or another regulator.

Further information on serious incident is available here