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New guidance asks if your charity is getting it right

New guidance from Northern Ireland’s independent charity regulator is calling on all charities to ask if they are “getting it right” when it comes to ensuring they are complying with the law. 

Available now to download (link below), the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland’s new Getting it right guidance is aimed at providing an accessible guide to support charity trustees in meeting their legal duties.

CCNI EG042 Monitoring and compliance guidance - getting it right (1)

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Commission Chief Executive, Frances McCandless, explained:It is important that charity trustees, as their organisation’s leaders, understand the public trust which has been placed in their hands – the onus is on them to get things right.

“While we don’t expect charity trustees to be legal experts, we do expect they will take reasonable steps to ensure they have an awareness of, and are complying with, the relevant legislation and best practice requirements. 

“Our Getting it right guidance provides valuable information on relevant charity and other legislation, helping trustees to ensure they get things right for the benefit of the charity.”

As well as information on the range of legal and best practice requirements charity trustees face, the Getting it right guidance includes a short, twelve-step checklist to support trustees in identifying potential issues. 

This checklist asks trustees to consider if they: 

  • know the rules in the charity’s governing document and keep them regularly under review
  • have and maintain a list of legislation that impacts on the charity 
  • regularly review the charity’s activities and area of operation to identify legal obligations and best practice 
  • regularly review the charity’s policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date and fit for purpose
  • place legal compliance as a standing item on meetings of the charity’s trustees
  • ensure all new trustees receive an induction and are subject to trustee checks 
  • have read relevant charity guidance produced by the Commission 
  • seek advice from a professional or umbrella body where necessary 
  • have read and comply with the Code of Good Governance 
  • keep good records of trustee meetings to show how they have exercised governance over the charity 
  • keep good accounting and other records. 

The Getting it right guidance also provides useful information for anyone who is concerned that a charity is not complying with its legal obligations, including how they can alert the Commission and what action may be taken as a result. 

Myles McKeown, the Commission’s Head of Compliance and Enquiries, commented: “It is important to remember that the law is there to protect charities; failing to comply with the law can put a charity, its finances, its reputation or beneficiaries at risk.

“No charity trustee wants the Commission to come calling with concerns over how their charity is being run - using our guidance can help you avoid that by ensuring you are already getting things right.”

The Commission’s Getting it right guidance is available to download free from the link above or from the Our regulatory work section of the Commission’s website.

ENDS

For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: shirley.kernan@charitycommissionni.org.uk

Notes to editors

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the regulator of charities in Northern Ireland.

The Commission has statutory objectives to ensure trustees comply with their legal obligations in managing charities and to increase public trust and confidence in charities. This includes a statutory function to identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration charities, and to take remedial or protective action.

The Getting it right guidance is aimed at supporting charity trustees to comply with their legal obligations and best practice requirements. It also provides information on how the Commission monitors and identifies non-compliance and the consequences for charity trustees where non-compliance is identified.