Guernsey’s Charities Law – keeping one step ahead
It is an indisputable fact that charities and NPO’s make a significant contribution to communities both locally and internationally, delivering support and services to many. However, balancing the delivery of those services, with often limited resources, and keeping up to date with evolving regulations, risk management, compliance and governance requirements can be challenging for a sector reliant on volunteers.
With new legislation, the requirements on registered charities and NPO’s have changed and for some, may present further challenges.
Whilst the regulations may seem overwhelming there are some key steps to follow. Firstly, identify if your organisation falls under compulsory registration. Charities and NPO’s that carry out international activities fall under this category as do locally active organisations that hold assets over £100,000 or have a turnover of more than £20,000 a year. To register you must have an up-to-date governing document which includes clear reference to specific regulations such as, purpose of the organisation, meeting rules for members and directors and board duties and powers. Most organisations will have such documents in place, but it is vital that these documents are reviewed to ensure they comply with the new requirements.
Registration for internationally focused charities must be submitted by 31 December 2022 and domestic focused charities by 30 June 2023. Voluntary registration is available for those charities that do not fall under the compulsory category but wish to have the benefits that come with registering.
Once registered the next step is to ensure up-to-date records are maintained, securely stored, including password protection if stored on a laptop and easily retrievable if requested by the Registry. Records that must be kept include accounts, managing officer records, minutes, policies, and evidence those policies are regularly reviewed. Again, most organisations will have these records in place, but it is advisable to review your records, ensure they are up to date and assess how and where they are kept. Furthermore, key information will need to be filed at the Registry on an annual basis such as the validation and, for some charities, the financial statements. Additionally, any change of managing officers details, or change to the governing documents will need to be filed within 21 days of the change.
In addition to the general governance of the organisation all registered charities and NPO’s must complete risk assessments which identify potential risks, the likelihood of the risk occurring and how such risk might be mitigated. For international focused charities there is an extra requirement of creating and filing a written anti-financial crime policy.
It is important to note that failure to comply with the legislation could result in the Registrar imposing various sanctions or penalties. It may seem that this raft of legislation is burdensome, but the objective is to ensure good governance is carried out in all organisations which, in the long run, can only be beneficial to those that work for and with charities and NPO’s.
It is also important to note that we are here to help shoulder the burden. At Aspida we offer a range of services to support your charity and NPO in fulfilling the regulatory, fiduciary and governance obligations. Highly qualified and skilled staff who understand the valuable contribution charities and NPO’s make to communities locally and internationally can provide services to fit your needs.
With support and advice available for board meeting management, maintenance and safekeeping of the statutory records through to anti-financial crime guidance and how to be cyber resilient Aspida are well positioned to support you in continuing the excellent work you do for the community.
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